Close up of optometrist using an iPad to look at a patient's electronic medical records to diagnose their eye condition

By: George Leef –

One of the many holes in the “social contract” theory of government is that the power of the state is so often harnessed by interest groups to protect themselves against competition. Nobody ever agreed to that, but it happens all the time, inflicting losses on the consuming public.

A recent instance of this is the aggressive lobbying campaign being waged by the American Optometric Association (AOA) against innovations that now make it possible for Americans to get accurate eye exams and lens prescriptions over the Internet. By using such innovations, millions of Americans who need vision correction could save substantial amounts of money. But savings for them means less revenue for optometrists and they are trying to stop that by asking politicians for salvation.

As far as the AOA (with 37,000 members nationwide) is concerned, the villain is new technology that gives consumers less costly alternatives than the old-fashioned office visit. One of those alternatives is called Opternative. It gives consumers an eye exam that takes 25 minutes through a smartphone app. No need to drive, park, and wait. The eye analysis through the phone has been proven to be just as accurate as those done in professional offices.

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