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Inside this issue
  FDA issues warning letter against Opternative  
  Following persistent prodding by AOA, the FDA sent Opternative a warning letter, instructing the company to take "prompt action" to correct violations of the law related to its failure to obtain necessary approvals for a medical device. The letter, issued in October 2017, informed Opternative that if the company does not take corrective action, the FDA could enforce the law via seizure, injunction and civil money penalties. Read more from AOA's webpage.  


  Children's vision bill set for hearing  
  Assembly Bill 2444 by Assembly Member Burke has been set for hearing in the Assembly Education Committee on April 11, 2018. Sponsored by the California State Board of Optometry and strongly supported by COA, AB 2444 has three main objectives:

1. Prevent children from slipping through the cracks. AB 2444 requires the state Department of Education to formalize a follow-up process for students who are identified at school as having a vision problem to connect them to needed care.

2. Education on the importance of good vision and healthy eyes. The bill creates an informational sheet for parents and teachers on how important the eyes are for learning and how to access eye and vision care.

3. Early detection of eye and vision problems. AB 2444 establishes a pilot program in participating school districts to encourage comprehensive eye examinations for students in order to improve educational outcomes.

We need your help to demonstrate support for this important measure. Click here to send a support letter now. Click here to read recent press coverage of this legislation.


  FTC Contact Lens Rule workshop  
  Last week, optometrists and students from across the nation attended the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop in Washington, DC to provide feedback on the FTC's plan to impose a costly and burdensome new prescription retention mandate on optometrists and to insist on a crackdown on illegal contact lens sales that have the potential to harm the public.

The workshop also explored issues regarding the contact lens marketplace, patient access, prescription release and portability, and patient health and safety concerns. Here is a link to AOA's summary of the meeting.

Two researchers from the Progressive Policy Institute offered a paper, "The Case for Online Vision Tests," arguing that online tests could solve the access problem for the one-quarter of counties nationwide have no optometrist.

COA has issued its own fact sheet about online vision tests that highlights important policy concerns and directly refutes the access argument. COA has also produced a video on this topic. COA is proactively meeting with key lawmakers to educate them about this issue.

The FTC welcomes written comments on the issues discussed at the workshop. Interested parties may file a comment online until April 6, 2018.

                       COA President Dr. Ranjeet Bajwa


  COA Legislative Day  
  COA's Legislative Day is less than five weeks away! Be sure to register now for this year's Legislative Day in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Optometry is facing several important issues this year, including children's vision, scope of practice, corporate practice and online eye exams. We need a big show of force to demonstrate to the Legislature that their local optometrists are active and engaged this year.

Please note we have rescheduled the optional pre-Leg Day webinar to Thursday, April 12, 2018, from 12:15 to 1:00 p.m. This webinar is your chance to go over the talking points in advance and obtain answers any questions you may have about the program.


  Ed Hernandez top vote getter at CDP convention  
  Congratulations to Senator Ed Hernandez, OD who received the most votes at the recent California Democratic Party (CDP) convention in San Diego in his bid for lieutenant governor! Many thought his opponent, Eleni Kounalakis, would grab the party's endorsement. She is the daughter of prominent Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakapolous, who has made big campaign contributions to Democratic candidates in the past. While Senator Hernandez received a majority, Kounalakis had enough support to keep Hernandez below the 60 percent threshold needed for to receive the CDP endorsement.

Ed Hernandez got 42 percent, Eleni Kounalakis received 41 percent, and Jeff Bleich had 7 percent of the vote. Eleven percent of 2,791 delegates voted for "no endorsement." As no candidate received 60 percent, the party is not endorsing in the race.

Senator Hernandez will need to raise millions of dollars to get his message out to voters. It will be many years before COA has another shot of electing a practicing optometrist to an office so close to the governorship. We need all optometrists to donate to the Ed Hernandez for Lt. Governor campaign today!