Kentucky bill to protect consumers in online eye care heads to Senate
House Bill 191, ensures that the use of technology for eye care would provide reasonable standards and consumer protections, has passed the Kentucky House of Representatives by a vote of 90-7.
The state currently has no standards that address online technology for glasses and contacts, according to a press release from the Kentucky Optometric Association (KOA).
Bill sponsor Rep. Jim Gooch said the legislation, “an act relating to consumer protection in eye care,” allows online eye care in Kentucky but would improve on it by requiring a “simultaneous,” or real-time, interaction between consumers and Kentucky-licensed optometrists or physicians who would then have to sign off on the prescription, according to the release.
The bill would also require someone seeking an online eye exam or prescription to have had an in-person eye exam within the previous 24 months, among other requirements.
The bill mandates simultaneous interaction with a doctor. The real-time exchange of information with the consumer reduces the risk that medical conditions will be missed or that treatment will be delayed. It also helps verify accuracy, as well as the identity of the patient, according to the release.
In addition, the consumer is assured that the provider assessing his or her information is licensed in Kentucky. This requirement ensures that, if necessary, Kentucky has jurisdiction and accountability of the provider, as well as the technology, the KOA said.
Furthermore, the same registration and technology standards that exist for a contact lens prescription will also apply for a spectacles prescription.
The bill will now go to the Kentucky Senate for consideration.