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The Power of the Patient Voice: Promoting Comprehensive Eye Care in the States

We’re only weeks into most states’ legislative calendars, and we are already seeing the impact of patients, eye care providers, and manufacturers raising their voices on behalf of eye health and vision safety.

State Update: Indiana

Last week, the Indiana General Assembly held a hearing on House Bill 1331—2017 legislation that would allow for the sole use of an online refractive test to prescribe contact lenses.

Johnson and Johnson Vision and the Indiana Optometric Association (IOA) were on the ground meeting with policymakers and sharing our concerns about how this bill may affect patients across Indiana—and importantly, we weren’t alone.

As providers, we know the impact of the patient voice in sharing the value of a comprehensive exam and the doctor-patient relationship, from the early diagnosis of a life-changing condition to addressing the evolving physiology of patients’ eyes.

And now, lawmakers know it too. During the hearing, patients shared their powerful, personal accounts with lawmakers on the critical importance of routine vision care.

I have severe concerns about the unintended consequence of this bill. I am alive thanks to treatment for a condition that was revealed in a routine eye exam many years ago. I was operated on with radiation therapy which killed [a malignant tumor] in my eye, saved a considerable amount of vision, and very clearly saved my life.”

Ocular Melanoma Survivor

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to work alongside fellow vision care advocates across many states to educate legislators about the importance of striking a balance between leveraging innovative health technologies within the future of telemedicine, and protecting patients’ eye health and safety.

The Contact Lens Patient Journey

The contact lens patient's journey is a five-step process. As we do, we invite you to join us. In fact, we’re working to make it as easy as possible to start the conversation with your legislators about how all of us—from eye care providers to manufacturers to sellers—have a shared responsibility to promote contact lens patients’ access, choice, safety, and eye health in our marketplace.

How? Along with a range of other resources on our website, the Contact Lens Patient Journey is an interactive tool that walks through how a patient goes from a comprehensive eye exam—including a refractive test— to their contact lens purchase.

This tool helps to highlight that a refractive test alone is not a sufficient measure of a patient’s ocular health.

We look forward to providing you with updates on 2017 state legislation and our activity on the ground to support policies that promote contact lens patient health and safety.

Please continue to contact me this year with your perspectives, insights, and feedback.