SEEING THE VALUE OF LICENSED OPTICIANS AT THE HEART OF SPECSAVERS’ PURPOSE

To ensure clinical excellence, Specsavers has set out to build the largest network of opticians in Canada.

This is because Specsavers believe opticians are crucial to providing high-quality patient care, as they directly and significantly influence a patient’s quality of life.

Claudia Rojas, Head of Opticianry

Leading the charge is Claudia Rojas, Head of Opticianry, Specsavers Canada.

Claudia has over 20 years of experience working as a licensed refracting optician and has made tremendous strides in the optical industry.

With her commitment to promote eyecare and eye health awareness, Claudia has served on the College of Opticians of British Columbia and is currently the Vice President of the Opticians Association of Canada (OAC) and President of the OAC’s British Columbia Chapter.

“In my new role as Head of Opticianry, I am guided by my commitment to promote eyecare and eye health awareness,” said Claudia Rojas, Head of Opticianry at Specsavers Canada. “I look forward to broadening our network and ensuring opticians feel relevant, important and appreciated, as they are integral to the eyecare industry.”

Specsavers aims to have at least one optician present at all optical stores, at all times, to mentor eyecare consultants and optimize patient care.

“Opticians are integral to the delivery of Specsavers’ purpose, which is to provide accessible, quality eyecare and affordable eyewear,” said Bill Moir, General Manager of Specsavers Canada. “With Claudia at the helm, we’ll continue to support, train and mentor opticians to provide the best care possible, for example, using our OCT scans as a standard part of pre-test and our range of quality eyewear and advanced lenses, to best serve their patients.”

Specsavers is committed to offering its retail team career-progression plans to become licensed opticians and contact lens practitioners through a sponsorship program currently in development.

Click HERE for the full press release.

This post is sponsored by Specsavers Canada.


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Naomi Barber, Director of Optometry, Specsavers Canada shares thoughts with Roxanne Arnal on Specsavers’ approach  particularly as it relates to data modelling and working with various health stakeholders to improve accessibility and drive  more positive outcomes in through its optometry network.

 


Naomi Barber, Director of Optometry, Specsavers Canada

About the Guest

Since qualifying as an optometrist in 2011, Naomi Barber, Director of Optometry at Specsavers Canada, has subscribed to the philosophy that quality eye care should be simple, accessible, and convenient. Naomi has been involved in shaping the clinical roadmap for Specsavers, a major part of which was building the largest known dataset of optometric patient outcomes to measure impact on early detection of eye disease in Australia and New Zealand. Most recently, she has moved to Vancouver to lead the clinical strategy for Specsavers in Canada.

 


Episode Notes

Guest Naomi Barber provides an update on the Specsavers roll out, starting with the rebranding of specific BC locations to how it may unfold across the country through practice acquisitions or greenfield launches.  She shares Specsavers’ values and how these ultimately translate into the optometric partner selection process.

Insights garnered from Canadian health care research and revealed to her tremendous opportunity for Canadian optometry to improve patient awareness of optometric services.

Naomi enthusiastically shares the Australian-New Zealand experience on how Specsavers were able to leverage their 10 million plus patient data set to help develop evidence-based programs to improve patient outcomes in diabetes. Working with the Australia’s national health care system and key stakeholders, including Diabetes Australia, they were able to improve patient communication, compliance and outcomes.

Naomi directly addresses the potential implementation and challenges of a similar program in Canada, where health care is provincially administered, and eye care has been chronically underfunded.

Resources

 

 

ROXANNE ARNAL,

Optometrist and Certified Financial Planner

Roxanne Arnal graduated from UW School of Optometry in 1995 and is a past-president of the Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO) and the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS).  She subsequently built a thriving optometric practice in rural Alberta.

Roxanne took the decision in  2012 to leave optometry and become a financial planning professional.  She now focuses on providing services to Optometrists with a plan to parlay her unique expertise to help optometric practices and their families across the country meet their goals through astute financial planning and decision making.

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


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Optometrist since 2011 (Australia)
Currently resides in Vancouver, BC.
Leads the clinical strategy for Specsavers in Canada

Naomi subscribes to the philosophy that quality eye care should be simple, accessible, and convenient. She has been involved in shaping the clinical roadmap for Specsavers, a major part of which was building the largest known dataset of optometric patient outcomes to measure impact on early detection of eye disease in Australia and New Zealand.

Naomi Barber

Director of Optometry, Specsavers Canada.

 

Why did you choose your field?
My optometrist changed my life. I developed an accommodative esotropia at age 2 and was scheduled for resection surgery (in the 80’s!).

My mother took me for a second opinion to Dr. Ed Howell, a children’s specialist. He took time and care to ensure I was patched and trained, and by age 4 my eyes were straight with correction.

I credit him with my development and regaining my confidence as a child, even if I had to wear hexagonal glasses and a patch! I spent a lot of time in his chair, and he even attended my graduation from Optometry School. It’s always been at the heart of why I entered this profession.

What is currently the most exciting thing in your field to help patients?
In our field, we are now enabled to deliver preventative care through advancement in research and technology. Whether we’re talking about myopia management or detection of asymptomatic disease, optometrists are practicing in an era where we have the tools to really stretch our expertise and help numerous patients. It’s now up to us to explore how we raise patient eye health awareness to really maximize the impact!

What is your definition of success or what habits make you a successful person?
There is something that resonates with me and I’ve held close to me in life so far: it’s to do what you can, with what you have, to the best of your ability, and try to do it every day.

Even the biggest moments in life are really an accumulation hard work, effort, disappointments, and moments of resilience. It’s the integrity with which you strive that really gives the greatest satisfaction and fulfilment, no matter the outcome.

Last indulgence?
A $12.00 bunch of carrots from an organic grocer in Vancouver’s Yaletown… I love vegetables but in hindsight I’d classify that as an overindulgence.

Tell me something few people know about you?
I’m first generation Australian (and very proud). My mother is Indian but born in Malaysia and my father is English.

I ate pies and rice for dinner often as a child. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up surrounded by people who were curious, embraced my differences and opened my eyes to their perspectives.

This mentality of humanity, openness and embracing diversity is something I carry with me, and something I’d like to champion more and more as I live my life.

What is one thing you own that you should probably throw away but never will?
I have a lucky scrunchie that has been with me since my first year of high school. It was around my wrist in every exam I took during high school and has been with me through lots of major milestones in my career.

It’s purple with sequins (hideously kitsch) and in my handbag pocket right now.

I’m not at all superstitious but I do make a point of ensuring I keep it close!


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Specsavers Storefront Canada

By Jean-François Venne

Specsavers recently unveiled its intentions for the Canadian market. The British optometry giant hopes to have more than 200 offices in Canada by 2024 and eventually have a presence in all Canadian provinces.

 Specsavers has begun in British Columbia, following the acquisition of Image Optometry last spring. “We’ve been talking with Image for a long time and we think their business is a great base for our Canadian venture,” says Bill Moir, General Manager of Specsavers Canada. “We like their values and people model, which fits well with our approach that values quality and accessibility of products and services.” 

 Two former Image Optometry stores were opened under their new Specsavers banner in November in Nanaimo and Coquitlam, with 14 more to follow by March 2022. The company also has a lab in British Columbia and may open more to support the company’s growth across the country.

 “We’ll be developing the B.C. market in the coming months, but we want to expand into all provinces eventually,” says Bill Moir. Canada is a relatively complex market, as the regulations governing eyecare professionals vary from province to province. But we are used to adapting to new jurisdictions.” 

 The company plans to grow organically first, allowing optometrists and opticians to join its franchise network, but also remains open to acquisitions. Founded in the United Kingdom in 1984, it now operates in 11 countries, serving more than 41 million customers.

 A Partnership Model
 “One of the things that sets us apart is that our stores are owned and operated in part by the optometrists, opticians and retailers themselves,” explains Bill Moir. We want to offer them a low startup cost and high quality support.” Each store may offer the services of an independent optometrist, but the product sales portion is jointly owned by an optometrist/optician or optometrist/retailer duo. The startup cost for a franchise is approximately $25,000 for each partner (so $50,000 per store).

Franchisees receive what Bill Moir refers to as “full service.” This includes, for example, management services such as marketing and accounting, IT and technology services or procurement. In particular, Specsavers plans to have an integrated supply chain for all its franchises. “We want eyecare professionals to be able to focus on their patient services, so we provide a lot of support,” summarizes Moir.

Specsavers has a history of becoming a dominant force in the countries it enters fairly quickly. It was founded just as Margaret Thatcher’s government was deregulating optical services in the UK. This allowed Specsavers to use advertising and marketing approaches previously prohibited in that country. Specsavers now has half of the market share in UK.

In Australia, the company opened 100 stores in 100 days when it arrived in 2008. It now has about 40% of the Australina market share.

Specsavers maintains that there is no truly dominant national force in the Canadian optical market. It sees this fragmentation as an opportunity to make their mark fairly quickly. They plans to invest heavily in advertising and marketing to become a major player in the Canadian optical and optometric industry.

 A major competitor
 The British company becomes a new competitor in a market that has seen the arrival of Bailey Nelson, Warby Parker, Mujosh and Oscar Wylee, among others, in recent years. Specsavers will certainly be a challenge for Luxottica (owner of LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut), New Look (which owns its own stores and also the Vogue Optical, IRIS and Greiche & Scaff chains), FYidoctors and their new acquistion, Bon Look, among others.

These competitors remain very discreet following Specsavers’ announcement.

As for the independents, it remains to be seen whether they will perceive Specsavers as a threat or an opportunity to join forces with as a new partner.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the head of one buying group called Specsavers’ acquisition of Image Optometry a “trial run” and recalled that independents are already competing with chains, many of which are in consolidation mode. He added that “customers continue to prefer the attentive service and care of an independent, locally involved professional who tailors his or her offerings to regional differences.”

Bill Moir believes that the Canadian market will benefit from the Specsavers model. “We offer high quality, affordable products and services, while at the same time providing an attractive partnership option for eyecare professionals,” he says. “Doug and Mary Perkins, optometrists, started their company with these two goals in mind and we think Canadians will like this approach.”  

Jean-François Venne is a freelance journalist based in Montreal. He has been covering news in the optical industry for over ten years.


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Career Pathfinders

The employment market in eye care has always been a challenge but today, catalyzed by the new opportunities from eyecare organizations eager to acquire new talent, the challenges, options and opportunities are greater than ever.

An overview of the employment situation will be shared with attendees as well as some sage advice from employment gurus.

Hiring organizations will provide insights into their culture and benefits. Attendees will be able to meet with the leaders behind Canada’s largest organizations and get first-hand perspectives. OD members of the Canada’s largest optometric buying groups share their perspectives on independent optometry. 

This interactive event is ideal for early career stage eye care practitioners looking to chart their course and those, at any career stage, considering upon a change in direction.

SPEAKERS:

  • Tim Brennan, Chief Innovation Officer, FitFirst Technologies
  • Dr. Michael Naugle, VP Optometric Partnerships, FYidoctors
  • Dr. Daryan Angle, VP Business Development, IRIS Group
  • Dr. Laurie Lesser, Eyecare Director,  Canada/UK, Bailey Nelson
  • Nicholas Perry, Cofounder & Managing Director, Canada/UK, Bailey Nelson
  • Dr. Kyla Hunter, Aurora Eye Care, Grande Prairie, AB , Eye Recommend
  • Dr. Trevor Miranda, Cowichan Eyecare BC
  • Dr. Maria Sampalis, Founder & Owner, Corporate Optometry
  • Naomi Barber, BOptom, Director of Optometry, Specsavers

All events will be hosted and moderated Roxanne Arnal, OD, Certified Financial Planner. Dr. Arnal brings a unique combination of experience as a former independent practice owner and certified financial planner to the proceedings.

Mingle with your colleagues and presenters in conversation rooms following the presentations.

INTERACTIVE MEETING FORMAT, INCLUDING:

  • Presentations and Moderated Panel discussions
  • Private Video Chat tables
  • Interactive Text Chat
  • Direct Links to valuable information

Event registration is now open. Click Here for Details. 

PREMIER SPONSORS

 

 

 

PARTNER & FRIEND SPONSORS FOR THIS EVENT  

       

 

 

 

 

 

Events in the Series:  

Registration for the first event Monday October 25th,  “Technology Drivers of Change” is still open. Click here for detailed information on this event. 

Registration for the second event Monday November 1st,  “Selling & Buying a Practice” is still open.  Click here for detailed information on this event. 

Click here to register for any of the Changing Landscape Events 


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Buying & Selling a Practice

The second event of the “Changing Landscapes: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs” will focus on Selling & Buying a Practice and will be held Monday November 1st (7:30 PM Eastern).

The Canadian market has experienced transformational change in the past year.

Major players have had substantial capital injection and new Canadian market entrants are making their play for market share, creating more opportunities and options for Canadian ECPs.

Join leaders and spokespersons from the world of independent optometry supported by B+L and major eye care groups/organizations including IRIS, FYidoctors, Vision Alliance Corporation, OSI/SOI, Eye Recommend and, new to Canada, Specsavers. ROI Corporation, Canada’s leading health practice brokerage will also share their experience.

This event is a must-attend for any practitioner looking to exit their business, start a new practice or formulate a strategic partnership.

Speaker List Includes:

  • Jackie Joachim, Chief Operating Officer, ROI Corporation
  • Dr. Daryan Angle, VP Business Development, IRIS Group
  • Dr. Wes McCann, Central Optometry, ON, Eye Recommend
  • Dr. Michael Naugle, VP Optometric Partnerships, FYidoctors
  • Gord McFarlane, Managing Director of Corporate Development, FYidoctors
  • Dr. Skylar Feltis, YXE Vision Group, SK, OSI Group
  • Dr. Warren Toews, YXE Vision Group, SK, OSI Group
  • Dr. Trevor Miranda, Cowichan Eyecare, BC, Independent Practice
  • Dr. Robert Allaway, Chief Optometry Officer, Vision Alliance Corporation
  • Mike Protopsaltis, Partnerships Director, Specsavers 

The event series will be moderated by Roxanne Arnal, OD and Certified Financial Planner (TM), bringing an informed and unique perspective to the events.

Event registration is now open. Click Here for Details. 

PREMIER SPONSORS

 
SpecSavers  

 

PARTNER & FRIEND SPONSORS FOR THIS EVENT  

 
Digital ECP  

Follow up Events: 

The final event in the series will be held Monday November 8th  7:30 PM (Eastern). 

Career Pathfinders| Making Informed Choices (November 8th)  
Career options and opportunities for both young and experienced ODs have never been greater as new organizations offering unique business models enter the market and established entities respond to the changing environment.
Click Here for Detailed Information.

Registration for the first event Monday October 25th,  “Technology Drivers of Change” is open. 
Click here for detailed information on this event.  

Click here to register for any of the Changing Landscape Events 


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Technology rivers of Change

The speaker list for the inaugural  “Changing Landscapes: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs” event has been announced by Eye Care Business Canada.  

The first of three events will focus on technology drivers of change and be held Monday October 25th (7:30 PM Eastern). 
Industry thought-leaders will share their insights as to what technologies will have the greatest impact on eye care and eyewear in a Canadian market context.  

Speaker List Includes:

  • Dr. Alan Ulsifer, CEO and Chairman of the Board, FYidoctors
  • Dr. David Schwirtz, VP Innovation, IRIS Group
  • Dr. Trevor Miranda, Cowichan Eyecare BC, Independent Optometrist
  • Dr. Damon Umscheid, Eyes 360, Okotoks, AB, Eye Recommend
  • Naomi Barber, Director of Optometry, SpecSavers

The event series will be moderated by Roxanne Arnal, OD and Certified Financial Planner (TM), bringing an informed and unique perspective to the events.

Tele-optometry, impact of omni-channel selling and remote face trace technology enabling touchless ophthalmic lens dispensing are among the factors to be discussed.  

Event registration is now open. Click Here for Details. 

PREMIER SPONSORS

Eye Recommend  
SpecSavers  

PARTNER & FRIEND SPONSORS FOR THIS EVENT  

Digital ECP
       

Follow up Events: 

The second and third events will be held on consecutive Monday evenings starting at 7:30 PM (Eastern). 

Selling & Buying a Practice (November 1) 
In the second event Industry experts will provide perspectives on the current state of play in the Canadian practice acquisition market. A must attend event if you are considering an exit strategy or looking to buy a practice. 
Click Here for Detailed Information.

Career Pathfinders: Making Informed Choices (November 8th)  
Career options and opportunities for both young and experienced ODs have never been greater as new organizations offering unique business models enter the market and established entities respond to the changing environment.
Click Here for Detailed Information. 

Click here to register for any of the Changing Landscape Events 

 


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