This week (August 20-24, 2018) is the CDC’s Contact Lens Health Week. The observance, designed to heighten awareness among consumers about the dangers of unsafe contact lens practices, also serves as a reminder to eye care providers to properly educate patients and report cases of complications to the FDA’s Medwatch system.
In their weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report (MMWR) released on August 17th, the CDC presented six cases of contact lens related complications and their long-term implications. All six patients reported some level of noncompliance with wearing instructions and three of the six obtained their contact lenses without a valid prescription from online or unlicensed retailers. These cases serve as a reminder of the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, the value of patient education and the ongoing need for strict enforcement of regulations surrounding the sale of contact lenses, which are classified as medical devices by the FDA, without a valid prescription.
CooperVision® continues to advocate for patient safety and the need to keep doctors central to the contact lens patient experience. We pursue those efforts both independently and in our role as a charter member of the Healthcare Alliance for Patient Safety (APS) in partnership with the AOA and other organizations. Cases like those reported in the current MMWR only serve to highlight the importance of those efforts.
The regular reporting of contact lens complications through the FDA’s Medwatch system will assist ongoing advocacy efforts by accumulating the data necessary to support the case for careful management of patients wearing contact lenses. We urge all practitioners who do not regularly report complications to Medwatch to consider doing so. Because the vast majority of contact lens patients in the US are cared for by optometrists, those efforts are best supported by active involvement of the profession in the reporting of contact lens-related complications.
CooperVision is committed to the safety of all contact lens wearers and to the practitioners who care for them. Visit our ECP Viewpoints’ Legislative Advocacy page for regular updates related to our ongoing efforts to advocate for patient safety. Learn more about Contact Lens Health Week and tools available to help promote the campaign here.