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Monday, April 25, 2011

  • Optometrists welcome right to prescribe
  • Fire drills tomorrow, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Showing off the legally signed prescription]
Optometrists welcome right to prescribe

Optometrists in Ontario can now write prescriptions for medications to treat eye diseases — and the people at the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry, where most of them were trained, are “relieved that the day has finally arrived,” an announcement says.

“Thursday, April 7, was a landmark day for Ontarians with eye problems,” writes Andrea Carthew, the school’s development officer, recording that it was the day when an Ontario order-in-council went into effect giving optometrists the new powers. “Authorized optometrists in Ontario,” she says, “can now treat a host of eye diseases through the prescription of medications for allergic, infectious and inflammatory diseases of the eye, as well as the most common forms of glaucoma.”

Optometrists in Canada have been trained to manage these conditions for years — and in fact, Carthew says, they’ve been using medications to treat patients with various eye conditions in most other provinces until now. “Ontario was one of the last jurisdictions in North America to pass this new law, allowing optometrists to begin practicing at the same level as their colleagues across the country to implement practices learned during their clinical educational training.”

The implication for patients: “No longer do you have to wait in the emergency room with a red eye because there are no ophthalmologists who can see you. You can now simply see the optometrist you have trusted with your eyesight for years and get a prescription for medication right away.  Approval of this order dramatically increases access to quality care for Ontarians with medical eye problems.”

Says Timothy McMahon, associate director (clinical affairs) for the optometry school: “This is an important point in time for Ontario. The shortage of health care resource has just lessened a bit with optometrists in the province now that optometrists are able to write prescription to treat various eye diseases. Optometrists have been waiting for a long time to bring their expertise to this important aspect of eye care.”

At Waterloo’s own clinic, the first prescription was written by clinical faculty member Rodger Pace, who’s seen in the photo above, celebrating the moment along with fourth-year optometry student Sarah Hutchens. “It is most fitting that after his more than 30 years spent teaching optometry students to acquire their fundamental clinical skills, he should be the one to write the first prescription for medication at our school,” said Thomas Freddo, the school’s director.

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Fire drills tomorrow, and other notes

It comes this time every year: a day of fire drills in main campus buildings. They'll be held tomorrow (Tuesday), weather permitting, says a memo from Doug Dye of the university's safety office: "The Safety Office in partnership with UW Police Services and Waterloo Fire Rescue will be conducting fire drills for most of the buildings located on main campus. The drills are part of a required annual review of fire safety plans. All building occupants are expected to evacuate a building when the fire alarm sounds, even during scheduled drills. Each building takes between 5 and 10 minutes to conduct the drill. In the event of inclement weather the drills will be cancelled."

Emergency services aside, a lot of activities on the main campus will be at minimum levels this week, with the winter term done and the spring term not yet begun. The libraries are open for minimal hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday in both Dana Porter and the Davis Centre (and noon to 5 next weekend). The Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield will be open for recreational users from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the weekend. And as for food services outlets, only a few are open at all: Brubakers and Subway in the Student Life Centre, the Eye Opener in Optometry, Browsers in the Dana Porter Library, Pastry Plus in Needles Hall, the CEIT building Café, and Tim Hortons in the Davis Centre, Modern Languages and South Campus Hall.

"Scare the Government" was the eye-catching title on an e-mail message sent out to 21,982 undergraduate students Thursday on behalf of the Federation of Students. Signed by Feds president Brad Moggach, here's what the message said: "The 2011 federal election takes place May 2, 2011 and like Rick Mercer has said, the government isn’t expecting a big student turnout. Let’s prove them wrong! There’s more than one way to vote: Want to vote right now? You can vote anytime leading up to May 2 at your local Elections Canada office (register to vote by special ballot before 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26). Out of the country or away from your riding? Register to vote by mail at any Elections Canada office. Busy on May 2? Advanced polls will be open Friday, April 22, Saturday, April 23 and Monday, April 25 at the SLC. Working on May 2? You may be eligible for time off of work to go vote. For links to all of your local candidates and information on a debate being held at uWaterloo on April 27 at 10:30 a.m. visit Students can send questions for the debate to vped@ For more details on all of the ways you can vote in the federal election check out For general updates on the election from CASA look up Watch the Rick's Rant from the Season Finale of Rick Mercer Report. Want to follow the digital election trail? Follow these hashtags on Twitter #elxn41 or #cdnpoli."

And staff members in two faculties should take note of this message from the university secretariat: "Voting is to begin Wednesday, April 27, as engineering and science staff elect representatives to the Dean of Engineering and Dean of Science Nominating Committees. Brief campaign statements are available online for the candidates who are contesting the positions. Engineering: Linda Kenyon (executive officer), Sue Key (administrative manager for undergraduate studies), Vicky Lawrence (administrative coordinator for graduate studies), Christopher Pringle ( director, industry and government relations, mechanical and mechatronics engineering) and Martin Scherer (manager of outreach operations). Science: Jenniffer Fleet (administrative officer, biology) and Karen Trevors (executive officer). All regular full- and part-time staff of engineering and science are eligible to vote. The elections run through May 4, 2011."


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Link of the day

Easter Monday

When and where

Graduate Student Research Conference Monday-Thursday; keynote speaker, cartoonist Jorge Cham, today 3:00, Davis Centre. Details.

‘Picnic the Polls’ pre-election gathering 2:00, Student Life Centre courtyard.

UW Place hot water and heating shutdown to all buildings, Tuesday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Franco-fête for high school French students, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m., Humanities Theatre.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Dehua Pei, Ohio State University, “Specificity Profiling of Signaling Proteins Through Combinatorial Chemistry” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry 2 room 361.

WatRISQ presents Ken Sen Tang, department of statistics and actuarial sciences, “Pricing and Hedging with Discontinuous Functions” Tuesday 4:15, Davis Centre room 1304.

Opportunities and New Directions teaching and learning conference sponsored by Teaching Based Research Group, keynote addresses and workshop sessions, Wednesday-Thursday, Hagey Hall. Details.

Federal election debate for local candidates, hosted by Federation of Students, Wednesday 10:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Engineering alumni affairs reception, “Designing the Future”, guest speaker John Baker of Desire2Learn, Wednesday 5:30, Engineeing 5, tickets $10. Details.

‘Commute to uWaterloo by Bicycle’ sponsored by UW Recreation Committee , Wednesday 12:00, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre. Follow-up Thursday 12:00: “What Do I Need?”

Spring term fees due today (certified cheque, money order, promissory note), April 28 (bank transfer).

Germanic and Slavic studies day and evening of 50th anniversary celebrations, Thursday, alumni invited. Details.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

Retail services locations, including bookstore and Media.doc copy centres, closed for inventory, Friday, April 29.

Spring term classes begin Monday, May 2.

Canada 3.0, “Canada’s premier digital media forum” May 2-4, Stratford campus. Details.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses posted in Quest, May 10; appointments for continuing students, June 6-11; for first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

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