Specsavers has opened a new location at Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket to bring affordable eye care to local residents.
It's a homecoming for local franchisee Dr. Alisha Merchant, an optometrist originally from Aurora.
Merchant first began working with Specsavers while living in the U.K. for about six years. The company then brought her to Alberta and when she heard there was a location coming to Newmarket, she was intrigued as it is so close to her hometown.
It's also close to home for optician and store director Anthony Lam. He has been working as an optician for a different company in Toronto but as an Aurora resident, he was also happy to make the move.
“This was just so much closer to home,” he said. “When I heard about this, I just had to do it.”
The Specsavers, located on the upper level of the mall near Coles, offers comprehensive eye exams for $99, compared to up to $170 at other optometrists, Lam said.
“Our whole idea is affordable eye care shouldn’t be out of the range for a lot of people,” he said.
In Ontario, eye exams are covered by OHIP for individuals under 20 and over 65 years old. However, for people between those ages, you are required to pay out of pocket or depend on benefits from your employer.
Lam said in his past work he has seen customers whose benefits typically don't entirely cover costs, especially if they require glasses.
"Here, you’re actually able to walk away with potentially not having to pay anything out of pocket, which is really nice,” he said.
He added that it's important for anyone, even those with perfect vision, to get regular eye exams, similar to going to the dentist or doctor for regular check-ups.
“Your eye really is the window to your health, to your body,” he said.
An optometrist is a doctor who runs the tests and can give a prescription, while an optician's role is more like a pharmacist, who fills the glasses prescription and makes any adjustments required, said Lam.
Along with affordable eye care, Specsavers aims to provide affordable options for glasses, too. Its regular pricing model offers two pairs of glasses for the price of one, which Lam said provides both affordability and options for customers.
Specsavers is one of eight optical stores in the mall. Lam said its value is what sets them apart.
“Although you’re paying less, you’re getting more. I think that’s so important to hit home that we’re not a discount eye wear company. We’re a company that really gives you a lot of value for what you’re paying,” he said.