Several volunteer medical professionals will be in Ile a la Crosse this weekend providing eye exams to children in the community.

The Indigenous Children Eye Examination (ICEE) program, out of Ontario, will be flying up with a team to the northern community On Saturday

The ICEE program has been running mainly in northern Ontario, but the organization was looking to expand to other provinces. This is the first time they will be in northern Saskatchewan.

Dr. Kourosh Sabri, with the program, says when they reached out to other provinces the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan requested ICEE come to Ile a la Crosse.

In a conversation with MBC Radio News, Dr. Sabri explained why eye examinations on children are so important.

“If a child does not see well in those early years of childhood than that really affects everything,” said Sabri. “Basically it sets them up for failure later in life and so it is critical that children have their eyes examined early and problems detected and treated early because really good eye sight is key to their development.”

The eye doctor, who currently resides in Hamilton, says early intervention and delivering quality treatment is especially important in remote communities.

“I even see that in urban centres where children have never had an eye exam and have poor vision, so in more remote parts the problem is more exaggerated and the need for bringing eye care is more important,” he said.

While ICEE is based out of Ontario and many of the volunteers this weekend are from that province, Sabri says many of the volunteers coming on this weekend’s trip are health professionals from Saskatchewan.

“It is really Saskatchewan doctors delivering care in Saskatchewan and we in Ontario are just providing logistics.”

Dr. Sabri is Hoping to see somewhere between 50-100 children. He also hopes this Saturday’s trip will be the first of many trips ICEE makes to Indigenous communities in northern Saskatchewan.

(Dr. Kourosh Sabri Photo provided)