Please review the following information:
OOM Guidelines – COVID June 28 2002
Guidelines for the practice of Opticianry for Members of the Opticians of Manitoba (OOM) in relation with Government of Manitoba Orders
UPDATED as of June 28, 2022
The Opticians of Manitoba (OOM) Council have made amendments to these guidelines. All the information in these guidelines is still relevant.
Here are the most current orders from the Government of Manitoba as of June 28, 2022 as on their website, https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/prs/index.html#provinciallevel . Please note the Public Health Order dated March 14, 2022 is the most current Public Health Order.
The Province of Manitoba has removed restrictions such as mask use, physical spacing, vaccination passports and contact tracing for the general public and businesses. Shared Health Manitoba, which the Opticians of Manitoba take direction from, had issued a memo advising that mask use and screening will continue for health care facilities. This included optical dispensaries.
Here is the link to the memo in its entirety: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/news/2022-03-10-mask-policy-to-remain-in-place/
The OOM Council has reviewed the OOM guidelines as well as practices by other health regulating bodies in Manitoba, and the following changes have been made. The OOM Council is advising all its practicing members that they are strongly recommended to continue the use of masks for themselves, clients/patients, visitors and staff as well they are encouraged to use the screening tool set out by the Manitoba Government related COVID-19 on the Shared Health Website. This is a recommendation, the provision for mandatory mask use and screening has been removed.
The OOM strongly recommends vaccination against COVID-19 for all opticians. Vaccination continues to be an effective preventative tool for all Manitobans in the fight against COVID-19, including variants of concern. The OOM Council encourages members to check into getting the booster for the vaccine against COVID which is available for all and the fourth vaccine booster for those who are eligible if they have not done so already. Eligibility for vaccine boosters is available at this link: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/vaccine/eligibility-criteria.html.
The following requirements and recommendations are supported by the OOM Council, please note which are required (use of the word ‘must’) and which are recommended (use of words ‘may’; ‘should’):
The OOM Council recommends the wearing of a mask for all practicing opticians as well as for clients/patients, visitors, and staff.
Information in using masks: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/resources/masks.html
- Signage indicating screening criteria may be placed in a location that is visible before entering the building and/or office. https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/resources/index.html#posters.
- Prior to entering the dispensary, all staff, clients/patients and opticians should self declare the status of their health. Clients/Patients should be asked the questions that are contained on the Shared Health Manitoba screening tools available at this link https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/.
- Opticians will need to decide for themselves whether to see any clients/patients who do not pass the screening criteria. Any client/patient who does not pass the screening criteria and has an urgent/emergent eye issue that cannot wait, and the optician is unable to assist should be directed to an optometrist, ophthalmologist or to a COVID-19 assessment centre and then referred to the relevant medical body.
- Contact Tracing is no longer required unless you as a business wish to do so.
- Staff and opticians should do screening before they start a shift and any who do not pass the screening should be directed to stay home and follow appropriate self-isolation/quarantine processes.
ALL CLIENTS AND PATIENTS WEAR A MASK
- Client/Patient volumes should be managed to maintain appropriate physical distancing and minimize wait times.
- Clients/Patients should wash or sanitize hands immediately upon entry to the clinic.
- Clients/Patients may be instructed to wear a mask from the time they enter any indoor space including the dispensary until the time they leave the indoor space.
It is recommended that opticians:
- Arrange seating in client/patient areas to provide a minimum of 2 metres in between chairs.
- Remove magazines, toys, and other peripheral items from the waiting areas.
- Ask clients/patients to leave unnecessary items in their car or outside.
- Ask clients/patients to come alone unless another person is necessary (parent of a child, mobility aide, translator).
- In order to minimize the amount of time spent in the dispensary, opticians and staff should try to update as much information as possible prior to the appointment (MB Health Card information, address/phone/email changes, client ocular and medical history).
Reducing proximity to Clients/Patients during examination of eyes
With respect to close proximity with clients/patients, opticians must use their professional judgment and may consider the following steps:
- Using previous measurements from the patient’s record if they are an established patient and are applicable (for example, PD measurement). In this scenario, it should be well documented in the patient record that a new measurement wasn’t taken and explained to the patient that this is not usual or best practice but given the circumstances you advise it at this time.
- Measuring PD using a penlight and ruler rather than a pupilometer. This practice typically places the optician further away from the patient. Should you use the pupilometers consider mounting plastic shields on them.
- Maintaining as much distance as possible when taking other necessary measurements.
- Asking patients to put on and remove frames themselves whenever possible.
- During procedures that require close face-to-face distance, the client should be instructed not to speak, and the staff/optician should make every attempt to provide verbal instruction prior to beginning the procedure.
- Staff and Opticians should wear appropriate PPE throughout all patient encounters.
- The examiner should wear a mask (surgical, KN95 or N95 3 ply or more, two 2-ply masks) and eye protection (goggles or face shield). The mask and eye protection must be worn from before the time the patient enters the exam room until after they leave.
- Gloves should be worn and disposed of immediately afterwards (or hands washed immediately before and after examination). Cotton tip applicators should be used to manipulate the eye
- Examinations should be performed expeditiously, with minimum talking during the examination.
- After the examination, all surfaces that the patient touched or exposed to respired droplets from the patient must be disinfected with wipes capable of killing the virus. Such areas typically include the parts of the slit-lamp that touches the patient’s face, the handles, the arms of the examining chair. All devices (tonometer tips, cotton swabs, etc.) that contact the client/patient should be disposed of or disinfected.
- New glasses may be fitted, observing proper use of PPE (mask, eye protection, hygiene) during the encounter.
- Frames should be cleaned and sanitized immediately after contact by each client/ patient, before being placed back on display.
- Efficiency in frame and lens selection is strongly encouraged to minimize the length of time of the encounter.
- Adjustments and repairs may be made to a client/patient’s personal frames. Frame adjustments requiring close contact with the client/patient require the use of PPE (masks protection, hand hygiene).
- Frames should be sanitized prior to making the adjustment/repair and must be sanitized after use (hands must be washed/sanitized, or gloves donned/doffed immediately before and after handling the patient’s glasses).
- Consider mounting plastic shields on pupilometers and using a ruler or other automated measuring device to maintain extra distance whenever possible.
- Consider booking appointments for dispensing glasses and repairs.
Contact lens training
The OOM Council makes the following recommendation:
- Contact lens trainings should be conducted in a way that minimizes risk to the patient and the trainer.
- The training should be conducted in a touch-free fashion.
- Patients should handle their own contact lenses; the trainer should use their own contact lens to demonstrate insertion/removal and care techniques.
- It is recommended the amount of time spent in close proximity be minimized. For example, if videos are available, they could be used. Standing 6 feet or more apart to do the majority of instruction, if possible, may also be an option.
- It is recommended, if the space allows it, that glass/acrylic barriers be used between the patient and the trainer. The trainer should observe proper use of PPE (mask, hand hygiene). Eye protection (goggles, full coverage safety glasses or face shield) should be worn.
Personal Care Home / Assisted Living / Home Visits
- At this time, personal care home / assisted living / and home visits are
A link from Shared Health Manitoba on Home Visits and PCH Visits:
Please note that one should always follow all the OOM governing documents including practice directions and guidelines, bylaws, policies, whenever they can, however, if due to circumstances directly related to COVID -19 and you need to stray from the regulations, for emergencies or urgent matters, then make sure you document in great detail what has occurred and why, including dates in the medical record. This way should a complaint be brought against you; you will have documentation to support why you made the decision you did.
The Province of Manitoba’s website on COVID-19 has a lot of information from COVID-19 updates, self assessment tool, to support for businesses and so much more. You can access their website here: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/index.html