Issue: March 2017
March 16, 2017
1 min read

AOA urges FTC to reject changes to Contact Lens Rule

Issue: March 2017
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The American Optometric Association urged the Federal Trade Commission not to adopt proposed new changes to the Contact Lens Rule, according to a letter dated Jan. 30 from AOA President Andrea P. Thau, OD.

The proposed changes would order doctors to obtain written acknowledgment from patients that they received a copy of their contact lens prescription, to retain each signed acknowledgment for at least 3 years and be subjected to FTC inspection of the records of authorizations.

“Congress imposed very specific requirements with respect to making contact lens prescriptions available to patients,” Thau wrote. “At the same time, it excluded from the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) any of the requirements that the FTC now proposes to impose. Thus, the AOA believes the FTC may now attempt to upset that balance by adding requirements through rulemaking beyond what Congress included in the FCLCA.”

Requiring a signed acknowledgment of receipt of a contact lens prescription would be, “overly burdensome to physicians who are already struggling to keep pace with ever-changing regulatory requirements,” Thau stated.

It currently costs optometrists approximately nearly $47 million annually to comply with the Contact Lens Rule, and the new requirement would cause an additional cost burden, she wrote.

Andrea P. Thau

“Having had the opportunity to review the complaints that the commission has received regarding compliance with the Contact Lens Rule over the past 5 years, the AOA believes the commission’s patient acknowledgment proposal would not directly address the majority of complaints received,” Thau added.

The AOA also supports exploring whether a dedicated email address would be beneficial for receiving complaints related to the rule.

“Having a more direct method by which to report these retailers would be beneficial,” Thau wrote.

She urged the FTC to withdraw the proposed rule as written.