Shopping Local with Mayfair Optometric Clinic

Mayfair Optometric Clinic is a local optometry clinic with a patient first mentality and a mission that aims to ensure all of their clients live their life with happy eyes. Here, the incredible staff know the importance of community and building relationships with customers in order for their business–and other local businesses in Greater Victoria–to thrive. We sat down with Dr. Stephen Taylor at Mayfair Optometric clinic to learn more about the passion behind his practice.

What do you think is important when considering the local aspect of your business?

“One of the things about thinking local is that in Victoria we have a relationship type of city. So you need to create relationships and have connections. I have the connections between me and my patients and my other staff members. That’s different in Victoria than in many other places.”

Dr. Taylor elaborates that he finds when larger multinational corporations come to Victoria, it doesn’t work as well.

“It doesn’t work to have your head office in Texas–not here. We almost look down on [multinational companies] because they don’t get it. Especially if we have a local company that is absorbed by a larger company that is not local, the first thing we look for is, well what are they going to do to screw it up. So for us, because we’re very much a local business, our purpose is to build those relationships with people.”

Can you tell me a bit about the history of Mayfair Optometric Clinic?

“I grew up here. I was down in the states in Portland in a place called Forest Grove for about 8 or 9 years. I wasn’t planning on coming home, but it just kind of worked out that I came back and I had an opportunity in 1986 to purchase a practice that had the same last name as me, but no relation. I was Downtown in the Sayward building at the corner of Douglas and View street. I took over from Dr. Robert Taylor.”

“Then an opportunity came up in the Mayfair Mall. Back then, Mayfair Mall actually had a business section in it, and there was a second floor…I had my office at the top of the stairs.”

At this point, Dr. Taylor explains, he had his office Downtown and his office at Mayfair at the same time.

“I was [in Mayfair Mall] for about 8 years, and one thing led to another, and we had an opportunity here across the street. It was good, the mall was going through some changes at the time, and so I took the opportunity. I was the Mayfair Optometric Clinic in the mall, but when I moved across the street we trademarked it so that it was mine. And this was kind of the Mayfair area, so hence that’s where the genesis of the Mayfair Optometric Clinic started.”

The move to their location across the street from Mayfair Mall was in 1997.

Over time, as Dr. Taylor worked between his two offices, it became evident that his Mayfair location was where the majority of his patients came as the Downtown core changed. Thus, he sold his Downtown practice around the 2000s when the Mayfair Optometric Clinic became his ultimate primary.

“We provide optometric services and eye care to the Victoria residents and have been doing so for many decades and are looking forward to continuing to do so.”

What does Mayfair Optometric Clinic provide?

“I mean, we’re a primary eye-provider in the province of British Columbia. Period. You’re coming here for your routine eye exams to do with eye health and also the retail side of optometry including contact lenses, glasses, and sunglasses.”

Dr. Taylor explains that the eye health aspect also has to do with what your eyes reveal about your body. You can see diabetes, high blood pressure, and even brain tumors occasionally, so a large part of what the clinic provides is eye health exams.

“And of course, you want people to see clearly, so that’s where the glasses come into it. That’s the practical side to glasses. There’s also the physics or mechanical side, where people are sitting in front of a computer all day and we have to make a set of spectacles for them that are for the computer and reading.”

The pandemic has changed how they tailor glasses to task-specific needs depending on the type of activities a patient does, Dr. Taylor explains.

“We’re very much tailoring to an office or work environment, to what they need. I’ll jokingly tell patients they might have the same prescription as the guy who digs a ditch but the glasses that I prescribe and how I design them are going to be different for him than it is to you when you’re sitting in front of a computer all day.”

What challenges do you face in your business?

“If you’re patient first, customer first, client first–if that’s your premise–you will be successful. But because younger generations are coming up, they do things differently, and that’s where the challenge is.”

Dr. Taylor explains that because the younger generation tends to define relationships in terms of technology, all local businesses have to find ways to create community in different ways, and this is going to be a new challenge.

He also says local businesses in Greater Victoria face challenges because a large part of our population is government workers who are paid regardless of whether local businesses and the local economy are thriving.

“There really isn’t a lot in it for them, to go out and say they’re going to support a local business…so this is our challenge, to be able to do this local thing, it’s about forging those relationships with people.”

What strategies does Mayfair Optometric Clinic use to forge those relationships?

“Personally, what we do is we forge relationships with places like the hospital–we partner with them and BC Transit…we are also out in the community, so every time you turn around you hear our name. Primary sponsor of the Royals, primary sponsor of the Harbourcats. First of all, I love doing that, but second of all, it’s very community based and you get your name out all the time because that’s important.”

“It’s name recognition. So for us, it’s just getting out in the community over and over again, and having my ambassadors out there. Sandy, Mary Lou, Michelle, Mel, all those people who look after our social media or are out in the community.”

“These relationships–it’s what I’m like, and what my wife is like, and what our clinic is like. I mean, I go to work everyday and at the end of the day, it’s like I haven’t gone to work. I get to meet lots of people, and you create relationships with them. Generally, you’re just trying to support all of those that support you. It’s all part of being a community.”

How has the pandemic made a difference in your business?

“The pandemic has certainly made a difference in things. Supply chain issues, and from an eye health standpoint there’s a lot more eye strain because of all the extra work that we’re doing inside. It’s also brought up how shopping local, and thinking local makes a big difference.”

Dr. Taylor explains that because Mayfair Optometric clinic has been lucky to still be able to provide services and be successful during the pandemic, they’ve invested back into the local community.

“If it’s local, we are going local. Within reason, anything that I possibly can get is local. I mean, I get my alcohol from the pharmacy next door, I don't ship it in from somewhere else. Any paper or anything we need is with Island Blue, and we also used Maximum Express Couriers when we were doing deliveries. So we’ve made a really conscious effort to go a little bit further with local and it’s very much been a reciprocal relationship.

“What would’ve happened during the pandemic if we all didn’t have these resources to support each other? I mean, that’s what allowed us to get through. Our local resource, our local people, everybody banding together against one common cause. That’s what it’s all about.”

Can you tell me a little bit about the workplace values that make Mayfair Optometric Clinic successful?

“People who are staff members don’t leave my office. I mean they’ve been here a long, long time. I have an extraordinary crew of people.”

Dr. Taylor explains how many of his staff have been with him for over a decade and are passionate about their work and the team dynamic of Mayfair Optometric Clinic. He’s been fortunate to work with his wife, Mary Lou Newbold, who is the Chief Eyecare Officer, for over three decades who has a shared vision with him and an eye for details.

“She’s out in the community and she’s a force of nature. She just makes it happen.”

What is one of your best memories as a business owner?

“Winning the Victoria Chamber Business of the Year Award…to be nominated, and then to be put into the finalists, and then to win something like that–that means an awful lot because it ain’t rigged. We were all dressed up in tuxedos and formal wear. So that was a really cool evening down at the Empress. It was quite an honour.”

How do you think Mayfair Optometric Clinic positively impacts the community?

“We’re big into community. Myself, the doctors that work with me, and my staff have all been members of the community for many years. We support local sports teams, local social groups, and we really want to become part of the community and have done so and support it. We sponsor the Royals, the Harbourcats baseball team, we help with Our Place and their associated groups to provide eye care to those that don’t have any. There are other smaller groups that we go and sponsor as well, the list goes on and on. Sometimes it's a patient that has a baseball team, or a soccer team. And you know, all of these organizations need support to be able to thrive and move forward, and we get some real stars out of Victoria.”

Dr. Taylor explains that they are also one of the longest running sponsors of the BC Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees. In addition, they regularly review their products to ensure they have something that fits everyone’s budget.

During the pandemic, they also did something unique:

“We went around and purchased a couple thousand dollars in gift certificates to local restaurants. Because we had some supply delays, we would give patients a gift card to a local restaurant when they came to pick up their glasses.”

Related to community, when asked about any favourite stories, Dr. Taylor said:

“What makes me feel good and makes me know that we’re doing our job right is when I go to places and somebody comes up and says, ‘I know who you are.’ We go to a Royals game or a Harbourcats game, they come up and thank us for our support. Or a small local sports team that comes by with a picture of things that we’ve done. It makes us feel good, it’s mission accomplished.”

If someone had never heard of Mayfair Optometric Clinic before, what is one thing you wish you could tell them?

“Comprehensive, inclusive, community, quality. People go to a doctor’s office expecting a high level of care, and you’re going to get it if you come to the Mayfair Optometric Clinic, I mean that almost goes without saying. It’s just more than that though. We are a local business and we provide services to the community, and we are a part of the community, and we would like to proceed with that. We would like to be the place to go for individuals to come in for their care and to know that they are supporting everything locally. We’re not affiliated with anybody else other than just the community of Victoria.”

Is there any special ingredient to keeping Mayfair Optometric Clinic as successful as it is?

“That’s easy. What makes our clinic great is our staff. We have great doctors, we have great staff, and I’ve had staff with me over a decade. They don’t leave. They enjoy working with us. It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding work, and they love to work with us. Those staff create relationships with patients and clients over the years, and they become good friends. You see it everyday. That’s a very big thing.”


Helping Ukrainian refugees with eye wear

Mayfair eye clinic gearing up to help refugees

Mayfair Optometric Clinic, in partnership with Essilor Canada and the Essilor Vision Foundation, is donating lenses, lab work and eyewear products to help Ukrainian refugees who are expected to arrive in Victoria in late April.

“We are happy to have Essilor Canada on board to help us take care of the incoming Ukrainian refugees with free glasses and repairs as needed,” said Mary Lou Newbold, Mayfair Optometric Clinic chief executive.

“Ukrainians continue to flee their cities and towns for safety from the conflict with only what they can carry. If they have left behind eye wear or need repairs after their journey to Victoria, we, along with Essilor Canada, want to step up and provide that for them.”

The Essilor Vision Foundation Canada (EVFC) was inaugurated in 2015 as the charitable arm of Essilor Canada, with the objective to help create access to vision care for the most vulnerable and underserved populations in Canada. Working with partners throughout the optical and vision care industry, EVFC engages in projects that aim to eliminate barriers to accessing comprehensive eye care and vision correction in underserved communities to fulfill Essilor’s corporate mission to help Canadians see more, be more, and live life to its fullest.

Choosing new glasses can be overwhelming

By Dr. Stephen Taylor, Optometrist

Question: I find the process of choosing new glasses quite overwhelming as there are so many options. Are you able to recommend specific shapes and styles that would work with my features?

Answer: Excellent question! We have a spectacular group of dispensers at our clinic with years of experience fitting patients into the right set of glasses. These professionals keep in mind face shape and size when choosing frame styles. If you feel overwhelmed, they can pick a selection of frames for you to try.

If you would like new glasses (or your Optometrist recommends

them after an exam) you will be introduced to a dispenser who can help you with this process. Sitting down with a dispenser is helpful

to explain your needs and personal style regarding the lens types and frames, compared to online ordering. It is also useful to establish

a comfortable price range with your dispenser, so they have further direction regarding what options to provide. From there, the try- on process begins. Once a frame is chosen, the topic will move to

lenses. A variety of additions can be made to your lenses such as transitions, blue light blockers, and reading power. The dispenser will then take a few measurements such as the distance between

your eyes, so the lenses sit correctly in your new frame. After this,

the hard work is done! The dispenser will put the order in and before you know it, you will have a new pair of glasses that is right for you.

Prescription sunglasses, are they worth it?

By Dr. Stephen Taylor, Optometrist

Question: My friend has been raving about her prescription sunglasses. Are they worth it?

Answer: There are many positives to the pair of sunglasses your friend has. To start, wearing sunglasses is the best way to protect your eyes when outdoors or around town, even when it is not a particularly sunny day. We often think about protecting our skin using sunscreen from ultraviolet (UV) rays, but preserving the health of the eyes is equally as important. Polarized lenses provide 100% UV protection and reduce light glare (by specifically blocking out reflected light). Patients often prefer polarized lenses for driving purposes, outdoor activities, winter events, and water sports. Having prescription sunglasses allows for the best vision and can aid your visual comfort. Doing things such as driving, watching your footing on a hike, or reading a menu at a patio restaurant are made easier when your personalized prescription is in your pair of sunglasses.

Customizing the sunglasses further can come in the forms of anti- scratch coating, lens tints, and more. Some patients may also prefer the benefits of fit-over sunglasses. The name says it all, these larger frames fit over your regular prescription glasses, and provide ample UV protection in all areas, making them ideal for driving. Altogether, an important thing to remember is that UV rays are not just a risk in the summertime when the sun is out. Therefore, finding the right pair of protective sunglasses for all seasons is an excellent idea!

I woke up with a very red and swollen eye, what should I do?

By Dr. Stephen Taylor, Optometrist

Question: I woke up with a very red and swollen eye. It feels like something is in it and is causing me great discomfort. Is it better for me to go to the emergency room or call my Optometrist?

Answer: Like any other injury, sudden eye issues are unfortunately bound to happen sometimes. The first step to take would be contacting your Optometrist’s office and describing your symptoms. From there, they will determine what the best course of action is for you, whether it is coming in for an emergency appointment, a phone consultation, or heading to the hospital’s emergency room. If you do not have an Optometrist, call a nearby clinic anyway and they may be able to assist you immediately or point you in the right direction of care. Seeking help from your general practitioner or a walk-in clinic are options as well. Please have as much information ready as possible (such as symptoms, location, onset, duration, and severity) to provide, as the more they know the better they will be able to help. If you have the ability, being able to send a picture of your eye to your clinic is also helpful.

While waiting for directions or assistance, try to avoid further irritating the area. Often keeping the eye closed or sitting in a dark room can help while waiting. Check with a medical professional before using any medicated eye drops (prescription or over the counter), as some may make the condition worse.

Finding the Right Contact Lens for You

By Dr. Stephen Taylor, Optometrist

Question: I have never worn contact lenses before, but would like to wear them when I am exercising. How do I go about finding the right ones for me?

Answer: Contact lenses are an excellent option for those who requirea prescription, but cannot or do not want to wear glasses. There are many factors that go into a contact lens prescription that make it different than a glasses prescription. The first and most important step is findinga contact lens that fits the eye well. Your Optometrist will take measurements of the front curve of your eye, and then selecta lens to assess whether it fits properly. Afterwards, the power of the prescription will be checked to get you your best vision.

After the proper lens is selected, you will need to undergoa fitting and training session to ensure safe handling of the lens. Proper cleaning and care protocols will also be discussed. For some people, the task of inserting a lens into your eye can be challenging at first, but our team can help make it the easiest and safest experience possible. After the initial fit and training, often a trial pair of lenses will be used to ensure the vision meets your day to day demands. Finally a subsequent visit is set up to ensure everything is meeting expectations, the fit is good and the eye healthy after wearing the lens. If everything looks good, then you’re now a contact lens wearer!


At Mayfair Optometric Clinic we provide a welcoming environment for patients to receive eye exams and pick out the perfect eyewear that works for each individual. Please give us a call to book your appointment with Dr. Peddle, Dr. Genereux, or myself.

Choosing New Glasses, Don't get Overwhelmed

By Dr. Stephen Taylor, Optometrist

Question: I find the process of choosing new glasses quite overwhelming, can you make this process easier?

Answer: Excellent question! Although options for lenses and frames allow for customization like never before, it can also make the process daunting. Our dispensers have years of experience and are up to date on all the latest technologies to ease the process.

While most people think of “frames” when they think about glasses, there are three aspects which are all important: lens design, frame, and fitting. The type of lens that best matches your visual requirements will come from a discussion with your doctor. After the type of lens is recommended, there are specific designs to further personalize them to your individual needs and budget. Lens coatings will also likely be discussed to further improve your vision and eye comfort. Afterwards, it’s time to pick out a frame that looks great! The dispenser will help pick out a frame that highlights facial features and matches your style. Finally, they will ensure that your frame is adjusted and fitting right. Even the best prescription and lens design won’t work if the frame isn’t correctly fit and adjusted properly. After the lens and frames are selected, the dispenser will put the order in and a new personalized pair of glasses will be ready before you know it!

I'm having headaches and difficulty focusing.

By Dr. Stephen Taylor

Question: I transitioned to working from home in the past year and have started having headaches and difficulty focusing. Is there any way to improve this?

Answer: : As more people have spent more time in front of the computer we have seen a marked increase in patients experiencing digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome. People commonly experience symptoms such as eyestrain, watering eyes, blurred vision, dry eyes, headaches, and redness. These are often due to a combination of uncorrected prescriptions, poor lighting, glare, improper viewing distance, and poor posture.

The first step in minimizing eye strain is a comprehensive eye examination to determine the exact causes so they can be addressed. If appropriate, glasses will be recommended to correct any refractive error (prescription) as the first step. There are even glasses that are specifically designed for computer use and those can be matched to your personal workstation. Lenses can be further customized with specialized coatings to further improve your vision or aid in your visual comfort.

Additionally, there may be recommendations for the improvement of your eye health, including different options for the management of dry eye, which is often associated with eye strain. Finally, there are environmental adjustments that can be made such as screen settings, workspace set up, lighting, and general ergonomics.

Your Optometrist will be happy to review all of these topics as part of your examination.

Questions about glaucoma

By Dr. Stephen Taylor, Optometrist

Question: My mother was just diagnosed with glaucoma and I am worried I could develop it too. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Answer: Glaucoma involves damage to the optic nerve,
which can lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Unfortunately, once the nerve has been damaged it cannot be repaired. Fortunately, with early detection, we are now very good at preventing damage in the first place. Glaucoma has been called “The Silent Thief of Sight” because there can be no other symptoms, and by the time someone notices vision loss, there is already significant damage to the nerve. The first step in preventing any impact from glaucoma is early detection. At a routine eye examination, your eye doctor can assess many risk factors. These factors include things such as family history, eye pressure, thickness of the front of the eye, and nerve structure, among many others. If glaucoma is suspected, or if enough risk factors are found to determine nerve damage might occur without intervention, then treatment or referral will be recommended. There are many treatment options to lower the risk of nerve damage, although most work by lowering the pressure inside the eye. Early detection is key to minimizing damage and having a routine comprehensive eye examination is the best way to ensure your eyes stay healthy.