FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule #2679

Submission Number:
Angelique Sawyer
New Hampshire
Initiative Name:
FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule
Dear FTC Commissioners: I am a doctor of optometry in the rural White Mountains of NH. Every day I am providing critical eye health and vision care to the citizens of the communities where I live and practice. A large part of the care I provide inclides the proper prescription, instruction and followup care for contact lens wear. Every time I prescribe contact lenses, my patients not only leave with a copy of their prescription as required by law, but just as important, they leave with a better understanding of the harm caused by improper wear and care of these medical devices. All too often I see patients who do not follow proper contact lens care, who are obtaining contact lenses from online retailers without a valid prescription, and who believe contacts to be a harmless piece of plastic that do not require a doctor's care. That improper message is being reinforced by online retailers who encourage patients to skip exams and who frequently fail to accurately verify prescriptions. Instead of addressing these critical patient safety concerns, the FTC proposes more unnecessary burdensome paperwork that will add to the cost of my contact lens care services and will also add a level of inconvenience to patients. There is no justification for targeting eye doctors-optometrists and ophthalmologists-and our patients with new paperwork and document storage requirements, as part of your misguided Contact Lens Rule proposal. Your agency's own complaint data confirms that doctors already comply with the law. Members of Congress have specifically recognized this fact in Congressional hearings with FTC officials, and they further affirmed on March 23rd through passage of 2018 government funding legislation (Public Law 115- 141) and the following report directive: Contact Lenses-The [Senate Appropriations] Committee is disappointed in the FTC's decision not to include the proposed patient safety improvements related to the prescription verification process in its draft contact lens rule and instead impose new paperwork requirements on patients and doctors that are unnecessarily burdensome. The Committee directs the FTC to prioritize patient safety and consider enforcement mechanisms under its existing authority or revisions to the draft rule that address sales of excessive quantities of lenses, illegal substitutions, and communication challenges associated with prescription verification, including robo-calls. The Committee further directs the FTC to continue to confer and consult with other Federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, to optimize its enforcement and consumer education activities. I urge you to listen to these Members of the Legislature, to the nation's eye doctors and to the other public health experts in recognizing contact lenses as a medical device and by joining with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in making quality care and patient health and safety a priority in Washington, DC. Sincerely, Angelique M. Sawyer, O.D., FAAO, Diplomate ABO Conway Eye Care, Coos Eye Care President, New Hampshire Optometric Association