Patients give high praise to university’s Optometry Clinics during COVID-19

Thursday, May 13, 2021

patient getting eye exam
When the global pandemic forced Ontario into lockdown in mid- March 2020, the School of Optometry & Vision Science’s patient care Clinic staff were forced to take a step back and evaluate how they could safely continue offering care to the community.

Now, one year later, the university’s Optometry Clinics have remained steadfast in their commitment to COVID safety – demonstrating compliance with public health requirements, including securing personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff, following appointment capacity recommendations, implementing mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene, as well as frequently sanitizing exam rooms and reception areas.

Clinic Director Dr. Andre Stanberry is proud of the Clinic’s high standard of safety staff and students continue to uphold, noting that most patients are reporting a positive experience. In post-appointment surveys, over 97% of patients indicate they would return for future appointments.

“It’s great to see our commitment to prioritizing community safety being recognized by our patients,” said Dr. Stanberry. “Hearing that our patients are able to come to their appointments without worrying about compromising their safety is especially gratifying.”  

Working together to stop the spread

In accordance with Ministry of Health and public health guidelines, patients must complete a COVID-19 signs and symptoms screening at every key interaction with the Clinic - upon scheduling, appointment reminders, and in the lobby before entering. After passing the lobby screening, patients are immediately directed to examination rooms for their appointments. Hand sanitizer is readily available and exam rooms are disinfected between each appointment.

Vaccination of Clinic staff, including optometry student interns, is an important component of the clinic’s Covid-19 safety strategy. As an additional measure, the Clinic also administers weekly rapid antigen testing on a voluntary basis to proactively monitor the virus. To date, over one thousand tests have been administered by a registered nurse, returning 100% negative results.

While it’s true that most of the responsibility to implement COVID-19 safety measures fall on the Clinic, Dr. Stanberry says he is glad to see patients are doing their part to keep everyone safe, too.

“Patients are willingly wearing their mask to appointments, using hand sanitizer upon arrival and practicing physical distancing while they’re here,” said Dr. Stanberry. “It makes providing care that much easier, when both patients and the Clinic are doing everything to keep safe.”

Eye care remains important

With cases still rising, the fear of contracting COVID-19 is very real, and some patients are understandably hesitant to leave their homes for appointments. But, neglecting eye care can seriously put your overall health at risk, especially with work from home orders increasing screen time for most.

“Unfortunately, a lot of eye disease remains silent,” said Stanberry. “Even in the midst of a pandemic, we want people to know they shouldn’t wait to see an optometrist until they’re experiencing symptoms.”

“Getting regular comprehensive eye examinations is important and is the only way we can identify and treat eye diseases early, to ensure your vision can remain intact throughout your lifetime.” 

The School of Optometry & Vision Science operates two Optometry Clinics providing primary eye care and specialty vision services for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment at the Main Clinic (200 Columbia Street West) or the downtown Kitchener Health Sciences Optometry Clinic (10B Victoria Street South), please visit our website to make an appointment online or call 519-888-4062 ext. 4062.