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AOA Campaign ‘Spotlights Bad Actors’ in Contact Lens Market

It’s called “31 in 31” and runs throughout October.

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The American Optometric Association has launched a campaign that “campaign exposes illegal retailers and counterfeiters sidestepping legal requirements that protect patients’ eyes.”

The annual letter-writing campaign is called “31 in 31” and runs throughout October. It “directs federal regulators’ attention and scrutiny on those online retailers, brick-and-mortar shops and other sellers who distribute contact lenses without valid prescriptions, in direct violation of federal law,” according to AOA.

“Ensuring retailers comply with these federal regulations, established to protect patients, is absolutely essential,” says Melissa Barnett, O.D., AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section chair.

To date, the campaign has identified over 150 retailers — with support from doctors of optometry nationwide — that the AOA has directly contacted to inform of the U.S. law regarding the sale of contact lenses, AOA notes in a post on its website.

The campaign consists of letters to flagged sellers, reiterating the U.S. market rules set forth in the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) and the Contact Lens Rule, and specifically those requirements that contact lenses may only be furnished when a consumer presents a valid prescription from an eye doctor. While the AOA is not a regulatory enforcement agency, the letters are copied to both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

Here’s how doctors can report illegal sales or adverse events related to contact lenses:

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