Friday, April 16, 2010

B.C. Government poised to take eye care back to Third World status!

On May 1st, the B.C. Health Minister is proposing to almost deregulate the eye care professionals and bring the standard of care in this province to that mostly seen in third world countries!
Opticians will be allowed to ‘sight test’, which involves checking the patient’s prescription, without ANY form of eye health assessment! As you all know, we routinely find eye disease and even life-threatening diseases every day in asymptomatic patients. If the regulations go through in B.C., many patients would forgo a regular complete eye health assessment, assuming that a ‘sight test’ is all that is needed. This would needlessly increase the rate of blindness in this province. There is no other jurisdiction in North America that allows a prescription check without the rest of the eye health assessment.
In addition, ANYONE will be allowed to open an optical shop and sell glasses or contact lenses without any license or education whatsoever. Even more amazing is that you would be able to get glasses or contact lenses WITHOUT a prescription! So... if you feel you see well with your sister’s glasses, you could just have them neutralized at the local optical shop and voila... you now have your new glasses! (or maybe you would like a pair of contacts from her Rx too... no problem!... we can even mail them to you without ever checking them on your eyes)
What is the B.C. government thinking????
So far, the B.C. health minister is ignoring the pleas of the optometrists, medical doctors, the CNIB and even the opticians themselves to stop this legislation. Apparently, he is making the changes only to appease an internet contact lens retailer (Clearly Contacts) and keep this company prospering in B.C. Exchanging the visual health of B.C. residents for the financial health of a contact lens company hardly seems like a fair trade to me!
It turns out that Clearly Contacts has paid over $10,000 dollars in political contributions to the government to help make this new legislation a reality. It is really a bit unbelievable that the Health Minister does not even want to discuss the matter with any of the stake-holders. (optometrists, medical doctors, opticians, CNIB, etc)

If you have a few minutes to spare, please become a fan of the ‘Speak Out for Eye Health’ facebook site and add your name to the growing list of eye care providers, staff and patients who are making their displeasure known!!/speakoutforeyehealth

Many thanks!

Toby Mandelman

No comments:

Post a Comment