FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule
As a practicing Optometrist for 7 years I am in shock about how the medical field can be so easily affected by big companies with lots of money and influence. I invested 8 years of schooling to give back to the community as a primary eye care physician and I enjoy my work; however, what I do not enjoy anymore is all the extra work my office and I have to do in order to keep up with the contact lens act and the illegal practices of these online vendors to fill contact lens prescriptions. We get faxes at the end of the day when we are closed and they still fill the prescription. We get faxes on holidays when we are closed and the prescription still gets filled. We get faxes for verification for patient's that are not even ours and I'm pretty sure they still get filled. We even got repetitive faxes for one patient over and over again even though the prescription was denied due to the expiration of her prescription and that company kept sending a request in hopes that we wouldn't return one within the 8 hour window. I called that company myself and asked why we kept getting the fax and the answer I got was, "we are trying to make this patient happy". I explained to them that what they are doing is unethical trying to get us to miss a verification so they can fill the prescription and they just hung up on me. We get patients who have not had their eyes examined in years still be able to fill contact lenses and believed everything was fine because the online vendors sent them their contacts. I recently had a 15 year old who's own mother ordered Hubble contacts for her (without any verification) because the price was good and she admitted that the contact lens hurt her eyes but trusted her mom and continued to wear the lenses. She had to be put into another contact lens brand due the complications I was already seeing in her eyes. I have had patients come in with contacts in their eyes for who knows how long and didn't even know it. Contact lenses are medical devices and need to be treated as such. I do not sell contact lenses and I do not care where patient's choose to purchase their contact lenses. I do, however, care about illegal practices of some companies in order to make a sell. I have, on many occasions, made patients discontinue contact lens wear because of the complications they were developing. All of them were due to improper usage of the lenses or poor fit. I do not understand how the bigger picture is being missed. The big problem is the illegal practices of these vendors and why is no one is holding them accountable.