Charles Kennedy Responds to Optometry Scotland

The Rt Hon Charles Kennedy MP has responded to a letter from Optometry Scotland regarding the ‘Give me My Pupillary Distance’ campaign. The Liberal Democrat MP for Ross, Skye and Inverness West has confirmed that he has not given his support to a campaign run by an online designer glasses retailer.

Charles Kennedy comments “As the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, I am sure you will appreciate that my first duty is to serve my constituents and to support them in making sure their views, where reasonable, are heard. A short time ago I met with a constituent at one of my regular surgeries who requested that I support him in making the Government aware of the ‘Give me My Pupillary Distance’ campaign. My constituent presented a detailed argument, suggesting consumers looking in to buy corrective eyewear are unfairly restricted by not being provided with their Pupillary Distance. As such, I agreed to forward details of his campaign to relevant Ministers within the Government.

It was not my intention to take any further action. Rather, I wished only to ensure my constituent’s views were heard at the appropriate level. I should note that the press release issued by my constituent and published in Optician’s Magazine was not authorised by my office and presents my comments on the matter out of their original context.

I am a strong supporter of consumer choice and while the internet is not always a suitable sales medium, it has shown many times that it is able to adapt and evolve to successfully provide services previously thought to be the only available through conventional channels. Equally – and I say this as a grateful customer myself – there is everything to be said for local, independent opticians.”

This response has been welcomed by Optometry Scotland, the non profit making representative body for optometrists and dispensing opticians in Scotland.

Optometry Scotland Chairman, Gill Syme, comments; “We are delighted that Charles Kennedy has made his position clear on this subject and hope that this clarifies the situation for anyone thinking about buying prescription glasses online.

The pupillary distance is just one of a number of important measurements which need to be taken by a dispensing optician in order to provide an accurate prescription to the patient.

In the worst case scenario a patient could end up buying glasses with the wrong prescription, resulting in further deterioration of the eye. Patient eye care must come first and by going to a professional this will ensure patients are receiving the very best service available.”


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Contact: Gavin Nicholson
Phone: 0131 557 8885