I had laser surgery a few months ago. Do I still need to get my eyes checked regularly?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I had laser surgery a few months ago. Do I still need to get my eyes checked regularly?

Answer: Yes! It is very important to receive routine eye examinations after laser eye surgery.

Laser vision correction reduces the need for visual aids by eliminating the common prescriptions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  However, it does not cure or correct anything to do with the health of the eye. Glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other health risks are generally only able to be detected and managed through specific testing during eye exams. Most diseases of the eye are much easier to treat with early detection, hence the importance of regular routine eye examinations.

Although the goal of laser vision correction is to reduce the dependency on visual aids, as we age there will often be a need for glasses for specific tasks, such as reading, computer use, or night driving.

Your surgeon will have instructions for post-operative care, which usually includes multiple visits to your Optometrist to assess the healing over the course of the first year. After that, routine eye examinations are usually recommended every year or two depending on age and any risk factors for other diseases.

I have a difficult time seeing road signs when driving at night.

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I have a difficult time seeing road signs when driving at night. Can I fix this?

Answer: Road signs and hazards are hard to spot at night in general but if you feel like you are having additional trouble then a visit to your Optometrist is recommended. Many mild symptoms people notice during the day are much more pronounced during the night, or when its raining. Usually things are made worse because light is limited, and your pupil is larger than during the day, exacerbating any small issue to begin with. There are multiple underlying causes that can range from an uncorrected prescription to something like cataracts. Finding out the cause of worsened vision is the first step to fixing it.

One of the most common causes for poor vision is an uncorrected prescription. Commonly this is from near-sightedness (myopia) or astigmatism. Both of these will cause overall blur, making signs harder to see, as well as halos which worsen oncoming headlights. Astigmatism in particular will cause starbursts and streaks around lights. Luckily, this is easily fixed with a pair of glasses. There are even specific lens designs for driving or night driving! If the cause of the difficulties is another condition your optometrist will treat it based on the cause, or refer you if surgery is required.

Night driving is a fact of living in Canada, much as driving in the rain is a fact of living in Victoria. Luckily, there are ways to lessen the visual burden, so you can enjoy the season!

My eyes have been very scratchy and red recently

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My eyes have been very scratchy and red recently, and it often feels like there is something in them. My friend thinks that it is dry eye. What is dry eye and how do I treat it?

Answer: Those symptoms among others including irritation, fluctuations in vision, and tired feeling eyes, are all very common with dry eye. Dry eye can be caused by many things. A visit to your Optometrist would be the first step to determine what type of dry eye you have, which will ultimately determine the best treatment course for you. Often this will include the use of artificial tears, warm compresses, and a discussion about how your environment can affect your dry eye. Further recommendations may be made based on your personalized treatment plan.

One of the biggest offenders in dry eye is our increased reliance on electronic devices. When we stare at them for hours at a time there is a tendency to blink less. This causes the tears on the eye to evaporate more readily and worsens the dry eye. An up to date glasses prescription can help reduce strain, along with following the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break from working on a computer screen, looking at something at least 20 feet away. Finally, if you often look back and forth between a monitor and desktop at your workstation, try positioning your screen at arm’s length away from you and 15 to 20 degrees below eye level.

How do I get fitted for contact lenses?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: I am getting married in a few months and do not want to wear my glasses. How do I get fitted for contact lenses?

Answer: Contact lenses are a great alternative for special events, especially when lots of photos are being taken. Many people want to see their happy eyes on their big day and not their glasses!

As contact lenses are considered a medical device, a comprehensive eye exam must be done within the past year before obtaining a contact lens prescription. The reasoning behind this is to ensure that your prescription is as up-to-date as possible, as well as ensure the contact is fitting properly and is healthy for your eye. Furthermore, because of the shape and size of the lenses, as well as the fact that they sit directly on the eye, a contact lens prescription is not the same as a glasses prescription. A fitting appointment will be scheduled to discuss your prescription, along with the pros and cons of different types of contacts. In your case, disposable daily lenses may be the way to go if you are only wearing them occasionally. You will be trained to safely handle, care for, and clean the lenses. You will leave the fitting appointment with a pair of trial lenses, and most likely a date to return roughly a week later to see how they are working before an order is placed. If no changes need to be made, an order can be placed for you to have a contact lens supply in time for your big day!

When should my child have an eye exam?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: When should my child have an eye exam? They are going into elementary school this year and I would like to ensure that they do not have any vision problems.

Answer: Excellent question! Given that up to 80% of a child’s learning is through vision, having a comprehensive eye examination for your child is very important. The visual system is very complex, and typical vision screenings can miss at least 50% of vision problems. Nearly one in ten children have a vision problem significant enough to impact learning.

A comprehensive eye examination can help your child see their best and most comfortable both at school and during extracurricular activities. At their appointment many parts of the visual system are assessed to see if there are any issues with how the eyes are focusing, working together, tracking, developing, or any visual processing or ocular health issues. If any abnormalities are found then appropriate treatment options will be recommended. If this includes glasses or contacts, our dispensing team will help to assess what frames and lenses would work best. Having an exam before going back to school in September is a good idea to make sure everything is up to date.

We recommend children have their first eye examination before they’re one year old for a general assessment, and then every year once they reach the age of three.

Do the photochromatic lenses in my everyday glasses have the same effect as sunglasses?

Dr Stephen Taylor










Answer: Photochromic lenses (commonly known as Transitions ™) are a great option for adding convenience and comfort to your prescription lenses. Photochromatic lenses use a proprietary UV sensitive technology that allows them to remain clear inside yet tint darker when outside in the sun. The difference between photochromatic lenses and sunglasses is that photochromatic lenses change between tinted and not, whereas sunglasses stay tinted all the time. The biggest health advantage to photochromatic lenses is that they are UV blocking, although most people like them for the convenience of having one pair of glasses that darken and lighten automatically when they go in and outdoors.

There are still advantages to having prescription sunglasses, as most often the prescription sunglasses will provide more protection for the eye. Most standard frames are designed to ensure you have a wide field of view and good vision, but are not focused on protection from UV light. Sunglass frames are generally larger to cover a greater area, as well as often curved to further protect and minimize exposure from UV light that would otherwise enter from the sides of the frames.

There are advantages to both photochromatic lenses and prescription sunglasses, with many factors such as comfort, convenience, fashion, and visual demands that should be considered when making a decision for one, or both options.


Eyes Are Red and Itching. What Can I Do?

Dr Stephen Taylor

Question: My allergies have been worse this year, and now my eyes are red and itching. What can I do?

Answer: This year has been a tough year for allergies, and part of living on the beautiful west coast is that allergy season starts earlier here than anywhere else in Canada. Luckily, there are many options for the treatment of allergies, and ocular allergies. The vast majority of people that experience seasonal allergies also experience ocular allergies. Some people may only experience allergies in their eyes. The first step is to visit your Optometrist to determine the cause of your symptoms, and many of them including redness and irritation can have multiple causes. Your Optometrist can ensure the proper cause so the right condition is being treated. Based on your examination and the severity of symptoms an appropriate management plan will be discussed. This may include different types of prescription drops, over the counter medications, or lifestyle changes. There are even contact lenses that can be worn that both treat your allergies, as well as correct for your prescription!

Although allergies are a part of life, there are many ways to make sure that you and your eyes are feeling the best they can.

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.