16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
I've been an optometrist for almost 8 years now (3 years serving in the military overseas and 5 years in the US in private practice). The verification system is not working well at all. When I ask patients how they have continued to get contacts supplied to them for the last 3-4 years without having a yearly exam, They're response every time is, "what do ya mean? I just ordered them online and they kept sending them to me." It's so easy for them they don't even know it's illegal. On several occasions I've had patients come in with complaints about the comfort and vision of their contact lenses. I now always ask if they've bought them online as I've had too many instances of people changing the powers, base curve and brand of contacts that they are ordering-- basically trying to self prescribe because they saw a commercial for a certain brand that looked good for their eyes. Unreal! These people receiving contact lenses without a valid prescription are the same people on the roads out there driving around my kids with less than perfect vision because things have changed and they are unaware, or they are self prescribing. I would love to see the FTC make substantial changes to the system and ensure patient ocular health but I won't hold my breath since online retailers have way deeper pockets than us eyecare providers just trying to help our patients.