A recent poll, commissioned by Specsavers and conducted by Research Co., unveiled that one-third of British Columbians haven’t had an eye exam in over three years, and 55 per cent feel as though eyewear is currently not affordable for Canadiansi.

Dr. Mannie Dhillon, Specsavers Surrey Central Optometry Partner, conducts an eye exam utilizing the latest technology to support clinical efficiency, accuracy, and disease detection. (CNW Group/Specsavers Canada)

Today, Specsavers is announcing an investment of $25 million into British Columbia. This investment will contribute to the opening of a total of 50 high-tech optometry clinics and optical stores in the province by 2024 (12 of which are already open) and will create over 750 essential service jobs. This decision is aimed at boosting business ownership by independent optometrists and opticians, helping them to achieve success while remaining autonomous and patient-care focused, all part of Specsavers’ continued goal to improve British Columbians’ eye health, reduce preventable blindness and redefine accessible eyecare.

“Specsavers’ investment into B.C. aligns with our purpose of changing lives through better sight,” said Bill Moir, General Manager, Specsavers Canada. “Seventy-five per cent of vision loss can be prevented or successfully treated just by improving access to eyecare servicesii. With Specsavers’ global scale, we are able to lower the cost of eyewear for British Columbians, which helps remove a main barrier to getting regular eye exams. We also equip Specsavers optometrists and opticians with the latest imaging and clinical technology to provide our comprehensive eye exams, which include an OCT (optical coherence tomography), a 3D eye scan. We make this available to all patients at no additional cost because we’ve proven this has a measurable impact on the early detection of debilitating health conditions.”

With 12 stores now open in B.C., Specsavers hopes to follow in the footsteps of Specsavers Australia, where consistent use of OCT as part of standard care has increased the detection rate of glaucoma to near the reported population prevalence. OCT scans are a critical step in prevention and detection of a number of diseases, not all eye related. Upcoming locations in VictoriaCourtenayCampbell RiverWest VancouverNorth VancouverSouth SurreyVernon and Kamloops are planned for the coming months.

“If detected, conditions such as glaucoma are easily treated, but if not, British Columbians run the risk of suffering from considerable eye damage,” said Naomi Barber, Specsavers’ Director of Optometry. “Regular eye health checks can also detect other significant health conditions, including high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis or diabetes. Optometrists play a great role in a patient’s overall health.”

“Eyecare is an essential part of B.C.’s health care sector,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “I want to congratulate Specsavers on their $25 million investment in British Columbia and welcome the more than 750 essential jobs that will be created.”

Specsavers enables partners in its clinics and stores to provide consumers with accessible and quality care, achieved by its priority on advanced clinical equipment, ongoing professional development for business owners, and increased choice of great value eyewear. Specsavers’ investment into B.C. is part of a $100 million investment plan for Canada, which was announced earlier this year to open 200 locally owned and operated 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.

About Specsavers

Founded in the U.K. nearly 40 years ago by optometrist husband and wife team Doug and Mary Perkins, there are now more than 2,300 Specsavers locations across 11 countries caring for 41 million patients and customers. As market leaders in all of the countries they operate in, Specsavers delivers style, and function with quality eyewear at an affordable price, while using the most advanced clinical equipment as a standard part of eye examinations.