16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995 #03941

Submission Number:
03941
Commenter:
Joan Miller
State:
Oregon
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
Chairwoman Edith Ramirez Federal Trade Commission Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex C) Washington, DC 20024 Dear Chairwoman Ramirez, As an optometric physician in private practice, I comply with the requirements of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) and the corresponding Contact Lens Rule by providing copies of contact lens prescriptions to contact lens wearing patients at the end of the contact lens fitting process. My colleagues do so overwhelmingly as well. As physicians, and in accordance with the Standards of Professional Conduct of our profession, we place patient interests over our own. Rather than implying there is a significant problem with prescription release, I am disappointed to learn that the FTC, under its existing authority, does not seek to address unscrupulous business practices of online contact lens sellers that have been putting the health and safety of my patients at risk for more than a decade. The true risk to patients is when they get the wrong contact lenses or a renewal of an outdated and possibly damaging prescription without an eye health evaluation that could avert serious problems. I oppose the new FTC proposal to require that all contact lens wearers sign an acknowledgement of receipt of a contact lens prescription and that I keep this form on file for years. It would disrupt the doctor-patient relationship by communicating to patients that they should be wary of their physician and imply violation of federal law. In my office we charge office cost for contact lenses, so there is no advantage for a patient to purchase online. My patients know they can but do not want to pay more for their contacts by doing so. Adding a step will just confuse patients and create additional requirements and costs. Additionally, the proposal would add new costs and needless bureaucracy for doctors and patients. The additional step would take time to administer and explain as well as require ongoing staff training and compliance measures. Additionally it is demeaning to require a document that makes a patient wary of their doctor and damages the doctor-patient relationship. In the past the FTC has underestimated and subsequently corrected the estimated burden on physicians for complying with the Contact Lens Rule. I am concerned that the FTC is again underestimating the potential impact of these changes. Those who violate the contact lens rule should face enforcement action. As a law-abiding, ethical doctor and as a member of a national organization, the American Optometric Association, that advocates for full compliance and has sought FTC guidance for its doctor education materials, I fear being penalized in a severe and ongoing way for the potential actions of a very few outliers. The bigger danger is uncontrolled online vendors substituting inferior lenses and changing prescriptions based on what they have in stock when that could truly hurt someone. I respectfully request that the Commission look again at the costly impact of this burdensome proposal and, in doing so, give new and careful consideration to how it would harm countless small eye care practices in communities across our country and serve as the basis for a distasteful, false and hostile presumption for our patients. Sincerely, Joan Ploem Miller, OD