Ever get glasses before? Yeah, you’d know that you need to have a prescription before your local optometrist will fork over those contacts or your Gucci eye-wear.
How does this system work in Taiwan? It doesn’t.
Unlike the healthcare system in the US where many prescribing doctors are sued for random things, in Taiwan, the healthcare insurances is actually covered by the national government. Of course, it ain’t entirely free, but you have to pay a sum each year for the insurance. That’s another story for another time.
Anyways, back to glasses. So you run off to your local Costco or optometrist or whatever, asking for prescription glasses or contacts. Chances are, if they are legitimate, they will ask you for your prescription note and the contact details to the prescribing doctor. While that system stands in the US and Canada, in contrast, Taiwan’s system is much more “free”.
By “free”, I mean, you can go to any random eye glasses store and ask the store clerk to fix you up a batch of contacts to whatever prescription you ask for or a pair of glasses (of course you’d have to wait the few days for them to make it). As long as you bring the cash, you can pretty much walk in and walk out with the goods.
Remarkably simple. In that aspect, one might consider why is the government so lenient whereas advanced countries would have this on a tight leash? The answer’s really not rocket science. Look around. Almost a majority of Taiwanese people have some sort of prescription eyewear. Yes, it’s racist to assume Asians all wear glasses or contacts, but that’s actually quite a true stereotype. While there are 20/20 people out there, the numbers are so far and few that it wouldn’t make sense to bring such a hassle to the 90% of the population that needs glasses. Thus, it’s no wonder that Taiwan does not have laws limiting the sale of prescription eyewear to civilians.