Eye Care Professionals Voice Opposition For State Question 793

Wednesday, June 6th 2018, 9:25 pm
By: Brian Dorman

A state question on the November ballot would allow optometrists to operate in big box retailers like Wal-Mart. In response, eye doctors met Wednesday to talk about State Question 793.

Many of them are against the idea, even though nearly every other state already allows it. Oklahoma, Delaware, and Rhode Island are the only 3 states that don't allow eye doctors to practice inside big box retailers like Wal-Mart, Costco, and Sears.

Larry Schultz is like a lot of consumers confused about what it would look like to have eye care services provided inside a retailer like Wal-Mart.

"I can see the convenience of it but once again who are the professionals that will work there? Will there be a high turn over?"

Co-owner of The Eye Care Center of South Tulsa Dr. James Ward says his main concern is quality.

"I don't think professions belong in retail establishments," said Ward "Any time you start mixing large big box retail establishments with professions like optometry it dilutes our profession."

Supporters say it allows more people access to important eye care at a better cost. Chairman of Yes on 793 Tim Tippit said in a statement:

"For decades, Oklahoma optometrists have put profits over patients. In 47 other states, quality eye care is affordable, accessible and convenient."

Dr. Ward argues that there is nothing preventing optometrist from offering affordable eye-care right now.

"I don't even think it's about the delivery of eye care if it was their sole purpose to deliver eye care in Oklahoma open up a store outside their store." Said Ward.

Wal-Mart has also issued a statement on the State Question saying:

"In Oklahoma, patients tell us they want the convenience of having access to high quality, yet affordable, eye care and eyewear while they shop. Any optometrist practicing in our stores are held to the same licensing standards as any licensed optometrist in each respective state."