Pandemic Advisory: Pandemic Planning for Optometrists

It is important to ensure that optometrists’ knowledge of infection prevention and control is current and that optometrists and members of their staff take appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of contracting influenza themselves or spreading an infection to patients. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) is a reliable source of useful information regarding the situation in Ontario. The MOHLTC provides information and updates for healthcare professionals and we urge you to visit their website at: Optometrists are reminded to employ proper infection control procedures in the office with an emphasis on proper hand hygiene and patient screening techniques. Some of these recommendations include:

  • wash your hands between patients
  • ask patients to wash their hands or use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer when they arrive in your office,
  • avoid touching your face
  • disinfect surfaces frequently
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or cough into your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue
  • consider immunization for you, your immediate family and your staff members
  • stay home if you or any member of your immediate family is ill
  • recommend to patients that they stay home if they are ill or someone in their household is ill (this can be done when reminding them of their appointment).
  • consider having masks available for the use of anyone who arrives in your office who may be ill (or shows symptoms of illness)

Optometrists may wish to refer to the following document which may assist them in developing their own office pandemic plan:

In the event of a pandemic, optometrists may be asked to assist in a public health setting. Should that be the case, you should ensure that if you are delegated a controlled act outside your scope of practice, the delegation process is in compliance with the Delegation and Assignment document in the Optometric Practice Reference (OPR 4.3). You are responsible for ensuring that you have been adequately trained to perform the controlled act procedure and that it is properly delegated to you.