In the News

Dec 18, 2017

The Cronyism Behind Your Contact Lenses

By Bill Wirtz –

Nothing is as frustrating than not being able to see. According to the The Vision Council Research (2015), 76 percent of the adult population in the US uses some sort of vision correction. About 40 million Americans use contact lenses, making it a $4.6 billion retail industry.

The production cost of contact lenses are fairly low, however, many people spend considerable amounts on, what is for them, a vital item in their daily lives. What holds people back from accessing affordable vision correction?

You Should (Literally) See through the Market

Patients who are unaware of their exact prescription will not choose to compare prices on the market.

In a Consumer Action survey released this year, it was revealed that close to one-third of respondents (31 percent) were not given a copy of their prescription after getting their contact lens exams at the eye doctor’s office. A poll by the same organization earlier this year revealed that 60 percent of patients are unaware that they have a legal right to their prescription copy.

In order to remedy against this intransparent handling, the Federal Trade Commission is proposing an update to the contact lens rules. The FTC wants to make it compulsory for practitioners to get a signature from the patient that he has understood that he holds the right to his files.

In a world in which people own (and realize that they own) access to their personal information, this would seem self-evident. Yet, in the absence of the general right to your own data, the FTC rule is actually a sensible solution. The American Optometric Association, or “Big Lens” if you will, calls for more “patient safety” instead of transparency into the process.

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