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American Optometric Association to Report 31 ‘Suspicious Contact Lens Retailers’ to Federal Government

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The campaign comes as Halloween approaches.


The American Optometric Association said it plans to report 31 “suspicious contact lens retailers” to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission — one for each day of October.

The organization is targeting retailers who illegally sell contact lenses without a prescription.

“As Halloween approaches, we know that people will be tempted to purchase theatrical lenses online,” says Jeffrey Sonsino, an optometrist who serves as the AOA’s contact lens and cornea section chair. “Unfortunately, many of the online retailers sell lenses illegally and without a prescription. In an attempt to protect patients, we are reporting suspected violators to the FDA and FTC.”

The letters will be sent to businesses flagged by AOA’s reporting hotline, stopillegalCLs@aoa.org, and address their alleged violations. They’ll be copied to the FDA and FTC.

“By establishing the email stopillegalCLs@aoa.org, the AOA CLCS has collected hundreds of cases of patients being harmed by illegal online sales of contact lenses,” Sonsino says. “We are working diligently with the FDA and FTC to combat the illegal practices of retailers who import non-FDA approved lenses, gray-market commonly available lenses, or sell to the public without a prescription.”

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The AOA notes that while it is not a regulatory enforcement entity, its central mission is “to serve as a resource to the public for reliable and current information related to eye and health care policy.”

The organization also reiterated its support for the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act of 2016, which it says “would reinforce the distinction that contact lenses are medical devices and should be treated as such.”

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