Letter to Members April 30, 2010
I met with Minister Kevin Falcon on Thursday, April 29, 2010, and received the very disappointing news that he has no intention of withdrawing the regulatory changes or making alterations to them. They will go into effect May 1, 2010 as originally announced.
It is unbelievable that we will become the only jurisdiction in North America to allow automated refraction, and eyeglass and contact lens sales without verification of a prescription – a very sad day for consumers in British Columbia and for the professionals committed to delivering quality eye health.
The BCAO has no intention of reducing our efforts to educate government MLAs, the media and the general public. Deregulating eye exams, allowing opticians to independently provide automated refractions and allowing the unregulated sale of eyewear will most certainly put British Columbian’s eye sight and health at risk.
Our efforts will continue unabated. We need you to continue to communicate and meet with your MLAs to let them know deregulation is not acceptable and how disappointed we are with this government’s decision to proceed with it.
More than ever, we need you to continue to collect case studies of asymptomatic adult patients 19-64 years old to prove the Minister wrong when he says there is no evidence that eye examinations improve health outcomes. Next week, we will be sending you a form to make it easier to collect patient case studies related to asymptomatic eye disease, adverse impacts from the use of contact lenses and eyeglasses sold by unregulated retailers, and automated refraction that results in misdiagnoses.
Despite being unable to convince Minister Falcon, we have been very successful in bringing this issue to the public’s attention through the efforts of BCAO members, our media relations and Facebook campaign, and our paid advertising – all documented on the BCAO website. I thank you for the work our members have done as part of our Speak Out for Eye Health campaign, which has been outstanding.
Our campaign was significantly strengthened by the support we received from the CAO, other optometric associations, eye health organizations and individuals who wrote letters to government to express their opinions, concerns and dismay and we owe them our gratitude as well.
Rest assured; the battle is not over. But we will need you to join us in our continued efforts to ensure this government understands the negative consequences of their decision. Over the coming days, we will send you more information about the campaign strategy going forward.
British Columbia Association of Optometrists