COVID-19: Letter to Registrants
18.03.2020

Dear Registrants,

Many of you have reached out to us expressing concerns about COVID-19 and the risk of continuing to provide opticianry services. This is an unprecedented situation for all of us. We appreciate your concerns at this time of uncertainty, and we will do our best to respond as quickly and accurately as possible. We have put together some essential guidelines that will hopefully address the most frequently asked questions from our registrant base.

Canada has an opportunity to contain the spread of COVID-19 and prevent further infection, if we respond quickly. We are being strongly guided to employ social distancing measures and self-isolate wherever possible. The College of Opticians of British Columbia recommends that opticians limit all non-essential patient interactions until further notice. What is defined as essential is up to the discretion and professional judgment of each individual optician however, we strongly suggest you employ the highest level of caution and consider some of the following guidelines.

Virtual Care
Conducting telephone, email or video appointments is a great wat to reduce the amount of physical contact you have with your patients. This can include refilling prescriptions for eyeglasses and contacts or discussing other concerns about eye health.

Business Practices
COBC does not have jurisdiction over business operation and therefore cannot advise you to close your business or remain open. Following the social distancing guidelines is recommended so please take that into consideration when making your decision. You may consider:

  • Scheduling necessary appointments in a way that reduces the number of patients in the store at any one time
  • Post notices on your website, social media, and in store requesting patients who are feeling unwell to reschedule
  • Have a policy in place for potential employee illness and quarantine
  • Have a plan in place for any government mandated closure of retail locations
  • If you decide to close or operate on reduced hours, please provide a notice on your website and in your store to advise patients on how they can contact you, if necessary.

Practice Advice
If you do need to treat patients in person, we continue to offer the following guidelines for reducing the risk of infection to yourselves and your patients.

  • Triage patients upon arrival to assess their risk level.
    • Are they experiencing any of the specific symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Have they recently returned from travel outside of Canada?
    • Have they interacted with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have the virus?

If they answer yes to any of the above, suggest that the appointment is rescheduled and refer them to the Government of Canada Pubic Health advisory page about COVID-19 as it is recommended that anyone falling into any of the above categories should self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after treating a patient. You can refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada for Hand Hygiene Practices in Healthcare Settings.
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing and wash your hands immediately after
  • Keep your workplace well stocked with hand soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues and use proper waste disposal
  • Sanitize work surfaces and equipment between uses, especially those that make direct contact with patients such as slit lamps and pupil measuring devices. A diluted bleach solution or alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol are the most affective. Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. We recommend following the CDC guidelines for disinfection of surfaces.
  • Sanitize frames after patients have tried them on using anti-bacterial soap and water or a disinfecting wipe that is safe for the frame material. If frames cannot be cleaned, please consider removing them from frame bars for now.
  • Display public health advisory notices in your dispensary to remind and inform customers of the symptoms and risks. 

You may also consider the following after assessing the risk to the patient, using professional judgement and fully informing the patient that these are not best practices but advisable at this time. If any of these actions are taken, full documentation in the patient record is required:

  • If measurements need to be taken, maintain as much distance as possible by using previous measurements from the patient’s record, if applicable.
  • Measure PD using a penlight and ruler rather than a pupilometer, placing the optician further away from the patient.
  • Dispense glasses without adjustment. The patient should be encouraged to return later for the adjustment.

Renewal
If you have not already done so, please complete your renewal as usual as staff will still be processing submissions during this time. COBC is mandated by the provincial government of British Columbia and we do not have the authority to move or extend our renewal period. We understand that some of you may not be able to work as a result of the current pandemic but if you wish to stay registered as a Licenced Optician, you must renew. We will let you know immediately if this changes.

Continuing Education and Criminal Record Checks
If you need to submit your completed credit form to update your most recent continuing education cycle, please scan and email, or fax it and it will be processed as usual. If your criminal record check needs to be updated and you have been instructed to have your ID verified in person, please contact our staff to discuss.

Our Office
COBC has been advised by the management of our shared office space to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. As of today, March 17th, we will be running the office remotely until further notice and we endeavor to maintain an efficient response time to your inquiries.

You can still call the office during regular hours if you wish to leave a message, as we will have access to voicemail and will return your call or get back to you via email as soon as possible. You can also email us at reception@cobc.ca for assistance. Please do not visit the office during this time as there will not be staff available to see you.

We are consistently monitoring the situation, particularly the guidelines being recommended by government and official health agencies and have created a dedicated COVID-19 page on our website that will be updated whenever new directives or resources become available. Please check it regularly. We appreciate your patience and co-operation at this time. 

From Lisa and the COBC Team.


Communications
Skip Navigation Links.
Popular Posts
02.01.2018 Board of Directors Election Results College of Opticians of BC held their 2017 Election for two vacant Board of Director positions.
10.09.2018 Office Closure: Aug. 27 - Sept. 7, 2018. *Update - Service Interruption: Week of Sept. 10, 2018 Between August 27 and September 7, 2018 the College moved to a new office location, located at: 900 200 Granville Street Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4 *Please note that as we complete this transition, we remain without phone service the week of Sept. 10. We apologize for any inconvenience with this temporary service interruption; please reach out to us via email for any assistance, at reception@cobc.ca, and we'll be happy to respond.
18.02.2018 Board Meeting Join us for the February Board Meeting to find out what we are working on.
22.12.2017 Become a Volunteer with the College The College is looking for volunteers to be a part of a dynamic and innovative team. We are looking for Opticians to sit on the Registration Committee and Inquiry Committee.
03.08.2017 Hiring a Program Manager Program Manager
 Job Type: Full time 
Salary: Based on experience 
Number of Positions Open: 1
 Start Date of Employment: September 2017
 Deadline: August 31, 2017 
Website Address: www.cobc.ca
13.10.2017 Recruiting for a Registrar An exciting leadership opportunity
12.10.2017 College of Opticians of British Columbia Board Meeting Attend the COBC Board Meeting
08.09.2017 Nomination to the College Board of Directors - District 1 Lower Mainland The College is looking for leaders to be nominated from the Lower Mainland to the Board to help regulate the profession. The College is responsible for setting and enforcing the standards of opticianry. As a self-regulating profession, the Board of the College has the important duty of overseeing the College's regulatory activities and is accountable for how the College operates.
09.10.2018 Update: Board Vacancies The College will hold an election in December to fill a vacancy on the Board. A second vacancy will need to be filled by appointment, so registrants are encouraged to apply with their resume for consideration.
07.12.2017 Board Election 2017 2017 Election for the Board of Directors: District 1
21.12.2017 Office Closure Notice of Office Closure for the Holiday season.
30.10.2017 Continuing Competency Workshop The COBC is holding a free workshop on Sunday, November 19, 2017 in Prince George to help introduce the new Continuing Competency Program! Check out the time and location below:
06.03.2020 Practice Advice: COVID-19 coronavirus Practice advice for opticians following the recent spread of COVID-19 coronavirus
06.08.2018 Office Closure - Monday, August 6, 2018 Please note our office will be closed on Monday, August 6, 2018
27.07.2018 Nominations to the College Board of Directors - District 3 (Okanagan & Kootenays) and District 5 (Contact Lens Fitter) The College is looking for leaders to be nominated to the Board of Directors. The College is seeking nominations for licensed Contact Lens Fitters from any BC region, as well as nominations for opticians (with any designation) in the Okanagan & Kootenays area.
02.07.2018 Office Closure - July 2, 2018 Please note we will be closed for the long weekend.
17.09.2018 Board Meeting & AGM Join us for our Board Meeting & AGM in November.
16.01.2019 Board Meeting: February 4, 2019 Join us for our first Board Meeting of 2019.
02.01.2019 Board of Directors Election Results: 2018 College of Opticians of BC held their 2018 election to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors.
02.10.2018 Office Closure - Monday, October 8, 2018 Please note that our office will be closed on Monday, October 8 for the holiday.
09.10.2019 Update: Board Vacancies The College is seeking interest from registrants to join our Board of Directors, so registrants are encouraged to apply.
21.12.2018 Office Closure - Dec. 22, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 Please note that our office will be closed between December 22, 2018 - January 1, 2019.
22.08.2019 Nominations to the COBC Board of Directors - District 2 (Vancouver Island) & District 4 (Cariboo) The COBC is looking for leaders to be nominated to the Board of Directors. The COBC is seeking nominations for licensed opticians (with any designation) in the Vancouver Island and Cariboo areas.
19.11.2019 New Dates - Notice of Discipline Hearing - Shahla Najafian-Seisan COBC will hold a hearing regarding Shahala Najafian-Seisan (Vancouver BC) on February 10-11, 2020. The hearing will be held at the College office at 900-200 Granville Street, Vancouver BC. Each day the hearing will commence at 10:00am PST.
23.04.2019 Board Meeting: May 4th 2019 Join us for our Spring Board Meeting.
16.03.2020 COVID-19 COBC Update Office staff working remotely due to spread of COVID-19
01.08.2019 Board Meeting: August 23, 2019 Join us for our August Board Meeting.
27.11.2019 College of Opticians of BC welcomes government's proposed reforms to regulatory framework Earlier today, the Ministry of Health outlined a bold proposal for modernizing B.C.’s health regulatory framework.
01.08.2019 Office Closed - August 5, 2019 Please note that our office will be closed on Monday, August 5, 2019.
05.11.2019 Board Meeting and AGM Join us for our Board meeting and AGM in November.
26.11.2019 Practice Advisory: Blue Light Lenses A statement in response to the concerns recently raised on CBC Marketplace concerning blue light lenses.
11.12.2019 Holiday Closure December 2019 The COBC office will be closed for the holidays from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th of December and Tuesday 31st and Wednesday 1st of January.
26.03.2020 COVID-19 Resource Page The College of Opticians of BC has created a COVID-19 Resource Page
28.01.2020 Update: Board of Director Vacancies College Board of Directors have appointed two registrants to fill Board vacancies
08.01.2020 COBC Fee Increase 2020 College of Opticians of British Columbia is increasing some of the registration fees for 2020-2021. Please click here for fees, which will be in effect as of February 10th, 2020.
19.02.2020 Public Notice: Consent Order, Shahla Najafian-Seisa #1369 Public notice posted for proposal of consent.
12.02.2020 Board Meeting: February 21, 2020 Join us for our board meeting in February.
04.03.2020 Renewal is Now Open The renewal portal is now open. Please click here to renew your license for 2020-2021.
03.03.2020 Intermittent Email Issues If you are looking for an email or reply from us, please check your junk mail to see if it has been delivered