Eye care professionals specialize in understanding how the human eye really works, as well as diseases and conditions that affect your vision – many of which do not have obvious symptoms. Eye doctors know how age and risk factors affect vision over time for young and old, and they understand the benefits and features of corrective lenses including eyeglasses and contacts.
Our optometrists in Sydney, NS take the time to explain the results of your eye exam, describe your options and listen to your eye care needs. Because maintaining good eye health is an ongoing partnership, we encourage you to ask questions and share your health information, which could be vital to monitoring, diagnosing and treating potential vision problems.
Meet Our Sydney Eye Doctors:
Dr. Shaun MacInnis was born in Sydney and grew up in Prime Brook. He completed a three year Bachelor of Science degree at the University College of Cape Breton before finishing optometry, with honours, at the University of Waterloo in 2007. He was a partner in one of the biggest clinics in Halifax/Dartmouth before returning home and taking over Island EyeCare in 2015.
In 2006, Dr. MacInnis completed a four month externship at an eye clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah where he dealt with multiple ocular diseases, with a concentration on glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. He was also part of a group chosen to attend a continuing education course at Alcon laboratories in Forth Worth, Texas dealing with therapeutic pharmaceuticals and has attended a specialty contact lens course at the Johnson and Johnson facilities in Jacksonville, Florida.
He continues to pursue an interest in contact lenses, dry eye disease, children’s vision, and macular degeneration in his current practice. He is certified in fitting Paragon Vision Sciences lenses for Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). and MiSight contact lenses. Both of these lenses can be used in myopia control in children. In 2013, he was involved in the Macular Assessment Program, a national study identifying patients at risk of macular degeneration.
In regards to dry eye disease, Dr MacInnis is one of the first optometrists east of Ottawa to be part of MyDryEye, “Canada’s premiere network that connects patients suffering from dry eye disease with practitioners who are able to help.” He is also one of Atlantic Canada’s representatives at Allergan’s Optomize round table group, a national collection of optometrists discussing new treatment options and protocols for dry eye disease.
Dr. MacInnis served as president of the Nova Scotia Association of Optometrists (NSAO) from 2012-2014. He has previously been a chair or committee member for the NSAO’s Children’s Vision, Practice Innovation, Occupational Vision, and Canadian Optometric Education Trust Fund committees. He was a part of the Clinical Advisory Group for the province’s Drug Information System and he continues to train future optometrists by hosting 4th year optometry students for their clinical rotations.
He has participated in Sydney and Halifax Connects multiple times, providing free eye exams and glasses to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Optometry Giving Sight is also a charity Dr MacInnis has supported on numerous occasions during World Sight Day, and he continues to give locally as a member of 100 Men Who Care CBRM.
Away from the office, Dr. MacInnis will most likely be found outside. Whether it is hiking, running, mountain biking, golfing or kayaking he usually has his dog or family in tow.
Dr. Jessica Prendergast was born and raised in Sydney. She completed a four year Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology at Cape Breton University in 2013 before moving on to the Optometry program at University of Waterloo. She graduated in June of 2018, and was very pleased to move back home to Cape Breton to start her practice at Island EyeCare.
Dr. Prendergast completed her four month Ocular Disease and Therapeutics Externship at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma where she was exposed to a variety of eye diseases. Most frequently, she treated patients with macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and Diabetic retinopathy. University has given Dr. Prendergast great opportunities to travel and experience different cultures. She was part of the founding chapter of the Global Medical Brigades volunteer group who travelled to Ghana, Africa in 2013 to offer free healthcare and education to a rural village in need. More recently, she was part of the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity group at University of Waterloo. This group of Optometry students travelled to Peru in 2016 to offer free eye exams and prescription glasses to a neighbourhood in need.
During her training, Dr. Prendergast has earned certification to fit various types of contact lenses, including specialty rigid scleral lenses and soft lenses used in myopia control. She also feels lucky to be part of this practice, with its special interest in dry eye diagnosis and treatment – a growing issue for patients. Starting out with Island Eyecare as a new graduate, Dr. Prendergast looks forward to continuing to learn more and discovering new eyecare interests.
Outside of Optometry, dancing has been a big part of Dr. Prendergast’s life from age 4 to 25, in styles like tap, jazz, and ballet. She also enjoys learning Cape Breton step dance, participating in local productions like The Nutcracker, camping in Inverness, and playing with her dog.
Dr. Ashley Chiasson was born and raised in Sydney, NS. From a young age, she knew she wanted to pursue a career as an optometrist. She needed glasses from a young age which changed the way she seen the world and she knew she wanted to help others in the same way. In order to achieve her dream, she spent many years volunteering and working as a clinical assistant in various optometry clinics across Canada to gain experience in the field.
In 2008, Dr. Chiasson earned her Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University where she majored in chemistry. Soon after completing her undergraduate degree, she started her optometry degree in Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom. Here, she completed a thesis in stem cell research and how they can be used to treat many eye conditions. In 2013, she graduated with honours from Cardiff University, a member of the Russell Group for intensive research.
As a new graduate, Dr. Chiasson spent the following pre-registration year working in London, England where she was employed at VisionCare Medical Eye Centre including their Barnet and Harley Street locations. Here, she took an interest in common eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. She also took a special interest in pediatrics, myopia control, and specialty contact lenses including orthokeratology. During this time, she completed clinical rotations at Bristol and Moorfields Eye Hospitals were she specialised in glaucoma clinics, emergency eye trauma, and shadowing many specialised eye procedures and eye surgeries.
Upon returning to Canada, Dr. Chiasson commenced working in the Annapolis Valley for four years before returning home to Cape Breton. She is a member of the Nova Scotia College of Optometrists and the Nova Scotia Association of Optometrists where she involved in the Community Outreach Program which provides eye examinations and eyewear to those in need.
Dr. Chiasson is ecstatic to be back home and practicing at Island Eye Care. Her passion, knowledge and dedication will ensure personalized vision care with individualized service for our patients. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys hiking, travelling, and spending time outdoors with her husband and dog. She feels so grateful to be surrounded by the beauty of the Cape Breton Island and loves exploring the hidden gems it has to offer. She looks forward to serving her community care for many years to come.