…and more cheaply, too, thanks to a sure-to-pass bill requiring eye doctors to give patients a copy of their contact lens prescriptions (a 1978 law required the docs to give patients copies of the eyeglass 'scripts.)
Thus one more vestige of medical paternalism bites the dust (the Rubicon will have been truly crossed when the prescription drug regime is finally dismantled).
From the SF Chron account:
For years, optometrists and ophthalmologists blocked [the law's motive force, California Democratic Rep. Pete] Stark's legislation, saying they feared patients would use outdated or fake prescriptions to buy lenses, possibly leading to damage of their eyes. But consumer groups said the spread of disposable lenses and of a profusion of places, including Web sites, to buy them means wearers are being cheated if they can buy lenses only from their doctors.
If there's now thousands of people going blind from really-off contacts, we know who to blame.
Kudos to Stark but I should mention that, in my two decades of wearing contacts–in NJ, NY, PA, CA, TX, and OH–I always received a contact lense prescription whenever I asked for one.
Stark's wife had a different experience, thus starting his campaign:
The Fremont Democrat first proposed his legislation in 1995 after his wife, Deborah, went to an optometrist in Washington for a new contact lens prescription and was told she couldn't get a copy to take back with her to California if she needed replacement lenses there.
"I was not only incredulous. I was mildly upset," Stark said on the House floor Wednesday during a brief debate on the bill, which passed 406-12.
Quick passage in the Senate and a White House sign-off are expected.