Analysis of Patient Trends in Online Contact Lens Retail

Title Analysis of Patient Trends in Online Contact Lens Retail
Author, Co-Author Cheryl Zabrowski
Program Number
Great Hall Foyer
Abstract Purpose: Once a patient places an online contact lens order, retailers must send prescription verification requests to their doctor’s office. According to the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (2003) the office has 8 business hours to verify and return the prescription, after which time the retailer can fill regardless of status. In order to better understand the reason for noncompliance with valid prescriptions, we looked at several variables that may affect it. This study analyzed invalid online ordering trends within our practice as they relate to the patient demographic and lens type.

Methods: All faxed prescription verification requests from online retailers sent to the New England Eye Commonwealth clinic were analyzed retrospectively from July 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015. The following data was analyzed: Age, gender, ethnicity, whether the prescription was valid, reason why it was invalid, time between fax request received and verification sent back, months prescription has been expired (if applicable), replacement schedule of contact lens, type of contact lens (spherical, toric, multifocal), and range of prescription.

Results: A total of 340 patients’ requests were analyzed. 95 were male, 245 were female. 43.5% (148/340) of all prescription verification requests received were invalid. The most common reason was expired prescription. The most common lens type was spherical. On average it took 1.12 days for verification requests to be faxed back. Full data was not available for every patient.

Conclusions: Almost half of all contact lens prescriptions that patients tried to fill online were invalid according to this study. The worst demographic seems to be females in the 20-39 range, and low spherical prescriptions. Of the invalid prescriptions, replacement schedule did not seem to be a factor. This study may act as a catalyst to encourage practitioners to target certain patients in terms of education regarding safe and healthy contact lens practices.
Affiliation of Co-Authors