WASHINGTON, D.C.—Proponents of ocular telehealth have formed a coalition to advocate for access to online vision care for American consumers. The new group, Americans for Vision Care Innovation, includes consumer and taxpayer advocates, retailers and technology companies. It will encourage states to adopt legislation allowing vision care telehealth services, including online vision testing and online prescription renewal for glasses and contact lens wearers, and to end restrictions on such services where they exist, according to a statement issued by the group.

The coalition will also fight against legislation that would roll back access to online vision care services in the states where it is currently allowed.The group’s initial members include:

• Americans for Tax Reform;
• Center for Freedom and Prosperity
• Citizen Outreach
• Consumer Action
• Lens.com
• League of United Latin American
• National Hispanic Medical
• National Taxpayers Union;
• Opternative
• Progressive Policy Institute
• R Street Institute
• Smart Vision Labs
• 1-800 Contacts

“Vision care telehealth is a win-win for American consumers, increasing convenience, bringing down costs and expanding access to care,” said Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action. “State leaders should be embracing these technologies and encouraging their use, not putting up roadblocks.”

The formation of the coalition comes a week after the American Optometric Association and two major contact lens makers, Johnson & Johnson Vision and CooperVision launched their own advocacy group, the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety. The group said it will work to “advance patient eye health, vision care, and safety and to elevate the doctor-patient relationship,” VMAIL reported.

The launch of the two advocacy groups comes against a backdrop of growing concern about a variety of eyecare and eye health issues being addressed at the state and federal levels, covering such topics as contact lens Rx dispensing, telehealth and online eye tests.