On February 24, CBC Television’s Marketplace program featured a story on the price of prescription eyeglasses. Absent from the story was any reference to eye health or acknowledgement of the health risks associated with patients purchasing from unregulated retailers or the safeguards provided by regulations. As Doctors of Optometry, our key priority is our patients’ vision and eye health. In our role, we monitor the health of your eye for eye diseases that lead to blindness, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, and also detect for systemic health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which can be detected during a routine eye exam.
Regular, routine eye examinations are the best way to protect life-long vision and the regulatory systems across the country were established with patients’ safety at their core. British Columbia is an anomaly where recent regulatory changes, as highlighted in the Marketplace story, put the eye health and overall health of British Columbians at risk. It is important to note that we support consumer choice in eye wear dispensing as long as it is a regulated practice, meaning there are safeguards (i.e., a valid prescription and a regulated provider) in place to ensure patients’ eye health. Featured prominently as a source for the Marketplace story was an individual the Ontario Superior Court of Justice determined was operating in contravention of the law, and by doing so, was placing Ontarians’ health at risk.As Doctors of Optometry, we are proud to be on the frontline of protecting the eye health of Canadians.