For Your Eyes Only

August 2014

The Manitoba Home Builders' Association is celebrating 75 years.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 7

eyes for yoUr 2 only y et if you order your glasses online, you are unlikely to experience the crisp clarity of properly fitted glasses. So says Dr. Kelsey Bruce, an optometrist at Oakley Optical and Blink Eyecare. "Basically I consider glasses to be a medical device. It's no different than getting a prescription for a medication from your physician. Your prescription is quite serious and should be dealt with in that manner," she said. "The people who fit the glasses in the dispensary have gone to school for at least a year. So when you go to the trouble of getting the absolute perfect prescription from your optometrist, then you want to have it fit properly so you can maximize those results." If your glasses don't fit well, problems such as headaches can occur. "The more difficult the prescription, the more likely you're going to have problems with online glasses. If you go into progressive lenses, it's almost impossible to get the right results with an online lens because there are so many measurements that go into it. And the higher the prescription, the more likely you'll have problems with them," Bruce said. "When your glasses don't fit properly, not only are you not seeing as well as you should be but your eye muscles might not work as well as they can together. If the measurements aren't perfect and your eye isn't sitting in the middle of the lens, then it induces a prism. That's not going to cause eye disease, but it's certainly going to make your eyes feel more strained and not as comfortable as they should." Online services also don't adhere to the same regulations and safety standards as an in- person dispensary. "When you go to see somebody at a dispensary in Canada, whether it's an optician or an optometrist, you have to use regulated materials. When it's done online, they're never responsible for the materials," Bruce said. "We are bound to a standard in Canada. We have to make sure that our lenses adhere to those standards, and none of those standards have to be met when they come from online." As a result, lenses ordered online can be too thin and break easily. Bruce has seen the negative effects firsthand. "We had somebody come in who broke the lens. It actually cut their eye and they got an eye injury from it. It wasn't life or death, but it was definitely a serious occurrence," she said. "When you order online, you have no idea what material you're getting. You have no idea if it's plastic, polycarbonate, acrylic. You have no idea if it's meeting local opTicians focUs on paTienT care by Jennifer Mcfee FOR ThE FREE PRESS WHen yoUr glasses fiT properly, iT's like WaTcHing THe World in HigH-definiTion opposed To peering THroUgH TUbe-TV Vision. the safety standards." And when it comes to ordering contacts online, people might skip their eye exams, leading to undetected health issues. "If you keep ordering online and nobody ever looks at your corneas, you could have a terrible infection, irritation or inflammation," Bruce said. "If your corneas are not taken care of properly and you're not getting regular eye checkups, then you could have problems." As more people turn to online services, they also run the risk of jeopardizing face-to-face options. "You might have an optometrist who isn't able to be employed anymore because there's not enough work to be sustainable. All of the profits go back into the clinic so that we can provide more technologically advanced eye exams. When you don't have that, it can take away from the practice," Bruce said. "A lot of people aren't aware of the downfalls of ordering online. The whole point of having these regulated parameters is because we're supposed to provide our patients with not only the best vision but also the safest environment. That all goes out the window when you go online because they are never responsible for whatever product they provide for you." For industry professionals, education is the best way to open their patients' eyes to the reality of the situation. "The only thing we can do is talk to our patients on an individual basis," Bruce said. "We don't want to take anybody's rights to do what they want to do, but we want them to be aware and educated about the choices that they make." s ean Sylvestre is looking to make eyewear shopping easier, more affordable, more convenient and more fun. The results of his mission will soon be evident when he introduces Eyewear Evolution, a new business concept he believes is a North American first. Sylvestre's company has created technology that will allow eyewear customers to virtually try on frames using a computer-generated 2-D or 3-D image of their heads. Through what he calls "Virtual Mirror technology," customers can to try on digitized glasses frames from several online catalogues. The frame selection process is then self-directed and user-friendly, though help will also be available from an eyewear professional. The images are then relayed to a free proprietary application that enables viewing via computer, Smartphone or tablet. The images, glasses and all, can then be shared with others via email or social media before buying. Once a decision is made, the order is sent to a store where customers pick up their eyeglasses and have them properly fitted. Eyewear Evolution, slated to launch in October, will also offer a direct link to an insurance company so customers can process their vision-care insurance claims on the spot and not have to pay out-of-pocket while waiting for plan reimbursement. "We are also establishing deals that will allow subscribers to have options on a complete pair of eyewear, including anti-glare coating, which will be fully covered by their insurance benefits (assuming the average coverage equals $250), so it will include bifocals and progressives," said Sylvestre, a registered optician. "This will be a one-stop shop for optical that does not involve high-pressure sales. The entire concept is built around creating a positive customer experience for eyeglass buyers by leveraging technology and social media." Sylvestre said he got the idea from his first-hand look at the process of buying glasses, a transaction he had seen many times as an employee in his parents' longtime optical store. "When I decided to pursue the optical business as a career, I didn't want it to be just a job, I wanted to leave my mark on the industry," he said. he believes that mark starts by improving the customer's experience so that is not only efficient, but also genuinely interesting. The technology can help the industry better adapt, by addressing consumer demand for lower prices and Internet-like convenience, while still offering superior before- and-after-sale customer service. Sylvestre said Eyewear Evolution is really about convenience and creating a positive customer experience. With 24-7 access to the technology and support, customers will be able to choose their eyewear in the comfort of their own homes. The Virtual Mirror kiosks will benefit optical retailers by allowing them to continue to provide great customer service without pricey overhead costs associated with unsold frames. The savings will enable traditional eyewear retailers to compete more effectively with online eyewear vendors. eyeWear eVolUTion looks To reVolUTionize sHopping for glasses by nancy booMer FOR ThE FREE PRESS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of For Your Eyes Only - August 2014