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May 16, 2020

As the Ontario Government continues to update its list of businesses that can reopen, opticians are finding the latest update very confusing. Opticians do provide some “retail” products, such as Plano sunglasses and contact lens solutions, but our main business is providing prescribed products. As regulated healthcare professionals, we not only fall under the rules and legislation for retailers, but we have the added regulations, standards and policies of healthcare providers.

There seems to be some confusion within the optician and optometry groups with the latest list of retailers permitted to open on May 19. Opticians and optometrists continue to be required to only provide essential emergency services as stated in Directive #2. This means that the casual sale of eyewear is not permitted. Sales are only permitted in a situation where the patient is in an emergency situation such as having broken or lost glasses. Failure to comply with this directive could put you in a position to be charged with professional misconduct. The College of Opticians of Ontario (COO) has sent out Update #14 that reminds opticians that we are not included in the new list of businesses permitted to reopen on May 19. The update also includes links to the new COO Return to Practice Guidelines. These guidelines are relevant whether you are providing services within the previously distributed Emergency Guidelines, or to be used once we get the green light to open for regular eyewear sales. The College of Optometrists of Ontario’s latest bulletin mirrors the COO’s directive.

The challenge of finding Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) continues and may become even a bigger challenge as businesses continue to reopen. The Disinfection & Pandemic committee of the OOA continues to work on compiling a list of suppliers of PPE. This list will be published soon In the meantime, the Government of Ontario has compiled a list of PPE suppliers.

Stay healthy and be safe!!

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