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AOA Campaign Targets No-Prescription Contact Lens Sales

The “31 in 31” campaign takes place every October.

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The American Optometric Association has launched its annual advocacy campaign reaching out to online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores and other sellers who distribute contact lenses without valid prescriptions.

The “31 in 31” campaign, which takes place every October, has contacted more than 150 retailers to inform them of federal law regarding contact lens sales, according to a post on the association’s website.

“We would like to inform you of the regulatory and legal requirements that relate to the sale of contact lenses in the United States,” the letter from the AOA reads. “All contact lenses, even those that are only intended to change the appearance of the eye, require a prescription. The AOA would like for your company to be aware that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates contacts as medical devices. The improper wear and care of contact lenses can cause eye infections that can lead to serious, long-term damage, including vision loss. As such, we believe it is dangerous to consumers to sell such devices to individuals within the United States without appropriate prescriber supervision.”

The AOA identifies retailers to reach out to based on member reports.

“Without reports from doctors of optometry, we don’t know which companies are the most frequent offenders,” said Paul Velting, OD, chair of the AOA Contact Lens & Cornea Section. “Reports from actual patient experiences are extremely important.”

Copies of the letters are sent to federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration.

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

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