The region served by the Timmins and District Hospital is losing one of its two eye doctors.

Ophthalmologist Dr. Sohail Safi and his family are moving down south.

TADH chief of staff Dr. Harry Voogjarv says that will leave Dr. Alejandro Oliver on his own.

Oliver does mostly retina work, while Safi has concentrated on cataracts.

“Safi was doing something around 80 or 90 cataracts a month and Oliver was doing around 60,” the chief of staff notes.

Voogjarv says Oliver will likely do more cataracts and less retina work.

The search is on for a new ophthalmologist, but there are no guarantees.

“We have somebody who’s interested from abroad,” Voogjarv mentions, “but again, there are loops and hoops that people have to go through just to make sure that they are licenceable. So you can’t come from Britain or Europe and set up a shop tomorrow.”

Voogjarv says it’s difficult to recruit specialists to come north.  He agrees that if you can get them to at least visit, you can sell them on our quality of life.

“Especially now that we have Porter, there’s that ability to escape,” he remarks.  “You know, you can go down south or New York or something every couple of months without breaking the bank on it.”