LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - Election day is November 6th and on the ballot is State Question 793. The question would allow optometrists to practice inside retailers like Walmart and Target.
John Kusel, former president of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature has been wearing glasses for decades. He said as he gets older his vision has worsened and so has the need for more frequent appointments.
“In fact, as I age it’s getting closer to fewer years between them," he said.
Which is the reason he’s endorsing state question 793.
Oklahoma is one of only three states that prohibits the sale of eye wear by large retailers, but if 793 passes, Kusel believes eye care would be much more affordable.
“It will enable them to buy eye wear at a much lower price, competitive price," he said. "And buy the same quality eye wear and get the same quality eye exams.”
However, Joel Robison with the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians opposes the state question. He said if passed, it will allow corporations to limit a doctor’s practice.
“We believe doctors, who are professionals and have medical training should be the ones making medical decisions, not retail store managers," said Robison.
He also said the standard of care may be reduced. Where an optometrist would normally be able to detect diabetes and high blood pressure in an exam, that would now be limited.
“It’s wrong for a big box retailer like to change our states constitution in order to be able to kind of get between a patient and their doctor," said Robison.
But Kusel believes it won’t hurt eye care because optometrists must have a license. He said his goal is always to fight to improve the lives of seniors and those in need and he hopes others will do the same.
“Everyone that needs eye wear can save money when this bill passes," said Kusel. "It’s been a long time coming especially seniors who because of fixed incomes and high prices cannot afford to pay.”
As for Robison, his hope is that voters will have a change of thought.
“We’ve already seen how when insurance companies get between patients and doctors what problems that creates," he said. "Now we’re going to add another layer with retail managers.”
If you would like to find out more detailed information on SQ 793 you can visit OKPolicy.org.