Optometry not the kind of industry which needs to be disrupted

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As I have written extensively, the 2015 Legislative Session is all about “disruption.”

In practical terms, this means an app like Uber improves upon the transportation industry; AirBnB improves upon the hospitality industry; and, not without controversy, vouchers improve the education system, while medical marijuana disrupts the health care industry.

Heading into the fourth week of  session, these are the debates still dividing lawmakers and teams of lobbyists.

Despite being a proponent of “disruption,” even I recognize that disrupting every industry isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Case in point is when big, online corporations disrupt the optometry industry.

As Dr. Andrea Janoff explains in an op-ed that legislation that has been filed this year that would make it easier for patients to be targeted and ultimately harmed by discount contact lens websites and retailers. Put frankly, 1-800 contacts “free market” legislation would drive an even larger wedge between the eye care provider and the patient.

On-line contact lens vendors have facilitated patients receiving contact lenses well beyond the prescription’s expiration dates. Some patients, who should have returned for an eye examination in one to two years to obtain an updated contact lens prescription, were able to refill their old contact lens prescriptions on-line well beyond documented expiration dates.

Janoff recently evaluated two such patients — one after four years and the other after six years of repeated online purchase of contact lenses using an original (old) prescription.

Of the two patients, one had significant corneal damage because the contact lens fit was slowly “suffocating” the eye to the point that abnormal blood vessels had grown.

That’s not the kind of “disruption” Florida needs more of.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.