FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule #3353

Submission Number:
Cindy Ellenbecker
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 providing essential frontline eye health and vision care in my home community of Coeur d'Alene,ID. There is no justification for targeting eye doctors-optometrists and ophthalmologists-and our patients with new paperwork and document storage requirements as your misguided Contact Lens Rule proposal would do, while the Commission allows retailers who blatantly violate the law to operate unchecked. Your agency's own complaint data confirms that doctors comply with the law, a finding that Members of Congress have specifically recognized in Congressional hearings with FTC officials and 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. There are many voices purportedly paying consultants to voice unfounded claims about why you should continue with the proposed rule. I urge you to listen to the nation's eye doctors and 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. I have received contact lens prescription verification from 1-800 over and over for patients that I either have not seen for several years or never fit with contact lenses. I have also received verification from 1-800 for contact lens prescription and have verified with our patient that they had received the contacts long before 1-800 even sent us the verification. 1-800 also contacts our patients before their contact prescription expires in order to sell them more contacts and they are now contacting our patients before their contact lenses expire and telling them that they can "skip the eye doctor" and renew their Rx online. After going to school for 8 years, accumulating $70,000 of student loan debt and then taking 3 sets of national boards and 5 state boards all taking a great deal of work and time and costing a great deal of money, I have made a huge commitment to my profession. I pay a licensure fee every year and I acquire the required continuing education credits yearly. I provide 6 good paying jobs and I contribute to my local economy every day. What I do is important! I help people every day! I help them see better. I find undetected systemic conditions. I find undetected ocular conditions. I have diagnosed retinal detachments and tumors! We are already overburdened by excessive paperwork. This is just another unnecessary requirement that hurts the very people who have committed their life to this profession. I can assure you, there is plenty of competition in this industry. To believe that the small independent doctors have any power to manipulate or decrease competition is wrong. If the FTC wants to increase competition, they should not allow Luxottica to purchase other companies. They should not let big companies become vertically integrated. Please rethink this! Sincerely, Dr. Cindy Ellenbecker Si