COVID-19 – Information for Patients

The College of Optometrists of Ontario has been working closely with the Ministry of Health to keep optometrists up to date with the latest information relevant to optometry care.

You can find valuable information on the Ministry of Health website, which is updated regularly, including a self-assessment tool.

Ontario is asking everyone to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and make sure our emergency services do not become overwhelmed. To help support social distancing, the College has strongly recommended that optometrists provide urgent care only at this time.

What should you do?
Everyone should practice good hand hygiene and stay home as much as possible, which includes not visiting your optometrist’s office for regular appointments. If you have questions or concerns about your vision, contact your optometrist by phone or email.

What if I have issues with my eyes?
Optometrists are making themselves available to answer questions by phone or email. If you have injured your eye or are experiencing sudden loss of vision, contact your optometrist and they will advise you on the next steps.

If your optometrist determines that the issue is urgent, they may be able to see you – if you do not have fever, cough, or shortness of breath – or they may refer you to another optometrist or ophthalmologist.

You can also search the Public Register to find which optometrists in your area are providing in-person, urgent care. Be sure to call the optometrist first so they can take your health history and confirm next steps. Do not go to an optometrist office without first talking to the optometrist.

In a serious emergency, where no other options are available, the optometrist may direct you to visit the emergency room. DO NOT go to the emergency room without first talking to your optometrist.

What if I need to have an eye exam to renew my driver’s licence?
The Government of Ontario has extended the time your driver’s licence is valid. If your licence is expiring soon, you do not need to renew it until the government has resumed these services.

What if I can’t reach my optometrist?
If you can’t reach your optometrist or you are unsure how to reach your optometrist, contact the College.

Resources for the Public