AOA asks FTC to investigate 1-800 CONTACTS vision test marketing

The American Optometric Association announced that it asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate 1-800 CONTACTS marketing of its online vision test.

The online retailer’s website states that the vision test, called ExpressExam, uses technology provided by Visibly, formerly known as Opternative.

The AOA said in a March letter to the FTC that the name “ExpressExam” and the 1-800 CONTACTS website “leave the public with the wrong impression about the content of the service, which could potentially threaten eye health and vision if an incorrect perception leads to individuals foregoing regular, comprehensive eye exams.”

The AOA cited results of an online health care terminology survey conducted among 1,000 consumers that it commissioned in February. Fifty-six percent of respondents thought an “ExpressExam” was the same exam/test that a doctor would provide during an in-person office visit, but in less time. In addition, nearly half thought ExpressExam would provide an opportunity for them to discuss ocular issues with a doctor.

"We believe that the use of the term ‘exam’ by 1-800 CONTACTS is a material misrepresentation that could affect a consumer's choice to obtain an in-person, comprehensive eye examination or to obtain another company's online vision test," AOA President Samuel D. Pierce, OD, wrote in a letter to Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The American Optometric Association announced that it asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate 1-800 CONTACTS marketing of its online vision test.

The online retailer’s website states that the vision test, called ExpressExam, uses technology provided by Visibly, formerly known as Opternative.

The AOA said in a March letter to the FTC that the name “ExpressExam” and the 1-800 CONTACTS website “leave the public with the wrong impression about the content of the service, which could potentially threaten eye health and vision if an incorrect perception leads to individuals foregoing regular, comprehensive eye exams.”

The AOA cited results of an online health care terminology survey conducted among 1,000 consumers that it commissioned in February. Fifty-six percent of respondents thought an “ExpressExam” was the same exam/test that a doctor would provide during an in-person office visit, but in less time. In addition, nearly half thought ExpressExam would provide an opportunity for them to discuss ocular issues with a doctor.

"We believe that the use of the term ‘exam’ by 1-800 CONTACTS is a material misrepresentation that could affect a consumer's choice to obtain an in-person, comprehensive eye examination or to obtain another company's online vision test," AOA President Samuel D. Pierce, OD, wrote in a letter to Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.