16 CFR Part 456 ; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request Ophthalmic Practice Rule (Eyeglass Rule): FTC Project No. R511996
As a provider I have encountered patients who do not return annually for their eye exam as contact lens wearers. Often their eyes are showing damage from improper use of contact lenses. When I ask how they are receiving contacts after so many years most respond with, "I just bought them online." When I check the boxes many times the prescription is nothing I prescribed. The patient tells me they just increased the number when they thought it was blurry. Others were wearing something completely different than they were prescribed. This damage to their eye is most often not reversible. The faxes we receive from online companies are MOST OFTEN sent while we are not open. We tell them this repeatedly and they still send on Saturdays (when we are not open) or after hours so we cannot reply in time with "wrong rx" or "expired" and the patient is then allowed to get whatever they typed in. It is absolutely frightening and frustrating. The appeal to save a buck or two also devalues our services. If the goal is to save patients' money, the unilateral price point is PERFECT! Just like Apple products if a bottom line is set for contacts like many of the Acuvue products, the patient can buy the contacts anywhere they like but they are not MOTIVATED and ENCOURAGED to buy online because I am able to give them the lowest price. Again, I do not make much off of contact lenses but it certainly allows me to make sure they are getting their annual exam more effectively and that is what we all want, right? Healthy eyes?