Are You Ready for Commoditization of Eyewear

No Rx In my March 31 post (British Columbia Paves Way for Internet Sales of Eyewear) I commented that British Columbia was about to enact a law that eliminates the need for an Rx to purchase eyewear.  This step, in my opinion, is taking the profession of optometry back to the stone age. 

Here's an interesting letter that provides an update on this disturbing action.

Letter from President of British Columbia Association of Optometrists

But lets look at the current reality.  A significant portion of eyewear sales are now delivered by retailers like Walmart and Lenscrafters.  What is in their best interest?  Do they desire that patients require an Rx to purchase eyewear?  I doubt it.  Their interest is in competing at the retail level and the removal of any barriers to the sale of their product…eyewear (they make nothing on the sale of eyecare).  For these big box and deep pocket retailers, there's bbbbillion$ at stake and they'd love the opportunity to sell eyewear like they sell shoes and socks, deodorant and hairspray.  I can just hear the celebrations in Bentonville on this one.

So, take it to the bank. British Columbia may be the first to push this agenda…but they won't be the last. 

But rather than wait for this eventuality, perhaps it's time to commit to delivering a more valued patient experience?  Because, in the absence of anything else, price prevails.

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