16 CFR Part 456 ; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request Ophthalmic Practice Rule (Eyeglass Rule): FTC Project No. R511996 #00638

Submission Number:
00638
Commenter:
Michelle Nelms
Organization:
Opticians Association of Virginia
State:
Virginia
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 456 ; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request Ophthalmic Practice Rule (Eyeglass Rule): FTC Project No. R511996
The Opticians Association of Virginia is writing in response to The Eyeglass Rule. While there are additions to the Rule that would be beneficial to the consumer, we are in favor of preserving the rule as written, and extending it be more specific and also address eyeglass prescription expiration dates. The OAV believes that optometrists and ophthalmologists should not be required include the patient's Pupilary Distance (PD) on a prescription. Should the PD be a part of the prescription, Opticians will be obligated to fulfill it as written. A PD Is a measurement that may need to be adjusted depending on the patient's lifestyle, lens design type or patient physiological changes. An incorrectly measured PD by a third party may require placing an additional financial burden on both the optician and the consumer if the lenses need to be remade. The OAV is in favor of retaining the prescription release rule. Patients are still not aware that they must be given a copy of their prescription immediately upon paying for it, and doctors are still not freely releasing the prescription at the end of the exam. Doctors should be reminded of the provisions of the Rule, and freely hand the prescription to patient without them having to ask. More often than should be occurring, patients are led into the dispensary before paying for the exam, and shown their options for eyewear. We would ask the Rule be amended to include language that the prescription must given to the patient on completion of the exam without additional sales pressure or intimidation. We are also in favor of extending the Rule to cover the release of a duplicate prescription, and permit the release of the prescription to third parties with permission from patient. We would also like to address the eyeglass prescription expiration date. In the absence of a medical reason with corroborating pathology, we see no valid reason for a prescription to contain an expiration date. Eyeglasses worn by the patient do not expire on a given date, and we believe that there is no reason for the same written prescription to expire. Licensed opticians can neutralize and duplicate eyeglasses, which negates an expiration date. While the OAV agrees that patients may need regular eye examinations, especially as they age, an expiration date on an eyeglass prescription should not be used as a tool to force patients to return annually or semi annually. Contact lens prescription expiration dates should be enforced; with regard to online companies, there should be more stringent enforcement of existing regulations. We would like to see a continuation of the "no limit" policy on the number of contact lenses that can be ordered. In the absence of pathology, we believe a contact lens prescription expiration date of one year from the date of the exam is appropriate. The Eyeglass Rule is working as designed, and the OAV is in favor of keeping it in place thereby enabling a competitive environment in both service and price, giving the consumer the maximum freedom of choice.