Greetings, fellow doctors:
I write to update you on COA’s actions relative to various issues of what is called “disruptive technology,” in other words, technology that is being used to unlawfully replace the services of an eye doctor. As many of you may be aware, Devlyn Optical and Smart Vision Exams have announced a partnership at three Devlyn locations in the Los Angeles area. “Smart Vision Exams” allow ophthalmologists to analyze nonsubjective auto refraction results remotely and issue a digital eyeglass prescription. COA believes the manner in which these services are being performed is unlawful. COA has filed a complaint against both entities with the State Board of Optometry (SBO) and Medical Board of California.
COA and AOA are extremely concerned about opticians offering to fill lens prescriptions based on auto refraction technology. In addition to AOA’s actions, on the advice of COA legal counsel, COA has taken the following steps to prevent companies from issuing prescriptions based primarily on auto refraction:
Filed complaints against Opternative, Simple Contacts, Jins Optical, 2020 Now, Smart Vision Labs and Devlyn Optical with the appropriate state agency.
AOA has filed complaints with the Fair Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration
Collected examples of harm
Testified at SBO hearings to encourage the SBO to take action against online refraction
Met privately with regulators about our concerns
Encouraged other organizations to oppose prescriptions based on auto refraction
Reached out to reporters to bring attention to the issue
Developed a video and published other messages aimed at the public about online exams via social media
You can help succeed in this legal battle. If you have a patient between 18 and 40 who came to you asymptomatic, but had a life- or sight-threatening condition that you were able to detect during your exam, please report the case to COA. We need your help to collect these patient examples to aid COA in demonstrating the risks to consumers, the media and elected officials.
This is about the health and safety of our patients and the larger public. This is a top priority for AOA and COA. Please watch for updates in the e-Governmental Affairs Weekly and monthly COA Member News. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stevin Minie, OD
California Optometric Association