Tens of thousands of Montanans wear contact lenses. We buy them at stores, we buy them online, we buy them when we need them and wherever we can get the most bang for our buck. Seems pretty straightforward, right?

Wrong.

Believe it or not, there are actually forces in Washington, D.C., that are working to limit our consumer choices when it comes to contact lenses. In a few weeks, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) bill. Powerful lobbyists in Washington are pushing to add language to this bill that would severely undermine the Federal Trade Commission’s recently proposed update to the Contact Lens Rule.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Contact Lens Rule does a lot to ensure consumer choice and safety. Right now, contact lens patients are required to receive a copy of their prescription free of charge after a contact lens fitting, whether or not the patient asks for it. The result is less market distortion and more competition, leading to more choices and lower prices for Montana’s consumers.

What the Federal Trade Commission is proposing is a common-sense rule that optometrists, consumers, lawmakers and all Montanans should support.

The proposed update to the rule would save time and money both for consumers and optometrists. Consumers would be educated about their rights under federal law and be given a copy of their prescription proactively. This change would increase choice for consumers, while also cutting down on the time optometrists must spend verifying prescriptions for customers who choose to buy contact lenses outside their offices.

It’s a win-win.

U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines can stand up for contact lens consumers in Montana.

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If you wear contact lenses or if you value a free and competitive market, please join me in calling our U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines to oppose any effort in Congress to target the Federal Trade Commission’s recently issued rule seeking to make sure all consumers receive copies of their contact lens prescriptions.

Together we can tell Tester and Daines to stand with Montana’s contact lens consumers.

Sophie Moon of Missoula is board chair of the Montana Public Interest Research Group.

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