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Eyecare Groups Ask Judge to Block Clearly from Dispensing Online

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They’re seeking an injunction.

The College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario are seeking an injunction that would prohibit Clearly, owned by Essilor Group of Canada Inc., from dispensing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses online in Ontario.

They are pursuing the matter in Ontario Superior Court.

The groups state in a press release that in Ontario, dispensing prescription eyewear is a controlled act.

“As regulatory bodies the Colleges have a responsibility to serve and to protect the public interest,” the organizations state. “This responsibility includes ensuring that Ontarians are only dispensed their corrective eyewear by an authorized, regulated health professional, which is based on a valid prescription.”

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According to the release, it is possible to use the internet to lawfully dispense eyewear to patients in Ontario by following the groups’ updated standards of practice and protocols.

“Patient choice and convenience is important, but this can’t come at the expense of patient safety,” said Dr. Paula Garshowitz, registrar of the College of Optometrists of Ontario. “This action isn’t about stopping online dispensing. This is about ensuring that Ontarians have full protection under Ontario laws.”

Fazal Khan, registrar of the College of Opticians of Ontario, added: “At the end of the day, our respective Colleges have a duty to serve and protect the public interest.”

Essilor Group in Canada said in a statement that it “respects the decision of the Colleges to seek the court’s opinion regarding the role of optical e-commerce in Ontario.”

The company added that it is “fully committed to complying with laws, regulations and requirements in all the countries where it operates.”

“With the advent of technology and the consumer’s evolving needs, alternate channels are fast-emerging,” Essilor stated. “It is of key importance for Essilor to continue to work hand-in-hand with its eye care professionals, while also addressing the consumer’s new buying preferences, in order to provide access to the best quality of eyecare for all Canadian consumers. Essilor in Canada will continue to strongly support the independent eye care professional in their efforts to serve Canadians in both traditional and e-commerce channels.”

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