Is your vision and your overall well-being worth a 30 minute wait to see a professional eye doctor in person?

Are you willing to risk your vision, your sight, and your health for simple convenience?

Connecticut patients deserve the best standard of care possible. We shouldn’t let unproven technology put those patients at risk. Getting an eye exam isn’t just about receiving a corrective prescription. In person eye exams often catch more serious conditions and ensure overall health of patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, those who wear contact lenses should receive an annual eye exam from an in-person medical professional to keep their eyes as healthy as possible. Wearing contact lenses comes with several health risks including increasing the propensity to have eye infections and other complications.

Telemedicine is important and can provide critical access to quality care when it works well. Everyday technology is offering new opportunities to provide better health care, and Connecticut has fully embraced what technology can bring to the market place. But, Connecticut should not put patients at risk.

Right now, there are un-proven and un-tested online applications shortcutting the careful and hard work performed by medical professionals across Connecticut. In Connecticut, we want our patients to have the best possible care.

Currently, the technology in online applications doesn’t protect patients, failing to offer the best possible care. They are no substitute for in-person eye exams.

Here’s how these applications work. Through a series of screens presented by applications, that are not approved by the FDA or any other health care regulatory board, a patient is provided a prescription. The patient has no prior relationship with the doctor who reviews the prescription, and those doctors have no access to the patients’ prior medical records.

There have even been incidents where the wrong prescription has been given and where a doctor has not reviewed the online exam.

This presents patients with substandard care without any regard to the overall eye health of the patient. This level of care does not meet the standard of care that is required for telemedicine in the state of Connecticut. It could also leave patients in the dark on other health conditions they might have, like diabetes, high blood presser, even tumors.

In Connecticut, we shouldn’t shortchange the quality of care for simple convenience. Health and patient safety must come first.

When the technology is reliable and patient health is ensured, we should fully embrace technology and its ability to make access to care easier. But until that happens, we shouldn’t put saving time over saving a patient’s sight and preserving their overall health.

HB 6012, An Act Concerning Consumer Protection in Eye Care, just passed the Committee on Public Health on a strong bipartisan vote. As this important bipartisan, common sense legislation continues to move through the General Assembly this session, I encourage my colleagues to support reasonable regulations that places the safety of Connecticut patients before the convenience of the latest unproven technology.

Kevin Ryan is a 13th term state representative serving the 139th House District in Bozrah, Montville, and Norwich. He is a Deputy Speaker and also served eight years as the House Chairman of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. He can be reached by email .

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