I said it. Eyecare should be free. Eyecare is a vital part of health, and it's about damn time that governments recognize that. Every single person deserves to be cared for - regardless of station of birth.

Billions on Glasses

In the US alone, consumers spent $22 billion dollars (USD) on glasses in 2018. That's not counting the cost of eye exams (a cool $200 a pop, on average, every few years) or even contact lenses. While online glasses retailers like Zenni have edged in, most of the US glasses are manufactured by a de facto monopoly: Luxottica. In fact, 80% of glasses worn globally are manufactured by Luxottica.

While BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec provide free glasses to those on income assistance, not all provinces do - the maritime provinces do not offer any coverage on eye exams or glasses, even to low-income folk and kids.

Glasses should be free.

Heartache By The Numbers

In the US, 64% of adults wear glasses as do 20% of children; around 30% of the US population is near-sighted and 60% is far-sighted. It's estimated that 75% of the US population uses some sort of vision correction. Environmental factors have been pointed at as the cause of Shanghai's 86% youth nearsightedness rate; exposure to pollutants and nutritional deficiencies have wreaked havoc on eyesight. Other factors can also contribute - high stress levels, wild schedules, and little time outdoors.

In Canada, those numbers are 1 in 3 children. Early darkness, long winter days, and school systems that are optimized to warehouse kids, aging infrastructure, and high lead concentrations are all contributing factors.

Screentime is often argued to be a contributing factor. But from personal experience, I argue that poverty and environmental factors plays a bigger role.

Kids shouldn't have to squint because of myopia.

They should only have to squint at bad takes.

Glasses should be free.


Feature Photo: unsplash-logoMark Solarski