16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
I am a 4th year optometry student who works at the Atwater Eye Care center in bloomington, IN. I see contact lens patients every day that report having been able to reorder multiple years worth of contact lenses despite our prescriptions stating the number of boxes allowed. Online companies are undermining the health and safety of patients by allowing them and encouraging them to order lenses without proper contact lens evaluation. Two weeks ago a patient came in who had not been seen at the clinic for 4 years, and she stated she did not seem eye care anywhere else. She stated that 1800 contacts sent her reminders to order a years supply of acuvue oasys lenses 3 times, resulting in her getting multiple years worth from the same prescription. She returned to the clinic with significant corneal complications that should have been found years ago if she had returned for her annual evalution. I have worked at a private practice in greenwood, in, and it was common to come in to the office on a Monday morning and find faxes for contact lens confirmations that were sent on Saturday afternoons at 2 or 3 pm. Our office closed at noon on Saturday. Additionally, confirmations were frequntly for the wrong type of lens or incorrect parameters. Patients have told me that 1800 contacts has contacted them about decreased prices for a different type of lens than prescribed if they have the same parameters. This is unacceptable. Lenses are carefully selected for patients based on their needs and lens fit. One brand is not interchangeable for another. A patient who is told they can sleep in their air optic night and day who is offered a lower cost on a lower dk lens does not understand the difference between the materials, only the price. This is where abuse and borderline criminality comes in on the part of these online companies. Their actions are appalling, and ask any optometrist or ophthalmologist without an interest in these companies and they will agree enthusiastically that their practices cause more harm than good. I have no issue with buying lenses online as long as the companies are accountable for their actions and they actually have the interest of the patient in mind rather than their bottom line.