With nearly 25% of Canadian children experiencing vision issues which can lead to learning at a slower rate, developing a negative self-image, and experiencing frustration with learning, Clearly has stepped up to help solve this problem. They have recently announced their new program, “Free Glasses for Kids”, and we were able to speak to a representative this week to learn more!
What is your business called and what does it do?
Clearly was founded in Vancouver in 2000 and is Canada’s leading online eyewear retailer. Our Mission is to eradicate poor vision – the largest unaddressed disability – by 2050.
Clearly serves this mission and its community by providing people with the most accessible and affordable optical products. As the first Canadian retailer to offer eyewear online, we’re now a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses. Through our Buy One, Give One program, Clearly has donated more than 400,000 pairs of glasses to people in need.
What made you want to do this work?
Uncorrected vision affects 2.5 billion people worldwide. Sight is one of our most important senses as it enables us to fulfill essential everyday activities such as working, reading, and communicating, as well as immerse ourselves in the things that make our lives special, whether it’s hobbies, interacting with nature, or spending time with loved ones.
When this sense is hindered, it can result in major challenges, making it difficult to navigate through life. Our aim at Clearly has always been to improve your life by improving your sight. We want to break down barriers that prevent people from accessing the vision care they need, and enable them to see the amazing things in their lives.
What problem does this solve?
In Canada there are 2.2 million people living with uncorrected vision, including children. Uncorrected vision problems in children can lead to many issues, ranging from learning at a slower rate to developing a negative self-image. These early struggles can have long-term effects that impact opportunities throughout life.
Eye exams and children’s glasses are a key step in identifying and correcting vision conditions, so that kids can see – and live – to their full potential. The Free Glasses for Kids program breaks down physical and financial barriers, equipping children with the eyewear they need to succeed.
In service of our mission and in partnership with the Essilor Vision Foundation, Clearly will provide free glasses for children age 10 and under who visit a Clearly retail store in Toronto and Vancouver (and soon Calgary). Parents can bring their child’s recent prescription (written within 1 year) and health card into a Clearly store and pick out a free pair of kids’ glasses.
Kids should have a comprehensive eye exam once a year. For children who need a prescription, parents can book an optometrist appointment at Clearly through the online booking tool. Clearly stores have rigorous procedures in place for the safety of all customers as per COVID-19 Protocols.
The launch of Free Glasses for Kids in Clearly retail locations is the first step towards expanding the program nation-wide, moving one step closer towards eradicating poor vision in Canada.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
We are speaking to the 2.2 million Canadians living with uncorrected vision needs. Clearly’s mission is not only to eradicate poor vision, but to educate all Canadians about the importance of eye health and regular eye exams.
The target demographic of the Free Glasses for Kids programs is parents and guardians of children 10 and under in the greater Toronto and Vancouver area. This will soon expand to Calgary when the Clearly Chinook Centre retail location opens in December.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
We offer glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses for purchase as well as optometrist services.
Eyewear is available for purchase online at Clearly.ca, as well as at our retail locations in Vancouver and Toronto. Comprehensive eye exams and other optometrist services are available at all Clearly store locations.
As part of our partnership with Essilor Vision Foundation, Our Mission is also built into our daily operations – through our Buy One, Give One program, for every pair of glasses purchased we donate a pair to someone in need.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
Clearly’s Toronto retail store can be found downtown on Queen Street West (317 Queen St W).
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?
Why are you focusing on children’s eye health?
Nearly 25% of Canadian children experience vision problems that if left untreated lead to slower rates of learning and higher risks of dropping out of school. With visual learning making up 80% of total classroom learning children’s eye health needs to be a critical focus for guardians.
Dr. Justin Asgarpour, Chairperson at the College of Optometrists of BC and a Clearly partner, as well as other optometrists recommend school-aged children should have annual eye exams to ensure optimal vision and development. October is National Children’s Vision Month and Dr. Asgarpour is on a mission to educate Canadian families about the importance of eye health, especially in children.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part of what we do is helping Canadians see the amazing things in their lives. We get wonderful feedback from customers who are so grateful that we provide access to the glasses and contact lenses that allow them to work, explore, and enjoy time with their loved ones. We have found that this has been even more prominent and moving during the unprecedented events of this year.
We are so proud to help Canadians see and live to their full potential, and the biggest challenge we face is trying to reach everyone with uncorrected vision needs. Poor vision goes further than simply not being able to see properly – it leads to socioeconomic obstacles, many of which are not discussed out of fear or shame.
The solution begins with eye health education and providing access to vision correction, which is why we’re so excited about the possibilities that the Free Glasses for Kids program will unlock for children across Canada.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
Where is the eye located? Between the H and the J.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
Peace and Collective is an apparel company based out of Toronto that provides 5 meals to a child in need for every garment sold. We love companies that are constantly looking at ways to do more and give back. We admire the impact and partnerships they have created within Toronto, Canada and beyond.