Seeing Better, Or Seeing The Best That You Can

This past November I had the privilege of spending time with Sir Anthony Garrett. Sir Tony, as we affectionately call him, is the CEO of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians(ABDO). I first met Sir Tony at National meetings in Calgary a number of years ago. At that time, he kept us intrigued with his stories about Opticianry from around the world.

During his most recent visit, which was also to National meetings in Calgary, we had the pleasure of discussing our profession as it stands today.During a conversation one evening in Calgary, after our meetings, Sir Tony made a statement that has stuck in my mind since then. He said that opticians had a duty to ?Not just help people see better, but help them see the best they can?. This statement really resonated with me as I ponder the state of our profession.

The eye care consuming public is bombarded on a daily basis with advertising for glasses ranging from $7.95 on some Internet sites, to high end frames and lenses costing in excess of $1,000. Is there a difference? Of course there is. Almost every day I witness patients putting on state of the art, personalized, ?Digital? lenses and marveling at the quality of their vision.

Do patients see better when they put on basic lenses? Of course they do.
Are they seeing the best they can? Maybe not.


For years now we have been presented with new lens designs and coatings that, without a doubt, give better vision. But is the goal of eye care professionals to enable patients to see the 20/20 line on an eye chart?
Or is it to give them the best binocular clear vision possible. It seems that the latter is rising to the top of the list of goals eye care professionals have for their patients. We are seeing optometrists specializing in binocular vision, specialty prescriptions for brain injury patients, myopia control, dry eyes, etcOpticians are also focusing on specialty contacts, myopia control, digital personalized lenses, anti-fatigue lenses, filters, etc. Taking our patient?s vision to a higher level is what will keep opticians relevant and the obvious alternative to impersonal Internet eye wear sales.The OOA strives to bring Ontario opticians a variety of presentation topics that are relevant to always raising the educational bar. This year?s line-up of presentations and workshops continue this tradition. Specialty prescriptions for brain injuries and behavioral problems, filters, frame manufacturing, and more will be the order of the day. This coming fall we will continue with great presentations that will include binocular vision and refracting. Specialty Symposium will also include a refraction workshop.At all three educational events this year we are confident that you will come away with new found knowledge that will ?Not just help people see better, but help them see the best they can?

See you on Sunday April 29.

Lorne, Kashin RO
Ontario Opticians?Association Executive?Director

Continue reading Seeing Better, Or Seeing The Best That You Can

Keeping The Bar High

As I cruise around the Internet on a daily basis I come across quite a few articles that relate to our industry. Some I feel are positive for the future of opticianry, and some I feel are challenges for us. It seems that the world is constantly looking for ways to help the public do away with the need for our products, glasses and contacts. New procedures, that are mildly to fully invasive, are showing up on a regular basis.

Continue reading Keeping The Bar High

Opticians Are Educators

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I?m sure my fellow opticians would agree with me that, as opticians, we do not just sell products. A big part of what we do is counsel people about their eyes and appropriate life enhancing vision products. How many times a week, depending on your clientele demographic, are you asked questions about impending cataract surgery, what to do between surgery and the post cataract refraction, and finally options for a client that may not need much of a distance Rx, but would be lost without the multiple working distances of progressives? And the doctor has told them they only need readers. In my practice I seem to be seeing these scenarios sometimes multiple times a week. This motivates me to keep my knowledge of cataract surgery up to date. In the last few years Blue Light has been a topic of interest with clients and within our industry. Another education opportunity.

After all, most stakeholders and the public regard us as front line healthcare workers who are very accessible.

Another current topic of interest for us to educate our clients about is eye strain and myopia. The press has been publishing reports that claim there is a myopia epidemic on this planet and it will continue with 50% of the world suffering vision loss due to myopia by 2050. ?This topic has intrigued me this past year and has motivated me to use it for my self-directed learning this year. Continue reading Opticians Are Educators

Groundhog Day? D?j? vu, Again?

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This past week Health Canada registered the SVOne Pro auto refractor as a Class II medical device, and also awarded it a Canadian Medical Device License. This device is a handheld auto refractor that has a wavefront aberrometer and works with a smartphone. It can be used in a practice conveniently being moved from room to room, used on humanitarian missions supplying eye care, or as part of a remote refraction service. A model promoted by Smart Vision Labs, maker of this device, incorporates a client performing their own refraction, or someone else, optician or other. Continue reading Groundhog Day? D?j? vu, Again?

Is Another Layer Of Regulation Necessary?

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In early 2015, a?group of health regulators in Ontario, including the College of Opticians Of Ontario (COO), formed a Working Group and began exploring the idea of regulating health clinics in Ontario.? This group of health regulators have concerns with the current system where there are regulated professionals working for unregulated owners of clinics and also in cases where unregulated professionals are providing healthcare services. In Ontario some clinics are currently regulated such as pharmacies, hospitals, some dental and medical clinics, and long term care facilities. The group held webinars, town hall meetings and built a website. There was also a meeting held where professional associations were invited. The working group also accepted comments from stakeholders including the public. In all the Clinic Regulation Working Group received over 1,500 comments. Continue reading Is Another Layer Of Regulation Necessary?

Standing Upon The Shoulders Of Giants

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2016 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Ontario Opticians Association. It was previously known as the Ontario Association of Dispensing Opticians. Next year?s Inside Optics, being held on April 2nd & 3rd, will be a celebration of this great milestone in our history. All Ontario opticians, past and present, share this milestone. More about our event and history will be shared in the months to come culminating in a party on the evening of Saturday April 3rd and the largest Inside Optics ever on Sunday April 3rd.

When I reflect on celebrating our history it makes me think about all the people who have come before us and helped get us to where we are now, and the role they continue to play. The College of Opticians of Ontario (COO) as part of their commitment to transparency and in compliance with Provincial Regulations circulated, among other draft proposals, bylaws which include a COO member designation of ?Lifetime Member?. This is not a new member category. Continue reading Standing Upon The Shoulders Of Giants

Collaboration Finally Pays Off

Health Canada has announced that cosmetic contact lenses will now be viewed in the same light as prescription contact lenses. This means that cosmetic contacts will have to meet the same standard of quality and labeling as prescription lenses. Historically, these lenses have been available to the public without ECP involvement because the laws that govern contact lenses federally used the word ?prescription?? contact lenses in the legislation. Because Plano Cosmetic Contacts have no prescription Health Canada allowed them to be sold in non-regulated environments (eg. drug stores, hair dressing salons, and party stores). As ECP’s, we all know that the risks involved in wearing contact lenses are mostly related to the lens physically on the eye with the prescription component being more of a symptomatic issue with a lessor possibility of harm. Continue reading Collaboration Finally Pays Off

Dispensing In The 21st Century: Is It Really ?The Big Bad Internet??


Dispensing In The 21st Century: Is It Really ?The Big Bad Internet??

So when did ?Internet? become a bad word? I?ve noticed that over the past few years this word has evoked negative comments and talk of doom and gloom amongst some opticians. It?s high time that we stop using this catch all word as the evil machine that will put independents out of business and opticians out of work. We are seeing the Internet becoming part of our daily routine as opticians more and more every day. Is this use all negative? Of course not. Whether you?re using the credit card machine, sending an order to the lab, or communicating with your patients using email ? you are using the ?Internet?.

The times they are a-changin. Fast!

Continue reading Dispensing In The 21st Century: Is It Really ?The Big Bad Internet??

Growing The Market

From ?Ontario Opticians Association Focus Newsletter March?2015

Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Executive Summit presented by the Vision Council. The program featured opportunities for executive-level networking, leadership development, economic trend updates, industry panels and business thinking and strategy. In addition to general sessions there were limited seating workshops that allowed for intimate access to global thought leaders. The networking opportunities I was afforded gave me an opportunity to not only expand my network with our global colleagues in eye care but also with the unprecedented number of Canadians attending the summit. Nothing replaces face-to-face meetings and open conversations to form new relationships and rekindle old ones. It?s important that Canadian Opticianry is represented at all meetings of the optical business minds. Continue reading Growing The Market

COO Proposed Standards Allow On-Line Eyeglass Selling

From ?Ontario Opticians Association Focus Newsletter?January 2015

On Tuesday January 27, 2015 the College of Opticians of Ontario (COO) approved in?principal, changes to our Standards Of Practice. These changes effect the dispensing of glasses, contact lenses, low vision aids, and safety glasses. Record keeping and infection control are also addressed*. The draft Standards have now been sent out for stakeholder feedback. You should have received an email from the COO asking for your comments. The COO will also be holding focus groups. The OOA will be seeking member input and also a review by our legal/consulting team. I strongly encourage you to take part in this process both through your association and directly to the COO. Be sure to answer the trending questions in this newsletter so we can start a dialogue with you, our members, Continue reading COO Proposed Standards Allow On-Line Eyeglass Selling