May 4, 2020 Update from the ACAO
The Government of Alberta announced on April 30, 2020 that regulated health care practitioners could begin to re-open for routine care as of May 4 as part of the Early Actions of Alberta’s Relaunch Plan.
Below are guidelines for practitioners, employers, and the public to support the return to full service. Please visit the Government of Alberta’s COVID-19 webpage to view the announcement.
Cloth Mask Guidelines
Alberta Health has published guidelines for the public regarding the use of cloth masks as a safety precaution.
Mental Health and Coping
The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for members of the public, their families, and communities. Alberta Health has posted a number of resources for those who may be experiencing fear and anxiety about the current health crisis. Remember, if you are struggling you are not alone. There are supports in place to help you.
- Mental health and coping with COVID-19 (CDC)
- Talking with children about COVID-19 (CDC)
- Help in Tough Times (AHS)
- Call the 24-hour Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in over 170 languages.
- Find information on shelter and financial supports
- Learn how to recognize and prevent family violence
Opticians Providing Care
Although services were reduced during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, many licensed opticians across Alberta remained open to provide emergent and critical care for eyeglass and contact lens patients who required assistance and will be re-opening to provide routine care as of May 4, 2020.
The ACAO’s register of licensed opticians and contact lens practitioners helps to connect Albertans with professionals in their region. Click Find an Optician below for more information.
Visiting an Optical during the Pandemic
To keep everyone healthy and safe, please follow these guidelines (also available for download here):
- Stay home if you have any symptoms of a cold/flu. Alberta Health Guidelines say that you need to self-isolate for 10 days if you are experiencing a cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose, or other cold/flu-like symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing medical condition (examples: asthma, allergies). You can now get tested for COVID-19 if you have any of the above symptoms. Take the online assessment test or call Health Link (811) to discuss testing options.
- Call ahead and book an appointment whenever possible. The best way to plan your visit is to call ahead and check for availability. To prevent the spread of infection, opticians are currently seeing fewer patients over the course of the day, so that they have time to sanitize between visitors and keep everyone safe. Help facilitate this by calling and booking an appointment, and limiting your time in the optical to only what is necessary.
- Follow visitation instructions. Each optical practice may have their own instructions about how to proceed, depending on the size of the space, number of staff, and available facilities. There may be limitations on entering including checking your temperature, requiring a mask, waiting for an appointment, etc. Please follow directions and be courteous and respectful of health care workers. They are doing everything in their power to keep you safe.
- Keep a 2-metre distance and wear a mask if possible. Alberta Health’s recommendations for physical distancing include keeping a 2-metre (6 foot) distance between you and other people. When you are not required to be in close contact with a health care practitioner, keep your distance. If you are able to wear a non-medical mask, this may help protect you and others from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Some optical dispensaries may require you to wear a mask while you are there. Please respect each optical’s patient requirements.
- Wash your hands frequently and try not touch surfaces unnecessarily. The best way to prevent the spread of infection is to wash your hands frequently and keep them to yourself. You should try to come to the optical with clean hands, wash or disinfect them when you arrive, and wash or disinfect them again when you’re leaving. While you are in the optical, try not to touch surfaces unless you need to. This will help the opticians keep the space sanitary for everyone.
- Do not browse. Normally when you visit the optical, you might spend your time before or after an appointment browsing the frames and trying them on. Imagine how many other people might be doing the same, and you will understand why it’s not a good idea to browse for frames right now. If you want to try on a specific frame, ask an optician for help. They will be better able to clean the frames you use to ensure infection control requirements are being met.
The ACAO is still a functioning regulatory organization during this pandemic; if you have a complaint against a regulated member or a member of the public who is practicing unlicensed, please click the button below to learn more about the complaints process.
Use this search feature to find contact information for any Licensed Optician in your community. For example, enter “Edmonton” in the City field to view a list of optical practices in Edmonton.
The Notes section will indicate whether the optical practice is open for emergent and critical care or temporarily closed. If the Notes section is blank, the optical practice has not yet provided information on its status.
Activities for Kids in Isolation
Looking for something fun and educational to entertain kids in isolation? Check out our OptiKids section for science experiments, comic books, activity pages, and more.