One-third of Ontarians haven’t had an eye exam in over three years, and 55 per cent feel as though eyewear is currently not affordable for Canadians[i], a recent poll found. That’s why today, Specsavers is announcing an investment of $50 million into Ontario to enhance eye health outcomes, reduce preventable blindness and redefine accessible eyecare.
“Our Government is pleased to welcome Specsavers to Ontario,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “This $50 million investment will create 1500 jobs for the people of Ontario and is further proof that by lowering the cost of doing business by $7 billion each and every year, we have made our province a more attractive place to invest.”
This investment is aimed at creating business ownership opportunities for opticians and independent optometrists, helping them to achieve success while remaining autonomous and patient-care focused.
“Specsavers’ investment into Ontario aligns with our purpose of changing lives through better sight,” said Bill Moir, General Manager, Specsavers Canada. “Seventy-five per cent of vision loss and blindness is preventable or treatable with early intervention[ii]. With Specsavers’ global scale, we are able to lower the cost of eyewear for Ontarians, which helps remove a significant barrier to getting regular eye exams, especially at a time when Ontarians are being more careful with their money due to rising costs. We equip optometrists and opticians working at Specsavers with the latest imaging and clinical technology to provide comprehensive eye exams. This includes OCT (optical coherence tomography), a 3D eye scan, which is provided to all patients as part of Specsavers’ standard eye exam because it’s proven to have a measurable impact on the early detection of sight threatening eye conditions.”
Specsavers Canada is focused on following the clinical evidence from Specsavers in Australia, where consistent use of OCT as part of standard care has enabled a significant increase in early detection and management of conditions like glaucoma. This ensures patients are made aware of any risks they have so their condition can be managed preventatively before vision is lost. OCT scans are a critical step in prevention and detection of a number of diseases, not all eye related.
“Conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes can be detected through routine eye exams. When detected, they can be managed to ensure minimal impacts on vision. However, without attending for routine eye exams, Ontarians run the risk of these conditions advancing with little in the way of symptoms, which can ultimately lead to significant vision loss and detrimental impacts on quality of life,” said Naomi Barber, Specsavers’ Director of Optometry. “Regular eye exams can also play a role in identifying other significant health conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Eye exams really are critical to overall health and well-being.”
Specsavers’ investment into Ontario is part of a $100 million investment plan for Canada, which was announced earlier this year to open 200 locations across the country. This multi-million-dollar investment will cover 100 per cent of location start-up costs for optometrists and opticians who become Specsavers business owners. All optometry clinics and optical stores will be locally owned, creating new jobs and allowing owners to focus on the specific needs of their community.
i Research Co. (2022, February). Canadian EyeHealth [Survey]
ii CAO Eye Health Statistics Eye Health. (2019, July). Retrieved April 1, 2022, from https://opto.ca