State Question 793: Allow Optometrists & Opticians to Operate in Retail Stores

UPDATED 9/10/18

State Question 793 will be on the ballot on November 6, 2018. Download this fact sheet as a PDF or download all five State Questions as a single PDF. Visit our 2018 State Questions and Elections page for more information on Oklahoma ballot measures and elections. 

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The Gist
Background Information
Supporters Say…  
Opponents Say… 
Ballot Language 
More about State Question 793

[pullquote]State Question 793 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to allow optometrists and opticians to operate within retail establishments.[/pullquote]

The Gist

State Question 793 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to allow optometrists and opticians to operate within retail establishments.

It would also prohibit the Legislature from enacting laws that discriminate against optometrists and opticians based on where they practice, or laws infringing the ability of eye clinics located in retail establishments to sell prescribed optometry goods and services.

SQ 793 would allow the Legislature to prevent optometrists from performing surgery (laser or otherwise) in eye clinics located in retail establishments, and it would allow the Legislature to limit the number of locations in which a single optometrist may practice. It would allow optometrists & opticians working in retail establishments to limit their scope of practice.

It would also allow the Legislature to maintain optometry licenses, require eye clinics to be in a separate room in retail establishments, and impose health and safety standards.

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Background Information

State law currently bans eye clinics from operating inside retail establishments. If SQ 793 passes, Oklahoma would join 47 other states in allowing glasses to be sold in stores like Wal-Mart and Cotsco, and 34 other states in allowing an optometrist’s clinic to be located within and considered part of a retail establishment.

Advocacy groups in favor of changing the law have attempted to change the law through the legislative process in previous years but have been unsuccessful.

Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom, the group that filed the initiative petition to put SQ 793 on the ballot, gathered more than 255,000 signatures, substantially more than the 123,725 necessary.

The state Supreme Court threw out a challenge from the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians asserting that the measure violated Oklahoma’s single-subject rule.

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Supporters say…

Being able to visit the optometrist where Oklahomans do the rest of their shopping will lead to more choices and convenience for consumers.
Increasing competition will drive prices down, which is good for consumers.
Forty-seven other states allow for retail optometry. Oklahoma is limiting business opportunities by not allowing it.

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Opponents say…

Smaller, independent optometrists will be driven out of the market. With their competition gone, this will leave big-box retailers free to raise their prices.
Allowing large chain retailers to limit what services optometrists provide will result in substandard patient care.
Putting retail optometry in the Oklahoma Constitution will limit the Legislature’s ability to make changes if there are unanticipated consequences.

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Ballot Language

This measure adds a new Section 3 to Article 20 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Under the new Section, no law shall infringe on optometrists’ or opticians’ ability to practice within a retail mercantile establishment, discriminate against optometrists or opticians based on the location of their practice, or require external entrances for optometric offices within retail mercantile establishments. No law shall infringe on retail mercantile establishments’ ability to sell prescription optical goods and services.

The Section allows the Legislature to restrict optometrists from performing surgeries within retail mercantile establishments, limit the number of locations at which an optometrist may practice, maintain optometric licensing requirements, require optometric offices to be in a separate room of a retail establishment, and impose health and safety standards. It does not prohibit optometrists and opticians from agreeing with retail mercantile establishments to limit their practice. Laws conflicting with this section are void.

The Section defines ‘laws,’ ‘optometrist,’ ‘optician,’ ‘optical goods and services,’ and ‘retail mercantile establishment.” 

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More about State Question 793

  • 2018 Fact Sheet: SQ 793 (PDF) [OK Policy]
  • Social media graphic with supporting and opposing arguments [OK Policy]
  • SQ 793 documents [Secretary of State]
  • Guest post in support of SQ 793 by John Kusel [OK Policy]
  • Guest post in opposition of SQ 793 by Joel Robison [OK Policy]
  • Oklahoma State Question 793, Right of Optometrists and Opticians to Practice in Retail Establishments Initiative (2018) [Ballotpedia]
  • Yes On 793 PAC website [Yes On 793]
  • Oklahomans Against SQ 793 PAC website [No 793]
  • Vision care at Walmart? Voters could soon decide whether to expand where optometrists can practice [Tulsa World]
  • Video: SQ 793, on Vision Care and Eyeglasses [Oklahoma Watch]

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Visit our 2018 State Questions and Elections page for more information on Oklahoma ballot measures and elections. Download this fact sheet as a PDF or download all five State Questions as a single PDF.


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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