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Contact Lens Rule Revisions Aren’t Enough, AOA Says

“It is critical that every doctor provides feedback to the survey,” president says.

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(PRESS RELEASE) On May 2, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released supplementary rulemaking to adjust the Commission’s proposed changes to the Contact Lens Rule.

For the past two and a half years, the AOA has opposed the FTC recommendation to require contact lens prescribers to obtain a signed form from their contact lens-wearing patients after the contact lens prescription has been provided. The AOA also continued to urge the FTC to strengthen the rule to prioritize a crackdown on internet retailers violating patient health and safety laws.

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“The power of AOA advocacy, when buoyed by the strength of all doctors of optometry speaking with the same voice, is evident in the FTC’s recent revisions,” says AOA President Samuel D. Pierce, O.D. “The new proposed rule includes recommendations that are direct results of our hard work; however, these changes fall short of what is needed to protect patients and we will persevere.”

Key Takeaways, Next Steps

The AOA remains concerned with any FTC requirements that create an additional burden on doctors and their patients. Any additional regulatory requirement on physicians flies in the face of the current administration’s effort to address regulatory excess in health care. The AOA has raised these concerns at the highest levels in the executive branch and will continue to do so. The AOA also will continue working to enlist the even more than 100 senators and House members who have already joined the AOA in urging the FTC to withdraw its burdensome requirements and to target illegal contact lens sales and other anti-patient abuses.

The FTC’s initial proposed rule in 2016 included no additional requirements for contact lens retailers. Since then, the AOA has consistently reported dozens of contact lens retailers with dangerous business practices to the FTC. As a result, the May 2019 proposal would impose new requirements on contact lens retailers. The FTC notes these changes are intended to address, in large part, the companies that sell their own brand of lenses, which the AOA has repeatedly reported to the FTC. The FTC noted, “the Commission is aware that more sellers have been entering the market to sell their own brands of lenses directly to consumers, and this, along with a large number of complaints and anecdotal reports of instances of alteration by online sellers-some of which describe vision-threatening injuries-necessitate modifications to the Rule.” The FTC also made clear, “any attempt to substitute another lens, including a seller’s own brand, for the prescribed lens thwarts the purpose of the Act, which is to allow sellers to sell contact lenses as prescribed by the consumer’s eye-care provider.” While the FTC must do more to ensure safety in the market, the updated proposal takes aim at true and widespread contact lens retailer issues that the Commission was previously unwilling to act on.

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The FTC also has proposed to implement new requirements for robocalls. The FTC indicated, “Concerns about passive verification resulting in patients receiving contact lenses for which they have no prescription are not new and were considered when Congress passed the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2016. What is new, however, is the emergence of business models that rely almost exclusively on passive verification as a means to substitute their own brand of daily contact lenses.” While the AOA appreciates that the Commission has finally acknowledged how these calls are being used to subvert verification rules, it remains opposed to the use of robocalls to confirm contact lens prescriptions. That is why the AOA will continue to build support for the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act. Doctors can click here to reach out to members of Congress in support of this bill.

The typical rulemaking process involves a proposed rule followed by a public comment period and then a final rule. For this rulemaking, there has been a proposed rule, a public workshop and now supplementary rulemaking with a comment period. It’s clear-optometry does not back down when patients are being put at risk.

In the next 60-day comment period, the AOA will develop a response to the FTC proposals and will call on members to make their voices heard. To inform the comments, AOA asks every doctor to complete this survey.
“It is critical that every doctor provides feedback to the survey,” AOA President-elect Barbara L. Horn, O.D., says. “Your input will provide us with important information that can help us to best advocate for doctors and our patients.”

The May 2, 2019, proposals put forward by the FTC are not final. As it has done over the past two and a half years, the AOA will continue to fight for doctors and their patients.

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Press Releases

Etnia Barcelona Foundation Partners with Von Miller’s Von’s Vision Foundation

Etnia Barcelona is set to become the exclusive provider of fashionable frames for Von’s Vision Centers.

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(PRESS RELEASE) – In continuation of expanding its growth and outreach efforts in the U.S. market, Etnia Barcelona has announced a partnership with Linebacker Von Miller of the NFL’s Denver Broncos and his charitable foundation, Von’s Vision. With support from its own foundation, Etnia Barcelona is set to become the exclusive provider of fashionable frames for Von’s Vision Centers, one of the signature community outreach program’s Von’s Vision.

The newest program of Miller’s foundation, Von’s Vision Centers allow in-need students to receive vision care on an ongoing basis without the burden of transportation. These new centers are a customized optical center kiosk, located at select Boys & Girls Club facilities in Metro Denver and soon-to-be Texas A&M University, that hold fashionable eyewear and accessories, creating a unique and exciting optical center on wheels.

Volunteer medical providers, provided through Hero Practice Services, will use portable equipment to conduct onsite eye exams and the children and young adults will “shop” for fashionable eyewear, provided by Etnia Barcelona Foundation. Once ready, their fulfilled glasses with lenses will be delivered back to the participating Von’s Vision Center location for a reveal day.

As a part of their contribution the Etnia Barcelona Foundation has recently donated over 3,000 frames with its anticipation for the Von’s Vision Center to serve a minimum of 600 children this year alone. The first Vision Day will commence on May 14, 2019, with a combination of several other charitable events throughout the year.

Together, Etnia Barcelona hopes to continue our partnership in the years to come and expand the outreach of both programs across the entire United States.

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Press Releases

L’Amy America Launches Tri-Flex Performance Series

It offers a 3-point, self-adjusting temple tip system.

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(PRESS RELEASE) NORWALK, CT – America’s athletic wear originator, Champion brings a new 3-tiered sub collection of performance-based eyewear, to a market thirsting for heritage sport brands offering value-added features and true performance.

Perfectly suited for active lifestyles, Champion’s new Tri-Flex collection offers a 3-point, self-adjusting temple tip system which provides custom fit, secure grip, and on face stability. The tip, which adjusts from 1 to 90 degrees downward, gently but securely fits over the mastoidal bend, allowing the frame to fit snuggly and comfortably over the ear. An easy click and the system is engaged-the wearer can perform any task from basketball and golf to yard work and boating without worry of frames slipping, bouncing, or moving around during wear. Offering the same security as other eyewear retaining devices, the Tri-Flex tip is built-in to the frame. No extra “cord” required to insure frame security.

The Tri-Flex collection is comprised of 5 ophthalmic models for adults (2 in Extended Size), 4 ophthalmic models for tweens, and 4 sunglasses also for adults. With features such as handmade acetate and stainless steel fronts, optical quality polarized lenses and custom-crafted color selections, the new Tri-Flex series offers the same fine quality construction and powerful consumer brand recognition as its core eyewear collection.

L’Amy America Lifestyle Brands Director, Connie Reiss reminds “Champion was Lyst.com’s #2 most-searched brand of 2018. We are fueling this explosive brand-trajectory with the Tri-Flex series of eyewear, while ultimately drawing upon Champion roots of athletic functionality.”

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Press Releases

Coburn Technologies New National Sales Manager for Diagnostics Instruments

He will focus on diagnostic instruments for the United States market.

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Ezequiel Lukin

(PRESS RELEASE) SOUTH WINDSOR, CT – Coburn Technologies, Inc. welcomes Ezequiel Lukin as its new national sales manager, with specific focus on diagnostic instruments for the United States market.

“Ezequiel is a great addition to our team,” states vice president of sales, Wayne Labrecque. “Our diagnostics product line is an integral part of our business, and with a growing interest in our products, as well as new product development, we are confident Ezequiel will strategically build our business further.”

Lukin is an experienced veteran in the optical industry. As the former global sales manager for Volk Optical, Lukin brings more than 20 years of sales and optical experience to Coburn Technologies. His experience includes general sales with a specific focus on diagnostics instruments to eye care practitioners in the United States, Latin America and Europe.

“I am excited to be joining Coburn Technologies,” Lukin said. “Coburn is a well-respected company in the industry, and I believe that with my experience and their history, we will drive the company’s share in the diagnostics instruments market to new heights.”

Lukin joins Coburn Technologies’ sales team, which has recently added a number of industry veterans including Marina Vaynberger, international regional sales manager, Al Bednar, director of laboratory sales, Mark Kaplan senior territory sales representative and Jason Frank, sales manager for Latin America.

“Ezequiel represents the latest addition to strengthening our international sales organization,” states Alex Incera, president of Coburn Technologies. “With specific focus on developing our ophthalmic instruments business, Ezequiel is an integral addition and will help drive our diagnostics product offering and market leadership.”

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