With the appearance of COVID-19 in Canada, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) wants to ensure its members and their patients have the most credible information available about the virus. In addition to checking with your local public health unit, the following resources may also help meet your information needs:
To support members with their practice during the COVID-19 outbreak, CAO has developed an Information for Members on Coronavirus (COVID-19) one-pager. Optometrists are further encouraged to check with their provincial regulatory authority for information about primary care practice guidelines and reporting requirements for patients with infectious disease.
There has been some speculation that conjunctivitis might be one of COVID-19’s diagnostic features. From a literature review conducted by CAO, it appears that conjunctivitis is not a diagnostic feature of the virus. Only 0.8% of confirmed COVID-19 patients present with conjunctival congestion.
COVID-19: Areas of Federal Responsibility
Public Health Agency of Canada
Information from CAO:
Teleoptometry in Canada
Times of crisis are also times of opportunity and innovation. With the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases across Canada and with the imperative of social distancing to curb the spread of the infection, an increasing number of health professionals are turning to telehealth whereby certain diagnostic and treatment services are offered via telephone or other secure electronic communication means.
As a growing number of provinces encourage optometrists to focus only on non-urgent/emergent cases in order to minimize contact with and between patients, the Canadian Association of Optometry (CAO) is closely examining teleoptometry as an effective means to ensure continuity of vision care across the country. The CAO is encouraging optometrists to consider offering some teleoptometry services to their patients where possible. The CAO is also exploring multiple issues related to the practice of teleoptometry in Canada. These include clinical guidelines, liability insurance, public insurance coverage, third party insurance coverage and others.
- Teleoptometry During COVID-19: A Guide
- Practical considerations for the practice of optometry
- COVID-19 and the Practice of Teleoptometry in Canada
- COVID-19 Insurance Coverage Position Statement
Information from Provincial Regulators:
BC College of Optometrists
College of Optometrists of Ontario
- Return to Work: Infection Prevention and Control For Optometric Practice (May 2020)
- Recommendation for Urgent Care Only until March 29
- Information and Resources
Ordre des Optométrites du Québec
- Directives Actualisées
ADDITIONS PER APRIL 6,2020
USE OF PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT
• All clinical staff within two meters of any patient must wear a procedure mask at all times
• Any patient with symptoms of respiratory infection should wear a procedure mask
IN CASE OF PENDING SHORTAGE OF PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT
• It is possible to wear a mask for an extended period of time (without removing it) to care for multiple patients within the same clinical setting. Keep the mask on your face at all times (do not wear around neck).
• Dispose of the mask if visibly soiled, damaged or in case of difficult breathing. Maximum suggested wear: four hours
• It is possible to wear a disposable gown or protective eyewear for a prolonged period (without removing them) to care for multiple patients within the same clinical setting.
• Gloves: no recommendation to reuse or extend use
- Université de Montréal, École d'optométrie
- University of Waterloo, School of Optometry & Vision Science
- Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE)
American Optometric Association
American Academy of Optometry
American Academy of Opthalmology
World Health Organization
With the appearance of COVID-19 in Canada, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) wants to ensure its members and their patients have the most credible information available about the virus.