What to expect at your appointment

How do I get to the Optometry Clinics?

Our Waterloo clinic is located at the School of Optometry & Vision Science at 200 Columbia Street West. 

NOTE: if you're using a GPS for directions, enter School of Optometry or 180 Columbia Street West as your destination since our street address is not currently recognized. 

See the location on a Google map

See the location on an interactive campus map

From Highway 401

  • Take exit 278A (from Toronto) or exit 278B (from London) to Highway 8 Kitchener / Waterloo
  • Exit Highway 85 to Waterloo
  • Exit at University Avenue West (immediately after University Avenue East exit)
  • Follow University Avenue West and turn right at Phillip Street
  • Turn left at Columbia Street West
  • The School is located past the railway tracks on the right side of Columbia Street West

Health Sciences Optometry Clinic (HSOC)

Our Kitchener clinic is located at the Health Sciences Building at 10B Victoria Street South (this is the same building as the McMaster Centre for Family Medicine).

See the Health Sciences campus on a Google map

Both clinics are located on Grand River Transit bus routes and the LRTGo Transit also has stops nearby.

Where do I park?

Please note that parking fees are set and collected by the University, not the Optometry Clinics. If you have a comment about parking, please contact Sustainable Transportation (formerly Parking Services) at 519-888-4567 ext. 33100 or uparking@uwaterloo.ca.

Main Clinic

You can access our parking lots from Columbia Street West.

Lot OV is a pay-as-you-leave lot to the right of the School. Parking in OV costs $7 as of May 1, 2023, and can be paid by a credit card at the gate, or you can purchase a voucher from our cashiers using cash, debit or credit card.

Pay-and-display parking is available behind the School in Lot X. This is a good option if you need to leave (for lunch, for example) and then return. Parking in Lot X costs also costs $7 per day.

Meter parking is available at the front of the School for $2 per hour. There are also four accessible parking spots. There is no charge to use accessible parking spots but you must display your accessible parking permit.

See parking locations on an interactive campus map (If lots are not visible, click on the Points of Interest tab and select Parking).

Health Sciences Optometry Clinic (HSOC)

You can access visitor parking from Victoria Street South at the Charles Street traffic lights. The patient parking lot is to the left, directly across from the main entrance to the Health Sciences building (which also contains the McMaster Centre for Family Medicine). The Optometry Clinic is located in the northeast corner of this building.

Parking is $7 as of May 1, 2024. Please pay for a token at our reception desk before or after your appointment.

See the location on a Google map

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Due to COVID-19 , you may want to bring a face mask.
  • If you currently wear glasses, bring them with you.
  • If you are having problems with your eyes or vision, bring a list of symptoms to talk about with your doctor.
  • We also recommend bringing a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are currently taking

You will be examined by both an optometry student and one of our licensed optometrists. This ensures that you receive a thorough examination. After your examination, the optometrist and student will discuss the results with you.

During your examination, we will put drops in your eyes. These drops dilate your pupil and allow us to see into your eye. Your pupils will stay dilated for several hours and your eyes will be sensitive to light. We recommend that you wear sunglasses until your pupils return to normal. You may also wish to have a friend or family member drive you home from your appointment.

How long will my appointment take?

The amount of time varies by the type of appointment. If you plan on selecting frames for glasses while you are here, you may need additional time.

Routine eye examinations can take up to two hours from start to finish, depending on the types of tests you need. Low vision assessments and other tests may take longer. Clinic staff may be able to give you a closer time estimate when you book your appointment.

Is my care covered by insurance?

Costs for your treatment will vary depending on your individual needs and you have the right to be informed of all fees before any services are provided.

Children and youth 19 years old or younger are eligible for the following OHIP covered services:

  • 1 major eye exam(for vision and general eye health) every 12 months
  • any minor assessments needed

If you are 20 to 64 years old, and you have an eligible medical condition affecting your eyes, OHIP will cover:

  • 1 major eye exam for you once every 12 months
  • 2 additional follow-up minor assessments

Eligible medical conditions are:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • glaucoma requiring or having had treatment with medication, laser (excluding prophylactic laser peripheral iridotomy), or surgery
  • cataracts / posterior capsular opacification with a visual acuity of 20/40 or worse in the best corrected eye, or when a surgery referral is made
  • retinal disease that is acute, or is chronically progressive
  • corneal disease that is acute, or is chronically progressive
  • uveitis that is acute or chronic during episodes of active inflammation
  • optic pathway disease that is acute, or is chronically progressive
  • acquired cranial nerve palsy resulting in strabismus during the acute phase or until the condition resolves or stabilizes
  • ocular drug toxicity screening for patients taking hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, ethambutol or tamoxifen

If you are 65 years and older and you do not have an eligible medical condition affecting your eyes, OHIP will cover:

  • 1 major eye exam for you once every 18 months and 2 additional follow-up minor assessments.

If you have insurance benefits through government programs such as Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, we may be able to help you file for coverage of services and/or products. Documentation will be required and eligibility of your coverage will be verified.

Is there somewhere to eat nearby?

Main Clinic:

Numerous food service options are available within walking distance at the nearby University Shops Plaza

Health Sciences Clinic:

The Health Sciences campus is located in downtown Kitchener, within walking distance of numerous restaurants.

Are the Clinics accessible?

Yes. Both clinics have accessible parking and washrooms. The Main Clinic also offers a private first aid room if you need to look after health needs or to rest.

We can conduct assessments without the optometric chair if you have mobility concerns. You are welcome to bring a translator, care provider, intervener, or friend.

Please let us know what accommodations you need. We want to make your visit as comfortable and successful as possible.

If you have comments about accessibility in our clinics, please use the University's accessibility feedback form.

How are you reducing the risk of infection? 

The health and safety of patients and clinic personnel is a top priority. The clinic is following all required infection prevention and control measures set out by Public Health and other recognized authorities and will adjust its approach as required.

If you or your caregiver are feeling unwell, please stay home and contact the Clinic to reschedule your appointment. This will help to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our patients, personnel and community.

Masking is currently optional. The Clinic may reintroduce masking requirements based on disease activity and Public Health/government guidance and recommendations.

We are reducing the risk of infection in the following ways:

  • We have air purifiers in patient treatment rooms and other high-risk/high-density areas throughout the Clinic.
  • Common areas are cleaned/disinfected regularly.
  • Examination rooms are cleaned/disinfected at the beginning of each day, between patients, and at the end of the day.

What are my rights as a patient?

To reinforce the legitimate rights and expectations of every patient, the School of Optometry & Vision Science has adopted a "Patient's Bill of Rights". Adherence to these concepts will help ensure that we maintain ethical, high quality standards of care for all our patients.

  1. Regardless of your race, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex or sexual orientation, you have the right to expect and receive high quality care delivered in a considerate and respectful manner.
  2. You have the right to obtain complete information concerning your current diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, in terms you can understand. You have the right to know the name of the doctor and intern who are responsible for coordinating your care.
  3. You have the right to receive all information necessary to give informed consent before referral for additional care or before a program of therapy is implemented. Except in emergencies, this information should include but is not necessarily limited to the specific procedure and/or treatment, the health-related risks involved, and the probable duration of treatment. You have the right to be informed when significant alternatives for care or treatment exist.
  4. You have the right to refuse treatment, and to be duly informed of the consequences of your action.
  5. You have the right to privacy concerning your own health-care program. Case discussions, consultations, examinations, and treatments are confidential matters and must be conducted discreetly. Those not involved directly in your care must have your permission to be present. 
  6. You have the right to expect that all communications and records pertaining to your care will be treated as confidential.
  7. You have the right to expect that the clinic be reasonably responsive to all requests for services. The clinic will provide evaluation, and/or referral as indicated by the urgency of the case. When referral to another facility or provider of health services is necessary, you will receive complete information about why the referral is necessary. The provider or institution where you are being referred will only receive full information regarding the need for additional consultation and treatment with your consent. 
  8. You have the right to be advised when the clinic proposed experimentation that could affect your care or treatment. You have the right to refuse to participate in such research projects and to receive more traditional care.
  9. You have the right to expect reasonable continuity of care. You have the right to know in advance what appointment times and services are available and where. You have the right to expect that the clinic will inform you of any continuing health-care requirements following treatment.
  10. You have the right to be informed of all relevant professional fees before any provision of services. You have the right to examine and receive an explanation of your bill regardless of source of payment.
  11. You have the right to know that clinical review procedures exist and you have the right to be advised of how those procedures may be initiated. 

The Optometry Clinic has many professional responsibilities including the prevention and treatment of disorders, and the education of health professionals. These undertakings must always be carried out with an overriding concern for your welfare, and recognition of your dignity as a human being.

What are my responsibilities as a patient?

By taking an active role in your eye care, you can help us meet your needs as a patient. We ask that you (and your family) accept certain responsibilities so we can meet our shared goals. We ask that you:

RESPECT

  • Treat clinic personnel and other patients / visitors of the Optometry Clinics with respect and dignity. 
  • Arrive at appointments promptly or, if they must be cancelled or rescheduled, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible (at least 24 hours in advance).

SAFETY

  • Contribute to a safe and secure environment for clinic personnel and other patients / visitors by refraining from inappropriate behaviour. 
  • Understand that we will not tolerate violent, abusive (verbal or physical) or aggressive behaviour and that such behaviour may result in dismissal from care and possible notification of law enforcement.

ENGAGEMENT & PARTICIPATION

  • Tell us about your eye health history and concerns, ask questions to seek clarification, use the advice and information from your eye care provider, and participate in decision-making related to your eye care.
  • Work with the clinicians to build a relationship that is based on trust, honesty, respect and a mutual desire to improve your eye care outcomes.

QUALITY

  • Tell us about concerns you have about the safety / quality of your care. 
  • Share your ideas, experience, insight, and concerns to contribute to ongoing improvements to the Optometry Clinics. Send us your feedback via our Patient Experience Survey.

SERVICES

  • Make timely payment for services and products.

How do you protect my privacy?

Privacy of personal information and personal health information is an important principle to the UW Optometry Clinics. We are committed to collecting, using, and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services and products that we provide.

Learn more information and privacy at the University of Waterloo.