16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
I have been in practice as an optometrist for 5 years; I have worked in a corporate optical chain as a self employed doctor and now run my own private practice. Multiple times per week, we have issues with third party sellers of contact lenses. The most common issue that occurs is the sale of contact lenses to a patient on a prescription that is expired. Sometimes the Rx has expired within the past week, but it isn't uncommon to find a Rx that has been expired for multiple months being filled by many unscrupulous online retailers. We have also experienced patients buying lenses online with prescriptions that were never verified with our office. The worst case of non-verification that I have encountered was an incident where a patient received their contact lens order via mail while the verification fax for that patient's prescription didn't come to our office until 2 days after the order had been delivered to the patient. The way we found out about this case was the patient had to come into our office because of a contact lens related problem and brought her purchased boxes with her. Unfortunately, these sellers do not care about patient safety or prescription accuracy for that matter as their efforts, or lack there of, show. Contact lenses are incredibly safe when used as directed under the care of a licensed eye care professional; yet, most patients are still non compliant even under careful supervision. Online retailers only increase the magnitude of non compliance many times over through unscrupulous and borderline unethical practices. Patient safety and education should always be the goal of any responsible seller of such a medical device. Unfortunately these companies only have their eyes on the bottom line.