Canadian sentiment and trends
Canadians are expressing mixed and changing feelings as COVID-19 progresses. Now more than ever, Canadians have a critical role to maintain social distancing as the government engages in conversation regarding when, and how, segments of the economy can be reopened.
- Nearly 4 million Canadians are receiving emergency federal aid from the government, with hundreds of thousands more claims waiting to be processed;
- In Canada, the federal and provincial governments are beginning discussions about reopening the economy in phases, with the expectation that current restrictions will stay in place for several weeks to maintain progress;
- The debate about when normalcy can resume continues, building on the successful measures to social distance and flatten the curve in Canada;
- Even as calls for normalcy increase, a recent Angus Reid poll reports 77 per cent of Canadians say it is too soon to begin relaxing social distancing requirements and business closures. Additionally, 41 per cent of Canadians believe it will be 3-6 months before things will be “back to normal” in Canada and 43 per centsay they believe it will be more than six months;
- When it comes to the work from home experience, Leger and the Association of Canadian Studies found that 50 per cent of Canadians are working from home and 79 per cent of them report that they are having a positive experience; and,
- Sentiments around the healthcare system show that 49 per cent of Canadians are concerned that the healthcare system in their community can handle the pandemic, down from 69 per cent the week of March 30th.
Optometry community in Canada
During such unprecedented times, it’s wonderful to see a universal sense of care and camaraderie emerge among optometrists across Canada. Below are a few examples of individuals and organizations in our industry who are stepping up to make a difference.
Individual efforts in the community
In a short period of time, many eye care professionals within our community have made a positive impact on the lives of Canadians. Below are some examples that may be valuable for your practice to implement or for you to share with your patients:
- Edmonton optometrist, Sarah Keep and her husband, saw an opportunity to give back to the community during the pandemic and manufactured and donated 150 protective masks to optometry clinics.
- Nasir Khan, president of the Alberta College of Optometrists, has made a few media appearances expressing his thought leadership during the pandemic. Khan has spoken to encouraging optometry offices to remain open in order to reduce the impact on emergency rooms and communicated strict infection and prevention controls.
- Canadian optometrist, Dr. Rob Kloepfer, takes pride in educating the public about eye care through lectures and public appearances. Recently, he called out parents when stating the importance of frequent eyeglasses cleaning, handwashing before contact lens use, and avoiding sharing eye drops in households to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
- Weslie Hamada, O.D. FAAO, LensCrafters shared that, despite not being able to give up our screens during this unfortunate time, there are some very simple steps we can take to protect our vision.
- University of Waterloo optometry student, Cindy Shan, wrote an article about how optometrists and other health professionals can talk to patients about their mental health during the pandemic. Shan emphasized that there is more to helping patients than completing an eye exam, when urging optometrists to support the overall wellbeing of their patients.
Organizations leading by example
- Proper eye care and access to vision correction is still essential during a pandemic. Below are examples of how some organizations are addressing health and safety concerns and continuing to meet the demand for corrective lenswear. Clearly™ updated their followers on Instagram™ and Twitter™ on how the company has been operating during COVID-19. Other actions on social include:
- Sharing tips to ensure a successful transition to working from home, encouraging people to share their tips in the comments;
- Their donation of safety glasses to the healthcare heroes at Vancouver Coastal Health; and,
- Reminders to take a few minutes away from the screen for your eyes and spirits.
- Nikon Lenswear posted on Facebook™ an announcement on how it is working to maintain their level of standards during COVID-19. Other actions on social include:
- Essilor™ posted on Facebook™ announcing how it is operating during COVID-19. Other actions on social include:
- Sharing tips to limit the impact of long work hours on your eyes;
- Posts directed at eyecare professionals announcing that Essilor Academy is offering micro-trainings for the next four weeks on a variety of business subjects; and,
- Sharing appreciation for essential employees that are working at the office/labs to help customers/patients.
- Alcon has a dedicated page on their Website detailing how they’ve implemented new measures during this time for their associates, ensuring critical supply and promoting the safe use of their products. Other actions include:
- College of Optometrists of Ontario includes a “Find Urgent Eye Care” section on their website, along with postings providing relevant information for patients and updates for optometrists. Other actions on social include:
- Facebook post providing updates on urgent care during COVID-19 and how those with vision issues can search the Public Register using two new search fields.
- Johnson & Johnson Vision posted on their website highlighting J&J Vision’s response to COVID-19 which includes taking comfort in ACUVUE, continued patient care and prioritizing safety at every level. Other actions on social include:
- Encouraging everyone, including contact lens wearers, to follow CDC guidance and avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. A link to ACUVUE’s steps for cleaning contact lenses has also been shared;
- Announcing the measures J&J has taken to maintain its supply chain operations during COVID-19 along with a $50 million commitment to support frontline health workers battling COVID-19;
- Highlighting lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19, landmark new partnership with U.S. department of Health & Human Services and commitment to supply one billion vaccines worldwide for emergency pandemic use; and,
- Reminding of best practices such as the 20/20/20 rule. Encouraging people working from home to practice taking 20 seconds to look at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes.
- Indigo’s Love of Reading Foundation committed $1 million in books and educational resourcesto support Canadian children in need during the pandemic.
Thank you to our partners
The Council for Healthy Eyes Canada (CHEC) very much appreciates ongoing leadership from our industry partners in helping to found the highly successful ThinkAboutYourEyes.ca (TAYE) integrated marketing, communications and data collection campaign. We also would like to thank Canadian eye care professionals such as Optometrists at this very challenging time.
The information provided here is for general informational purposes only. The contents of this document are provided in good faith; however, we make no representation of warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information in this document. Under no circumstances shall CHEC be held legally liable