The Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety is comprised of healthcare providers, medical device makers, patient advocacy and health research organizations, and academic intuitions dedicated to safe access to contact lenses by emphasizing the importance of regular eye exams, proper contact lens selection and lens care and safety.
Annual eye exams are important not only to ensure patients get accurate contact lens prescriptions and instructions for safe use, but eye doctors also examine patients for common eye diseases and evaluate patients’ eyes as an indicator of overall health. Vision care providers often are the first health care professionals to detect chronic systemic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
In the last decade since the Federal Trade Commission last focused on regulating the contact lens retail market, consumer access to contact lenses at competitive prices has never been more robust. Today, patients leading busy lives often order lenses online and are getting the message that it is unnecessary to return to their eye care professional annually. Misleading advertisements from online retailers state that if they feel “satisfied” with their contact lenses, they can reorder large quantities of these FDA-regulated medical devices, which are often sold despite an expired prescription. Some even promote that they will sell contact lenses “without a prescription,” a clear violation of federal law. These practices discourage patients from seeking regular visits with their eye doctor and are not in the best interest of patient health.
Online retailers claim they support a more competitive marketplace and that existing federal laws are just protecting consumer access to contact lenses. However, misleading patients by offering to either sell them contact lenses without verifying their prescription with their eye care doctor or encouraging patients to order large quantities of lenses exploits the patient – in favor of profit – without considering what is best for patients’ eye and overall health.
Common Sense Solutions
The Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety advocates for safe access to contact lenses by preserving the relationship between vision care providers and their patients. Our coalition works to fight deceptive and aggressive marketing practices that mislead patients and put their eye health in jeopardy.
Our broad-based coalition is focused on the following:
- Advocating for updating antiquated regulations to reflect a more modern contact lens marketplace
- Educating policymakers about the importance of annual eye exams, and serving as a policy resource for those interested in vision care
- Working with members of Congress and federal agencies to inform and implement policy improvements that are best for patients, all while preserving competition in the marketplace.
Support Our Coalition
We encourage all individuals and organizations who believe in protecting public health and value preserving the relationship between patients and their health care providers to join us in these important patient safety efforts. While eye health is our central focus, provider, patient and consumer organizations concerned with diseases or broader population health are important to the policy discussion, particularly since eye exams can uncover a host of different health issues.