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    It’s about ocular health, not sales

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

    From time to time I read an article that makes me want to shake my head. One such article is a commentary in The Washington Times, “The government’s war on contact lenses.”1 To summarize, author Eric Peters thinks contact lenses are regulated not out of concern for eye health, but because “we have crony capitalism for contact lenses.”

    He explains how in Europe and Japan we can buy contact lenses without a prescription, and people can go online now using Opternative get spectacle prescriptions, so why can’t we do the same for contact lenses? He compares the process to that of buying a car. We're not required to buy a car from any particular dealer.

    Previously from Dr. Bowling: Be present with your patients

    Using his analogy, let’s shop for say, heart surgeons. Who’s giving the best deal on a bypass? Think I'll choose the one based on the lowest price? I don't think any person would.

    The author makes us sound like a greedy bunch of SOBs because we happen to fit contact lenses. I really don't care where my patients buy their lenses. But I do care that contact lens fits properly and is healthy for the patient’s eyes. That’s my job. I'm the one accepting responsibility for the fit. That Chrysler dealer is not accepting responsibility for your driving habits.

    It all comes down to a point the author missed: ocular health. Contact lenses are medical devices. I can write it again and again. These are not commodities. You’re not buying a pair of shoes. And I, as your eye doctor, accept responsibility both clinically and legally for that fit.

    Ernie Bowling, OD, MS, FAAO
    Dr. Ernie Bowling is Chief Optometric Editor of Optometry Times. He received his Doctor of Optometry and Master of Science in ...


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