In an effort to protect Ontario patients, the College of Optometrists of Ontario and the College of Opticians of Ontario initiated a legal proceeding against Essilor Group of Canada Inc./Clearly. The Colleges sought an injunction that would prohibit Clearly from dispensing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses online to the Ontario public, without following Ontario legislation. On January 11, 2018, the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario granted the injunction. Clearly sought an appeal of the decision, which was heard on September 21, 2018.
On April 4, 2019, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its decision granting Clearly’s appeal.
The College of Optometrists of Ontario and the College of Opticians of Ontario are disappointed with the outcome of this appeal. We will take time to conduct a more fulsome review of the decision and provide further information at a later date.
In the interim, we want to reiterate that our Colleges firmly believe that the Internet can be an effective tool for providing vision care. We have already established protocols to support how Ontario optometrists and opticians use the Internet to care for their patients and regularly review our professional standards of practice to ensure they are keeping pace with changes in technologies and other innovations.
Our position throughout this legal action has been, and continues to be, squarely focused on ensuring Ontario patients receive appropriate eye health care regardless of where they purchase their eyewear, be that in store or online. Our eye health is an important aspect of our overall health and well-being. Improperly fitted glasses can lead to eyestrain, double vision and headaches. Improperly fitted contact lenses pose an even greater risk and can cause sight-threatening injuries, such as corneal ulcers and infection. Children are at particular risk. Aside from the fact that we know that children with vision problems often suffer from low self-esteem, frustration, poor literacy and headaches, wearing improperly fabricated or dispensed eyewear can lead to permanent vision development issues.
As the regulator for the professions of optometry and opticianry, our role is to ensure that Ontarians receive the utmost standard of eye health care.
Further information on this court action is archived on the College website.