An Avalanche of Products, Compliance and the FCLCA
BY JOSEPH T. BARR, OD, MS, FAAO, EDITOR
This year has had, and next year will have, many new contact lens products for us to use to provide better contact lens care for our patients. Introduced in 2004 were Bausch & Lomb's new multipurpose solution and its new Vision Shaping Treatment (aka overnight orthokeratology or Corneal Refractive Therapy from Paragon Vision Sciences). PureVision silicone hydrogel lenses, also from B&L, will reappear in the U.S. market in 2005. This year, Vistakon introduced Acuvue Advance silicone hydrogel lenses and CIBA Vision introduced the O2OPTIX silicone hydrogel lens. Early informal surveys of practitioners tell us that silicone hydrogels, including one from CooperVision via its acquisition of Ocular Sciences, will become the lens of choice over the next few years for most of our patients.
At the recent, well-attended Vision Expo West meeting in Las Vegas, John Schachet, OD, pointed out that one of the hardest things to get control of is the solutions that patients use. This of course applies to the numerous new, excellent contact lens lubricants and dry eye products that are available to us. He and Frank Fontana, OD, emphasized the need to prescribe the solution and eye drop to patients and not just let your staff provide samples or multiples types of products via samples. I must admit being guilty of doing this latter act and even promoting it. You may need to change from one product to another, and in this day and age, significant differences exist in solutions and in eye drops for contact lens wearers, but it's certainly best to make it clear to patients via a prescription that you want them to use a specific product and to follow up and make sure that they're happy and compliant.
Recent examples of non-licensed suppliers of contact lenses noncompliance with the new Fairness in Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) have been noted including: No date and time on faxes, multiple requests after receiving the doctor's response, refusal to accept "prescription has expired" responses, selling without a prescription, ignoring the eight-hour rule, substituting lenses and unintelligible recorded messages (AOA News, Aug. 30, 2004). You can file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. American Optometric Association (AOA) members can report complaints at www.aoa.org or send a complaint through e-mail to FTCcomplaint@aoa.org.