IRIS, The Visual Group, continues to consolidate their national footprint with the with renewal of partnerships in British Columbia and Guelph, Ontario.

The group currently has 32 locations in BC, 13 in Ontario and over 100 across the country.

Strengthened Position in BC
New partnerships were announced for Vancouver Island locations in Parksville and Langford, BC.

Parksville IRIS

In Parksville, Optometrist Dr. Adam Reid and Optician Manager, Tammy Baker  are the new shareholders, along with IRIS. The locations has a longstanding record of success for over 20 years with the previous IRIS partner, the late Dr. Gerald Trees.

Dr. Adam Reid, originally from Bowden, Alberta is a Pacific University School of Optometry graduate, and has been practicing Optometry at IRIS for 8.5 years

Tammy Baker, originally from Clearwater, BC graduated from the NAIT optician program in 1996. Baker joined IRIS 29 years ago and transferred from the lower mainland to Vancouver Island in 2007. She has been managing the Parksville location since December 2014.

The Langford IRIS location, near Victoria BC, has been a success since its first inception 22 years ago.

Dr. Robert McLaughlin, originally from the UK, was a professional physicist holding a PhD from Cambridge University prior to becoming an Optometrist.

IRIS Team in Langford BC

After five years in practice in the UK, he re-located to Calgary where he practiced for eight years. In that time, he worked with Ophthalmologist Dr. Al-Ghoul developing a Dry Eye specialty clinic. While in Alberta he was a council member on the board of the Alberta College of Optometrists.

As a passionate advocate for scope expansion, Dr. McLaughlin completed the Oklahoma College of Optometry’s advanced procedures course.  He relocated to Victoria, BC two years ago. The warm hospitality, outstanding patient care and strong leadership of the successful Langford IRIS team, inspired Dr. Mc Laughlin to partner into his location.

In the IRIS partnership model each location is a separate legal entity and the shareholders only participate in dividends from that specific location.


Ontario Location Merges nearby Optical Practice
In Ontario, Optician Elena Klotz has merged her store, Edge Opticians into the downtown Guelph IRIS location

Edge Opticians, a family business, was founded seven years ago while the IRIS location in downtown Guelph was the result of an acquisition of the longstanding Scott Coburn Optical store by IRIS in 2021. The new combined business will operate in the existing IRIS location.

Guelph IRIS

“The IRIS vision of providing high-quality products to patients/clients is what most appealed to me. Having a support network while still maintaining the flavour of my individual practice was also appealing.” said Klotz.

Klotz is a third-generation eye care professional; her father was an Optometrist and mother an Optician. She has been an Optician for over 25 years having trained at Georgian College. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Guelph.

The new IRIS partnership consists of ownership of shares in an Ontario registered corporation that holds the assets of the downtown Guelph location only.  Elena Klotz will receive dividends based on the profit of this individual location and participate in the appreciation of value of that specific practice as it grows. Elena will also receive a salary as the location’s Managing Optician.


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Dr. Daryan Angle, IRIS VP Business Development recounts how the COVID crisis accelerated the group’s advanced technology adaption and customer flow management.  IRIS continues to be bullish in acquiring partnerships and sees little impact on valuations as a result of COVID closures.

About the Guest

Dr. Daryan Angle graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 2001. He joined IRIS in 2002 as a practicing optometrist in British Columbia, and shortly thereafter became a franchise partner with IRIS. In 2006 Dr. Angle relocated to Ontario. He currently holds the title of Vice President Business Development and in that role, primarily focuses on buying, partnering and integrating optical stores and optometry practices into the IRIS network.


Episode Notes

Dr. Daryan Angle recounts how IRIS, a 400-location network across the country subject to a variety of provincial regulatory edicts, not only withstood but excelled out of the COVID calamity.

IRIS took an early decision to lock down the entire network and then marshalled the organization’s significant resources to support staff through the various government programs to protect their livelihood.

Dr. Angle explains the intensity of the communications effort to keep everyone on the same page and informed of the group’s actions, including taking a centralized approach to secure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

He also explains how IRIS managed suppliers and landlords in their effort to preserve cash.

Daryan explains how the IRIS model, with relatively lower patient numbers with more personal service time, fit nicely with mandated appointment-only retailing. The pandemic actually accelerated IRIS’ move forward in their efforts to rigoursly manage the timeline of the customer journey for eye exams and dispensing.

The necessity to reduce patient contact time, also advanced e-commerce initiatives and their 3D technology partnership with Topology Eyewear, which can deploy remote facial scans to adjust the frame even without the patient on site.

Finally from the  IRIS perspective,  he explains how 3-year averaging and accommodation for the COVID closure period mitigates the impact on practice valuations. IRIS remains bullish on the market and actively seeks partnerships with independent opticals and optometric practices.



Dr. Glen Chiasson

Dr. Glen Chiasson

Dr. Glen Chiasson is a 1995 graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. He owns and manages two practices in Toronto. In 2009, he co-hosted a podcast produced for colleagues in eye care, the “International Optometry Podcast”. He is a moderator of the Canadian Optometry Group, an email forum for Canadian optometrists. As  a host of  “Eyes Wide Open”, Glenn  looks forward to exploring new new technologies and services for eye care professionals.

Dr. Chiasson enjoys tennis, hockey, and reading. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Dr. Chiasson splits EWO podcast hosting duties with Roxanne Arnal.


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