By Denis Langlois

Canadians are among the most engaged Internet users in the world, according to a 2017 report by the Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

A whopping 90 per cent of Canadians use the world wide web regularly and nearly three-quarters of Canadians spend at least three to four hours online each day .

While desktop computers are still the most popular way to access the Net, the use of mobile devices to browse the web has more than doubled since 2013, from 32 to 67 per cent.

About 91 per cent of the Canadians who are online spend time checking or responding to e-mail, while half of Canadian Internet users spend their time shopping online.

The CIRA report says 81 per cent of Canadians have purchased something online within the last 12 months. Clothing and other apparel, like eyewear, are the most commonly purchased items by Canadian consumers on the Internet.

With Internet use continuing to rise, eyewear and eyecare companies are always working to improve and expand their offerings online and find new ways to engage with and educate ECPs and consumers on the Net.

Here are some examples of the newest ways that optical companies are using this digital advantage.


As part of its Light Under Control campaign, Transitions Optical has partnered with Snapchat to create an interactive augmented reality try-on experience.

The Snapchat lens allows users to see themselves in different eyeglass frame styles, in fun indoor and outdoor environments and watch the lenses darken as the scenes go to daytime outdoor settings.

Users can find the Transitions lens experience in the Snapchat app.

“The new Light Under Control campaign is all about encouraging patients to embrace their personal sense of style with Transitions lenses and incorporate this technology into their lifestyle,” says Patience Cook, director North America marketing, Transitions Optical. “The Snapchat lens will help people see that everyday eye care can be hassle-free, smart and stylish.”

The new Transitions Light Under Control campaign aims to bolster the company’s efforts to attract new wearers and recruit a younger generation of eyeglass wearers to the photochromic lens category.

The Transitions lens experience will be available through the custom Snapcode until mid-October.


Johnson & Johnson Vision has launched in Canada JNJVISIONPRO.CA, a bilingual digital platform that delivers online learning, patient education materials, practice resources and connected commerce – all aimed at streamlining and simplifying the online experience for thousands of eye care professionals.

The digital platform is a single destination, offering in-office support for ECPs in managing the diverse needs of their practices, including:

  • Product Ordering: Users can use the connected commerce site to order ACUVUE Brand contact lenses and request shipping directly to patients;
  • Online Learning: The digital platform offers educational opportunities to each user based on the user’s role, whether a doctor or paraprofessional;
  • Patient Resources: Instructional videos and other downloadable educational materials can be shared directly with patients. E-mail resources also offer flexibility for a practice to communicate with their patients as needed;
  • Practice Resources: World-class marketing materials are available via ACUVUE Library, along with tools for making a practice’s information easily findable online.


Blackfin Airstream Clients is a new app for opticians that are Blackfin clients.

Available for both Android and iOS, the app has been designed to improve the way of working  with and selling Blackfin products.

The interactive system consists of two sections – one for opticians and another to share with patients.

Users can browse the Blackfin eyewear catalogue, watch the latest videos and find out about the latest brand news.

Orders can be managed by entering specific details for personalising the product.

The Blackfin Academy section contains brief snippets of information to keep opticians constantly updated and informed about themes, ranging from the brand identity to company ethics, from technical specifications to sales advice.

A version of the app will also be available for opticians served by Blackfin distributors to enable indirect sales markets to be reached.

“We really wanted this app in order to ensure our image remains both unique and consistent. All our partner opticians can now have easy direct access to all Blackfin tools and information thus enabling us to bond even more closely with them and also keep them updated in real time,” says Blackfin CEO Nicola Del Din.

The app is available at


Calgary-based FYIdoctors has launched a new online store,, a fully-integrated extension of its eye-clinic experience.

Patients of FYidoctors can access their prescriptions through the store’s integrated patient portal, allowing them to order a new pair of prescription glasses or reorder their contact lenses.

The online store will also enable Canadians to try on frames with its virtual application.

“I am extremely proud to launch an e-commerce platform that meets the needs of the consumer, and protects them through strong Rx, or prescription, verification methodologies. An integrated e-commerce solution, which is an extension of our optometrist led-care, provides a real opportunity to engage with our patients in-between examinations,” says FYIdoctors founder and CEO Dr. Alan Ulsifer.


Academics have created a new virtual reality tool that allows medical students to replicate eye examinations and learn first-hand how to diagnose hard-to-spot conditions which may otherwise go unnoticed.

The new app, developed at Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom, uses a mobile phone and a virtual reality headset to show enhanced, close-up and moveable images of an eye’s interior to allow users to learn how to perform the correct diagnostic procedures when performing routine eye examinations.

Eye examinations are one of the early methods used to diagnose underlying conditions such as haemorrhages, diabetes or raised intracranial pressure. They require a doctor to shine a light directly into the eyes of a patient to look for irregularities in blood vessels or tissue in the back of the eye.

It can be difficult for trainees to find patients with the right ailments for practice examinations, making it hard to learn what key indicators of health issues look like. Examinations over longer periods can also cause discomfort for patients.

The new virtual reality system will eliminate these issues and allow doctors to use a mobile phone and virtual reality headset to view an array of conditions, spend time over their diagnoses and test themselves on which conditions are present.

It also provides the opportunity to use moving images and 360 views which replicate the conditions of a real-world examination instead of still photographs.

“By creating this system, we can give trainee doctors as much time as they need to familiarise themselves with how to perform the appropriate systematic processes, identify which signs indicate conditions like diabetes or raised intracranial pressure, and eliminate the need for stand-in patients,” says Dr. Andrew Wilson, associate professor at Birmingham City University.