Recently, Dr. Paul Donzis published a blog post in The Hill noting “any good doctor will tell you that the key to helping their patients is having good information.”

We couldn’t agree more—especially when it comes to eye health.

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In fact, as ophthalmologists and optometrists, we know that as a part of every comprehensive examination, the right information coupled with appropriate updates to the patients’ prescription can significantly change and improve the way patients see the world.

That’s why we agree with the nation’s leading eye health organizations – the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology – and tens of thousands of our fellow eye doctors serving communities across the country, and we support U.S. Senate bill S.2777, The Contact Lens Consumers Health Protection Act. This legislation makes small, but important, updates to the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA)—the major law that governs our modern vision care marketplace—that would help to better protect our patients’ health and safety, while continuing to support choice and competition in the marketplace.

When the FCLCA was first enacted more than a decade ago, the world looked significantly different for contact lens consumers. Aside from fewer number of lens technologies available, consumers were also limited in their choices in where and how to purchase their lenses.

Fast-forward to today and our patients have more options than ever in where to fill their prescriptions, from right in our offices to ordering online from their living rooms or smart phones. And supporters of S.2777 have no intention of rewinding progress or goals of overhauling our entire system. 

But we do acknowledge, as do Sen. Bill Cassidy (R–La.) and John BoozmanJohn BoozmanAn unlikely home in DC Lobbying World The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R–Ark.)—the co-authors of S. 2777—that with the growing number of choices available in today’s marketplace, making minor updates to the FCLCA not only makes sense, but will improve how contact lens patients access their lenses. In fact, when it comes down to it, the bill really makes only two changes to the existing law.

First, the bill notes that prescriptions should be dispensed exactly as written. As policymakers know, a bill’s original language or intent, particularly when vague or general, can be misinterpreted over time. That’s precisely the case with the FCLCA.

The current law implies that when your eye care provider prescribes you lenses, the retailer of your choice should fill the prescription exactly as written. But without explicit instruction, that doesn’t always happen in practice, which is especially concerning for contact lens patients. If contact lens patients wear non-prescribed lenses it can lead to a range of painful eye health conditions and ultimately, in some rare cases, serious consequences—including permanent vision loss. This clarification will help assure patients receive the same lenses their doctor prescribed, no matter where they may choose to purchase.

Second, S. 2777 makes minor updates to the existing law by formalizing a process for all retailers—from larger chain stores to online—and prescribers like us, to communicate about the accuracy and validity of patients’ prescriptions and to address any issues. This process will help to provide a clear path forward for retailers and prescribers to work together to address inaccuracies and will make it more efficient for prescribers to confirm prescriptions, helping patients feel confident that they will receive the right lenses every time.

The right information matters—and the right updates, even if minor, can make a big difference. That’s something we can all agree on.


Timothy L. Hodges, MD, is owner of and surgeon at Hodges Eye Care and Surgical Center, Tucson, Arizona. Jeffrey Sonsino, O.D., FAAO, is chairman of the American Optometric Association's Contact Lens and Cornea Section and a diplomate of the American Academy of Optometry.