Kitchener resident Jim Brayshaw needs a certain glaucoma medication, but recently he couldn't find it at any local pharmacy as some pharmaceuticals are in short supply.

Anti-biotic, steroid and dilation eye drops are among the prescriptions patients are having trouble finding.

“The pressure was getting to a point where we had to have another operation,” said Brayshaw.

Brayshaw isn’t the only person feeling the impact of the medication shortage.

“It’s very frustrating to the point that you get upset because this is your day-to-day life,” Oumou Annou, a glaucoma patient said. “If my pressure is up, I cannot see well with my left eye.”

Ophthalmologist patients say they sometimes call multiple pharmacies with no luck and have had to go without.

“A couple of days that I did not use it, so imagine, it’s hard. So the next day when I wake up, can I see? I do not know. So, that's very scary,” said Annou.

Dr. Toby Chan, an Ophthalmologist said ever since the start of the pandemic there has been a gradual shortage of multiple eye drops including anti-biotics, anti-inflammatory like steroids and anti-glaucoma medications.

He said this can effect patients’ treatment plans because they do have treatment gaps.

Pharmacists say generic and other alternatives have been in short supply too.

“It's not just one product, 2 to 3 weeks ago it was actually all the products. All the steroids were actually unavailable, so that was problematic, said Michael Abdelsayed with Belmont Drugs Pharmacy.

He said this puts patients in a really tough position.

Meanwhile, manufacturers say the reasons vary, from increased demand to a lack of ingredients and shipping delays.

“There's only a couple of facilities that make eye drops worldwide – It’s a very small supply chain,” said Dr. Hooper.

The inconsistent supply prompted what Health Canada calls a "tier three shortage.”

“Tier three means that the government then will look at changing some of the requirements that are necessary to get drugs into Canada,” said Hooper. “Those are chiefly around labelling because we need French and English.”

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society says they have implemented new systems with Health Canada to help, but it's likely this supply issue will remain through March.