June 22, 2021
President Pro Tempore Nesbitt
Senate Majority Leader Shirkey
Senate Minority Leader Ananich
Distinguished Members of the Michigan Senate
201 Townsend Street
Lansing, MI 48933
Dear President Pro Tempore Nesbitt, Majority Leader Shirkey, Minority Leader Ananich and
Distinguished Members of the Michigan Senate,
Our coalition, Americans for Vision Care Innovation , has strongly supported legislation this year
in the Michigan House and Senate to help hundreds of thousands of Michigan consumers and
taxpayers who wear glasses and contacts save money and time by bringing online
prescription renewal to Michigan. We supported HB 4356 when it passed the House earlier
this year in March and we strongly support the amended version of HB 4356 that passed out
of the Senate Health Policy Committee last week. This bill is in line with the principles outlined
in the telemedicine law adopted by the legislature and signed by the Governor last year.
Passing this critical consumer and taxpayer legislation through the Senate, which now enjoys
the strong support of the Michigan Society for Eye Physicians and Surgeons, will ensure
Michiganders have the right to get prescription renewals for contact lenses and glasses online.
Taxpayers, who help to fund state employee health insurance systems, will save money too,
and will experience long-term benefits by the example that ocular telemedicine sets for other
state health care programs.
More than 40 million Americans wear contact lenses and millions more wear glasses. Online
prescription renewal tests have been offered for more than four years in this country. During
this time, close to one million online prescription renewal vision tests have been performed
using online platforms and at this time we are unaware of a single adverse event, medical
malpractice claim or consumer initiated medical board complaint as a result of using these
There is no reason to continue to deny Michigan residents the opportunity to save time and
money and have access to the latest vision care technology, especially for Michiganders who
live rural communities or urban communities that don’t have easy access to optometrists and
The opponents of HB 4356 have been engaged in a massive disinformation campaign to
protect their market share and discredit the technology. This bill is supported by leading
Michigan consumer, taxpayer and advocacy organizations, the Michigan Society for Eye
Physicians and Surgeons and leading vision care companies who compete against each other
in the marketplace.
Here are some key facts about online prescription renewal that you should know:
- Consumers must have a prescription from an eye doctor in order to use telemedicine
services initially. These online technologies are designed to help get prescriptions
renewed, not to replace comprehensive eye exams. For millions of Americans, their
prescription changes very little between the ages of 18-50, and the American Academy
of Ophthalmologists recommends that healthy adults under the age of 40 receive an
in-person eye exam every 5 to 10 years; among older patients, the recommended
interval is 4 years or less. This means that for many of your constituents, there is no
need to return to a provider’s office on an annual basis simply to renew a contact lens
- These services are easy to use and are available 24 hours a day. Your constituents
no longer have to rush across town, drive for miles to the nearest city or take off work
to get a prescription renewed – or worse, travel for hours if they live in a community
with no eye doctors. This is especially important during public health emergencies
when offices may be closed. These services are also generally far less expensive for
consumers than visiting an eye care provider in person.
- Customers who use these services go through eye health screenings as part of the
process and their online prescription. The clinical data is reviewed and approved by
ophthalmologists and optometrists, who are specifically licensed to practice in the
state where the exam occurs.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has weighed in with concerns about
legislation in several states that attempted to ban ocular telemedicine, saying
that banning telemedicine limits a consumer’s ability to access eye care services and
could raise the cost of eyeglasses and contact lenses.
We strongly urge you to pass HB 4356. Michigan’s contact lens consumers are entitled to the
greatest possible degree of choice and convenience in the way they renew their lens
prescriptions – and at the lowest possible prices.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Americans for Vision Care Innovation
Americans for Vision Care Innovation is a bipartisan coalition of taxpayer advocates,
consumer groups, think tanks and innovative companies who have joined together to ensure
consumers across the country have access to the latest cost-saving and time-saving eye care
technologies. The companies that have joined our coalition compete against each other in the
marketplace but are united in support of the use of telemedicine for vision care and online