Looking back at 2016
FDA approves CXL
After a long wait, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved corneal cross-linking (CXL) in April 2016. This procedure is considered the only method for halting corneal ectasias, including keratoconus. Current FDA labelling indicates CXL for use in patients who are identified with progressive keratoconus. As it is not known if CXL negatively affects reproductive capacity or causes fetal harm, recommendations for CXL should not be made for pregnant women, advises Dr. Jim Owen.
Optometry and online ventures
Although executives from three online refraction companies (Opternative, EyeNetra, and myVisionPOD) say that ODs are a key part of their services, organized optometry's battle with Opternative continued in 2016.
The company’s expansion initiative was beaten back in South Carolina, Georgia, and Indiana. Currently 11 states have passed some form of legislation prohibiting patients from receiving a refraction from an online service such as Opternative.
Related: How to combat 1-800-EYE-EXAM
Yet, in a classic example of two wrongs not making a right, 1-800 Contacts now offers Opternative refraction to its customers. Not long after that announcement, the FTC filed suit against 1-800 contacts, citing the company with anti-competitive behavior.
U.S. House lawmakers are considering a measure that would hold online sellers of contact lenses accountable for deceptive or illegal sales tactics that may threaten patient health. Dr. Carl Spear feels these developments should be a wake-up call to all optometrists to become involved in the politics that can affect our profession
Of course, new apps for eyecare continue to hit the market.
A prime example is Simple Contacts, an app that allows your patients to self-report and self-prescribe their contact lenses.
A new contact lens retail site, Hubble, offers contact lens wearers daily disposable contact lenses at a lower price and plans to drive patients into OD offices for exams.
Another area of concern regarding online sales is how we handle that patient who bought his eyewear online but shows up at your office wanting an adjustment. If you haven’t had this happen yet, you will.
We simply have to stop giving away our services and expertise, especially when online eyewear sales are fraught with error. Nearly half (44.8 percent) of the 200 pairs of eyeglasses purchased by the AOA had incorrect prescriptions or safety concerns.2Justin Bazan, OD, FAAO, recommends you develop an eyewear service plan, outlining the difference between online vendors and our service and expertise.