The FDA has a set of specifications on proper eye care, and apparently people who buy their contact lenses online are less likely to follow those rules, reports a new study. The gap comes from having less trained, in-person medical attention and up-to-date prescriptions, and not poorer cleaning habits (although we wouldn’t recommend using dollar store saline solution just to save a few bucks).
Lens wearers who bought from their doctor were, for example, more likely to have had an eye exam in the past year or to have their doctors make sure their prescription was filled accurately and that the lenses fit properly.
One problem may be that the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which requires doctors to release patient prescriptions upon request, allows for “passive verification”—if the doctor doesn’t respond to a request to verify a valid prescription within 8 hours, it’s considered valid.
Of lens wearers in his study, 21 percent and 32 percent of online and store buyers, respectively, said they did not get an eye exam once a year — even though New York State, where the survey was done, allows lens prescriptions to be valid for only one year.