Optometrists speaking out against state question that allows eye care facilities inside large retailers in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY - A state question that would allow for eye care facilities inside large retailers, like Walmart and Target, has been filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State's office, and many optometrists are speaking out in opposition.

On Thursday, 'Yes on 793' turned in over 250,00 signatures to the Oklahoma Secretary of State in support of adding State Question 793 to the November ballot, which supporters said will give Oklahoma patients the power to modernize state optical laws and expand their eye care options.

"We make a big difference in kids' lives every day, and that's very rewarding to take care of patients and people," said Dr. Selina McGee, a local optometrist.

McGee said that's why she loves being an optometrist. However, she's worried State Question 793 would dramatically change the profession in Oklahoma.

"State Question 793 is really about corporate managed eye care and healthcare," she said.

Currently, 47 other states already have eye care facilities inside retailers like Walmart and Target.

McGee said SQ 793 poses some big red flags.

"If this passes, if you go to this clinic, the corporation can dictate what happens inside of that exam room," she said. "So, it's not about the patient."

Instead of being owned and run by the doctor, the person doing your exam will answer to the corporation, like Walmart.

Supporters said this would save consumers big bucks.

"In our eye care offices, we provide full comprehensive eye exams by quality doctors," said Tim Tippit, the chairman of Yes on 793. "These are ODs that have graduated from Ohio State, from Ferris State and other world known schools of optometry."

Supporters said people who've left Oklahoma and visited one of these offices have saved several hundred dollars on exams, glasses and lenses.

"This law will give patients more access, more affordability and more choices," Tippit said.

However, those in opposition feel it's about corporate profit and not the patient.

"That is not good for any person, to be a part of healthcare systems that are managed by someone that is basically adding dollars to their bottom line," McGee said.