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    3 ways ODs can combat 1-800-EYE-EXAM

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    The recent announcement that 1-800 Contacts has partnered with online eye exam provider Opternative to offer consumers eye exams online has rocked the optometry community. What can we learn from this announcement, and what should we do?

    Related: 1-800 Contacts now offers Opternative refraction to its customers

    Remember optometry is a legislated profession

    This should be a wake-up call to all optometrists that we are truly a legislated profession and we need to be involved in local, regional, state, and national politics than can affect our profession. For those engaged in the political battle and assault on our profession, thank you. For those less involved, please take this as a clarion call to get involved.

    Currently, 11 states have passed some form of legislation which prohibits patients from receiving a refraction from an online business like Opternative in lieu of an initial in-person examination. Each state’s legislation is slightly different, but all prohibit this online prescribing.

    Related: 1-800 Contacts ramps up legislative fights

    The states that currently have legislation are:

    • Alabama

    • Georgia

    • Indiana

    • Ohio

    • Oklahoma

    • Maine

    • Michigan

    • Mississippi

    • Nebraska

    • Rhode Island

    • South Carolina

    • West Virginia

    Related: SC vs. Opternative: An example of what makes optometry great

    This is the first of many challenges we will face as technology and business continue to make inroads and advances into our profession. As a friend of mine recently said, “Everyone wants to be an optometrist except optometrists.”

    If we don’t get and stay involved, we may get our wish.

    Carl H. Spear, OD, MBA, FAAO
    Dr. Spear owns a multi-location group practice with his wife Dr. Katie Gilbert Spear in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Spear is commander of the ...


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