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Why Are Contact Lenses So Hard To Get? Gov’t Collusion That’s Why!

A COMMENTARY by Steve Sherman

If you have perfect vision, stop what you’re doing right now, call your mom, and thank her for the good genes that made you a 20/20 miracle. If you have less than perfect vision, you know how much it stinks. Glasses are fine. Many have cool trendy looks, but it’s just not the same as wearing nothing, especially if you’re active.

Contacts are good. They fix your vision and you can participate easily in most activities. It’s still a pain; you could be playing basketball and simply rub your eye wrong, and half of your world goes fuzzy. The prepared person always has an extra pair or two of contacts, stashed away somewhere for just such an occasion. If you don’t have an extra, you’ll walk around wishing you had a pirate patch, cursing your friends who have perfect vision and your parents’ horrible genetics.

My mom had bad eyesight and I drew the short straw. I grew up with the above scenario. I loved contacts, because I never found a pair of glasses I liked. I always had a small bottle of eye drops and a spare pair of lenses in my pocket — just in case. Then one day I had Lasik surgery.

My whole world changed. I’ve had perfect vision ever since. I tossed my contacts aside and never looked back. Then I had kids. It turns out that Lasik surgery doesn’t remove poor eyesight from your DNA — who knew? I now have two teens who are living with spare contacts in their pockets.

Have you ever noticed how expensive contacts are? They’re horrible, especially when you’re buying for two people, and they come with the mandatory eye exam from the optometrist. Then you have to order the right ones, maybe even a year’s supply. Of course, the supply never lasts as long as it’s supposed to, but if you need more, simply call your eye doc — he’s happy to order you more, for a hefty price.

Does anyone see anything wrong with this whole system?

With technology advancing so rapidly and almost everything available online, why not contacts? Why can’t we get contacts online and have many companies competing for our business? Why are we required to visit that eye doctor and only order from them?

Basically, we are suffering from a rigged game. Supply and demand have been tossed out the window. Manufacturers and eye doctors have cozied up in bed together to control the system. They control the access and they can manipulate the prices. You have to go to an eye doctor and pay him for an exam to get access to the contacts you need, at a price that is not controlled by economic principles.

But, that’s not how it is everywhere.

In Europe and Japan, you don’t need a prescription to order contacts. Just order what you want. Freedom works, but we don’t have it in the U.S. How about a generic cheap brand? Wouldn’t that be great? If we had a true free market, we would have access to much more than we do now. It’s time we break the stranglehold of collusion between the eye doctors and the contact manufacturers.

Some politicians are trying. On March 9, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) held a hearing titled “Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws.” It’s time for the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to intervene in the name of cheap vision. Congress should not allow the giants of the contact lens industry control the system and make it criminal if someone tries to purchase contact lenses without a prescription.

Implementing a few common sense changes to the laws, along with enforcing the collusion laws we currently have, and we could enter a whole new world filled with access to marvelous vision products online. I know the millennials in my house would love that. How about an app to order your contacts the minute you run out? Two days later they are at your door, and you’re back in business. Really, it doesn’t have to be so hard, but we need government to stop protecting their friends in big business.

First published at Red Alert Politics.


S.C. Sherman

Senior Editor

Steve Sherman is an author, popular radio commentator, and former Iowa House candidate. His articles have appeared nationally in both print and online for Townhall, Human Events, Clash Daily, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, Forbes, and others. His most recent novel, a political thriller titled Mercy Shot, and all titles by Steve can be found on Amazon or at www.scsherman.com.

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