From the Campbell River’s hockey rinks to its soccer pitches, today’s athletes are more aware than ever of the potential impacts of concussion – how it can affect their balance, concentration and mental processes, for example.
But not everyone is aware of the injury’s impact on vision, explains Campbell River’s newest optometrist, Dr. Mitch Elliot, who recently joined the locally owned FYidoctors.
“With my background in sports, I was around a lot of concussions and some players’ careers were ended at 18, 19 or 20 because of concussions,” Dr. Elliot reflects. However, “no two brains are the same, and no two concussions are the same. So after an event, you don’t know how the eyesight is going to react.”
Some may experience light sensitivity, which may be helped with a tint in the glasses, or a challenge with near vision, where small eyeglass adjustments can bring relief. For others, a slightly too-strong prescription can create challenges as the brain works to overcome the discrepancy – something that pre-concussion it was able to do easily.
“That’s why we always start with an updated prescription,” says Dr. Elliot, who after five years with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, played varsity hockey with the University of Waterloo, where he obtained his degree in medical physiology and a Doctorate of Optometry.
There, he worked with Dr. Kristine Dalton, a leader in the field of sports vision and concussion rehabilitation, and met other athletes, doctors, physiotherapists and others working in the field. “It made me aware that when someone is recovering from a brain injury, whether concussion or stroke, it takes a team of people,” he says.
Enhancing life in Campbell River
That team approach resonated when the opportunity came to join the FYidoctors in Campbell River – a welcome destination for Dr. Elliot and his wife, Nicole, both avid outdoor enthusiasts originally from Prince George.
In addition to Dr. Flood and Dr. Elliot, longtime optometrists include Jeff Ferron, Dr. Hanif Paroo, Dr. Meagan Saccucci and Dr. Danielle Campbell, plus two more recent additions to the team, Dr. Adam Myrfield and Dr. Taylor Olson, who joined FYiDoctors in 2020.
“We have been fortunate to welcome three fantastic new doctors to our two Campbell River clinics over the past two years. Each doctor brings diverse skills and expertise to our clinics, which allows us to go above and beyond for our patients,” Dr. Flood says.
Serving the North Island since 1948, FYidoctors offers patient-centered care from two Campbell River locations. In 2008 the award-winning local team was one of the founding optometrist groups to form FYidoctors to provide quality care to patients.
In addition to serving patients with the most advanced technology, their eyewear manufacturing is vertically integrated at their facility in Delta, B.C., providing patients with Canadian-made products. Beyond eye exams and eyewear for everyone, specialty services include contact lenses, paediatric eye exams, senior eye care, disease management, dry eye disease treatment and vision therapy.
That commitment to “enhance life” extends well into the community during October’s Enhancing Life Month, when the Campbell River clinic team members raise funds for our community, supporting local projects such as Q̓ʷalayu House and Habitat for Humanity.