16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
Under the current law, retailers are allowed to fill a prescription if verification is not received within 8 hours. This is most commonly exploited by faxing or robodialing verification requests outside of normal business hours, then filling the prescription before the prescriber responds. Since contact lens retailers are aware of these loopholes, they have no concern with substituting lenses. A study of contact lens consumers purchasing from online retailers performed earlier this year found 25% of consumers had a lens substituted with no prior notification and 33% had been advised to substitute a different lens material without a doctor's permission. Contact lenses are designated as a medical device by the FDA and unauthorized substitutions places the health of the patient's eye at risk. This would be comparable to a pharmacy substituting a different class of anti-hypertensive than what was prescribed without seeking permission from the doctor. I have personally seen poor outcomes of contact lens wear and am always frustrated, although no longer surprised, when my patients' eye health is jeopardized in this fashion.