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OOPA/AOA Working for You

1-800 Contacts changes online vision test marketing following AOA complaint

Consumers must first acknowledge 1-800 Contacts’ online vision test is not a comprehensive eye exam before using the technology, a change that comes after the AOA voiced health and safety concerns to  the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

“ExpressExam,” 1-800 Contacts’ prescription renewal platform that operates on Visibly (nee Opternative) technology, drew AOA attention this past March over its use of the word “exam” in the service’s name. In a letter to the FTC, AOA argued the ExpressExam name and 1-800 Contacts’ website leave the public with the wrong impression about the content of the service, which could potentially threaten eye health and vision if an incorrect perception leads to individuals’ lapse in regular, comprehensive eye exams.

“We believe that the use of the term ‘exam’ by 1-800 Contacts is a material misrepresentation that could affect a consumer’s choice to obtain an in-person, comprehensive eye examination or to obtain another company’s online vision test,” wrote AOA President Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., in a letter to Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

To further illustrate this point, AOA cited an online health care terminology survey it commissioned in February among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers that found:

  • 56 percent thought an “ExpressExam” was the same exam/test that a doctor would provide during an in-person office visit, but in less time.
  • 49 percent thought “ExpressExam” would afford them an opportunity to talk about their eye issues with a doctor – that opportunity does not exist through ExpressExam, AOA says.