Refer a Patient

Ophthalmologists are specialists in eye diseases and surgery and only see patients with eye disease. You require a referral from a primary care provider (optometrist, family doctor, nurse practitioner, emergency room physician) to see an ophthalmologist.

The Waterloo Regional Eye Program is partnering with the eHealth Centre of Excellence to improve referral pathways using Ocean, an online referral platform.  We encourage referring providers to register with Ocean and refer patients through this patient engagement platform. Ocean is an Ontario eServices Program led by the eHealth Centre of Excellence and the eConsult Centre of Excellence.

There are several ways to refer a patient to an ophthalmologist in the Waterloo Region and referring providers not registered with Ocean can still refer a patient by direct communication with the surgeon’s office for non-cataract referrals, or through central intake for patients with cataracts.

Centralized eReferral Program for Cataract Surgery

We are proud to announce the start of centralized referral for cataract surgery in the Waterloo Region.  All 16 cataract surgeons in the region are involved in the centralized referral program and all new non-urgent cataract referrals will be redirected through the system.

The centralized referral program in the Waterloo Region is built around patient choice: 

  1. preferred provider
  2. preferred region/location
  3. shortest wait time for cataract surgery

You will be able to access accurate wait times for all 16 cataract surgeons to help inform the decisions. The centralized referral program is processed through Ocean (https://ocean.cognisantmd.com/), a secure online referral portal, in partnership with the eHealth Centre of Excellence, a provincial eServices Program. There is no cost for providers to sign up for Ocean.  This program has many exciting features that facilitate communication between providers, it displays wait times for surgeons and details about providers' clinical practices, and it has a live map to easily find providers in the region. Ocean can also be used to refer any patient, not only those with cataracts.

For those not yet set up with Ocean, you can submit a completed referral form to the Waterloo Regional Coordination Program Cataract Central Intake at fax 519-621-0059. Visit https://www.wwrcc.ca/ENGLISH-Ophthalmology.htm for more information on cataract central intake.

Cataract surgery wait times

Wait times for cataract surgery are updated quarterly, with wait 1 representing how long it takes to get in to see the surgeon in the office, and wait 2, how long it takes after that to get in for surgery.
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