California Supreme Court Ruling on Stanton Optical Expansion

A California law, dating back to 1969, prohibits opticians who sell eyeglasses from hiring or leasing space to independent eye exam doctors. The current law states that only optometrists or ophthalmologists are allowed to set up their own practice to sell eyeglasses and give eye exams under the same roof. So retail optical stores, such as Stanton Optical, are not allowed to have an optometrist working for them at any of their California based stores.

Luxottica Group, one of the world’s largest eyeglass manufacturers. Luxottica Group, along with the National Association of Optometrists & Opticians and Highmark Eye Care Centers of America recently signed a petition to have the case, National Association of Optometrists and Opticians vs Harris, re-examined by the U.S. Supreme Court.  On February 19th, 2013 the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based out of San Francisco, rejected the plaintiffs appeal, leaving the California law as it stands.

This ruling by the California Supreme Court doesn’t bode well for retail optical stores trying to do business in the State of California. Stanton Optical operates 7 California-based stores in Fair Oaks, Bakersfield, Fresno, Roseville, Visalia, Modesto and Sacramento. Stanton Optical, under our Eye Lab business model, had plans to open over 20 new stores in the California market.

After learning of the recent ruling Stanton Optical corporate headquarters decided to back off their plans for continued Eye Lab expansion in California. The court ruling is already affecting the economy as the planned expansion for Stanton Optical store openings would have created over 300 new jobs.

Court Ruling Results in Higher Costs for Consumers

This court ruling makes it more expensive for consumers in CA to get prescription eyewear. Did you know that the average consumer will spend up to 4 times the amount at a private health care practice versus getting their eyeglasses at a retail store?

Stanton Optical founder Daniel Stanton mentions: “The irony is that the board states that it is better for the consumer to be seen by an independent optometrist because an employed optometrist may be persuaded to prescribe items that are not necessary.  However, who benefits the most? The chain that employs the doctor, or the independent doctors themselves that own both the eyeglasses dispensary & the eye examination side of the business? Of course the doctor that both gives the exams and sells the eyeglasses benefits the most as they’re able to make money on what they’re prescribing in terms of both material & services.”

Get Eye Exams and Eyeglasses at Stanton Optical

An optometrist can give you a comprehensive eye exam so you know your exact eyeglass prescription before ordering your new pair of glasses. Stanton Optical offers 2 pairs of eyeglasses, starting from $69, plus a credit for the cost of an eye exam at each of our stores.

What do you think of this ruling? Leave us a comment about this article.