HARTFORD, Conn.—In the final hours of the 2017 legislative regular session, the Senate in Connecticut voted unanimously late Tuesday night to approve a bill that will limit the use of some new technologies in issuing or refilling prescriptions for contact lenses.
reported earlier this week
, the Connecticut state legislature is scheduled to adjourn today (June 7). If the Senate had not approved the bill before the adjournment, it likely would have been dead for this legislative session. The House unanimously voted earlier in the legislative session to approve the proposal, House Bill 6012, “An Act Concerning Consumer Protection in Eye Care.”
The legislation, which was supported by the Connecticut Association of Optometrists
(CAO), now awaits a signature by the governor before it can take effect as scheduled, Oct. 1, 2017. CAO has stated in testimony that it believes the legislation will protect consumers from “unproven, un-tested technology.”
The language in the new legislation prohibits the use of information obtained during an eye test with a “remote refractive device” from being used as the only basis for a consumer to secure or refill a contact lens prescription. The wording “remote refractive device” means “automated equipment or an application designed to be used on a telephone, computer or Internet-based device that can be used either in person or remotely to conduct a test.”
In response to the Senate vote, the online eye exam company Opternative said in a statement that it “commended” the Connecticut legislature for its action. The proposal passed by both the Senate and the House is “a sensible solution that champions patient access while making sure safeguards are in place to protect the safety of all residents,” Steven Lee, OD, chief scientific officer of Opternative, said in the statement.
Opternative developed the first online refractive eye exam.
The Connecticut legislation requires an in-person eye exam for patients to obtain an initial contact lens prescription and for their first renewal of that prescription, according to language in the legislation. Residents of the state can use online prescription renewal services for any subsequent renewals, according to Opternative. (Language that would have set an expiration date on contact lens prescriptions was removed from the bill during the legislative process.)
“This requirement means that the vast majority of contact lens wearers, who are healthy and have previously had an in-person eye exam, will be allowed to use online prescription renewal services. Connecticut legislators emphasized this point during legislative debate on the bill,” Opternative said in its statement.