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What to expect when visiting a B.C. eye clinic during the pandemic
VANCOUVER -- Many eye clinics have reopened in Metro Vancouver this week as B.C. entered Phase 2 of its restart plan.
Before opening their doors, however, clinics had to implement new policies set out by WorkSafeBC.
Dr. Pavan Avinashi, who owns Hollyburn Eye Clinic in North Vancouver, said his business has already made several changes in recent weeks.
"Like everybody else we've had to pivot and adapt to what's going on," Avinashi told CTV News.
"Even though the doors were locked, we had staff here. So if patients wanted to pick up something like contacts or broken glasses that needed to be repaired urgently, we'd have a system in place."
Now that they've opened again, Avinashi said their business has adapted once more, and customers can expect to see more personal protective equipment, physical distancing and sanitization.
At this particular clinic, patients might be screened or asked questions over the phone before they even come in. They'll also be asked to wait outside until their appointment to limit the amount of time they spend in the clinic.
Then, when patients first walk in, they'll be met with a staff member at a table who will make sure they're wearing a mask and have cleaned their hands. Staff will then ask the patient for permission to take their temperature.
"If their temperature is an area of concern, we'll make them aware of that and try and ask them to reschedule," Avinashi said.
Rooms where patients will actually see a doctor will all be sterilized between visits.
After being closed for about two months, Avinashi said the clinic has a backlog of a few thousand patients. As a result, they're asking patients who are just doing a routine checkup to consider delaying their appointment until the fall.
But Avinashi said that doesn't mean people who need care more urgently should put off getting help.
"We say the eyes are the window to your body," he said. "Whether it's screening for systemic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, or ensuring you don't have any underlying pathology in the eye, we want to make sure it's not just about vision, it's about overall health."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Regan Hasegawa