Proposal in Indiana Legislature Would Overturn 2016’s Prohibition of Online Eye Exams

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Map of Indiana.
INDIANAPOLIS—A bill introduced in the Indiana legislature late last month would amend a section of the state’s code with new language permitting online eye tests, according to the proposed legislation.

Rep. Cindy Kirchofer, a Republican, is listed as the sponsor of the bill, officially House Bill 1331, and three other representatives have stepped up as co-sponsors of the legislation. They are: Rep. Sean Eberhart (Republican), Rep. Wendy McNamara (Republican), and Rep. Robin Shackleford, a Democrat, according to the legislature’s website.

The proposed change to Indiana regulatory code relating to “professionals and occupations” would permit Indiana residents to utilize online eye exams as offered by companies such as Opternative, which offers its online eye exam in 39 states (as of late 2016). (Note, Opternative, which developed the first online refractive eye exam, has filed a lawsuit in South Carolina, one of the state’s that do not permit online eye exams, seeking to overturn that’s state’s regulation, as VMail reported in October.

Indiana passed a law in 2016 that prohibited online eye exams.

After the bill’s first reading, it was referred to the Public Health committee, according to the Indiana General Assembly’s website. The proposal is designed to “remove the restriction on the prescribing of ophthalmic devices through telemedicine and sets conditions on when a provider may, through telemedicine, prescribe medical devices,” according to a digest of the bill.

The wording in the proposed change also notes that Indiana’s regulating body “may not establish standards concerning the practice of ocular telemedicine or ocular telehealth that are more restrictive than the standards that are set under this article or by administrative rule and are applicable to the practitioner's in person ocular practice.”