At Hoopes Vision, it is extremely rare that we make a public statement on a specific political or legal issue. This is one of those rare occasions where we ask that you indulge us as we address a topic about which we feel strongly. Utah lawmakers are currently considering a bill, HB 304, which would eliminate the need for an in-person doctor visit before obtaining medical devices. Notably, this would affect the process for obtaining contact lenses, which under current law can only be dispensed under a valid prescription from a doctor.
As an ophthalmology clinic that primarily performs vision correction surgery, contact lenses do not represent a major part of our own scope of practice. However, we are intimately familiar with the results of unmonitored, irresponsible contact lens use. Every year, our Board-certified cornea specialists see hundreds of cases of corneal disease, ulcers, and injury, both at our own center and as the on-call ophthalmologists at local hospitals. In a majority of those cases, contact lens abuse is a contributing factor – often the main factor. Some of these cases are sight-threatening, and many of them are extremely painful and long in healing.
We believe that, properly used, contact lenses are an excellent vision correction option that is effective and safe. We believe that proper use includes regular renewal of the contact lens prescription by a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist, as part of a comprehensive eye examination. This ensures that contact lens users’ eye health is being monitored on a regular basis, that the lenses’ fit and prescription are being updated, and that new contact lens users are being taught proper insertion, removal, and cleaning procedures.
We urge you to educate yourself on this issue, which we believe to be one of public health, and to contact your legislator, telling him or her to oppose HB 304. Thank you for your attention. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.