why are prescriptions required for eyes?

Discussion in 'Eye-Care' started by Bucky, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. Bucky

    Bucky Guest

    I can see why prescriptions are required for drugs, because those can
    be easily abused or sold in the black market. But to me, eye
    prescriptions don't seem that critical.

    My analogy is shoes. You could probably mess up your
    feet/knees/legs/back by wearing the wrong size or type of shoes, or
    improper inserts long term. Yet a shoe prescription from a podiatrist
    is not required for people to buy shoes.

    Of course, everyone should get an initial refraction done
    professionally. But what's wrong with buying disposable contacts that
    are a little higher or lower than your prescription to see how they
    perform? You're not going to be seriously injured. Maybe get some
    headaches or eyestrain, that's all. And if you do have problems, then
    go see the optometrist (just like you'd see a podiatrist if shoes were
    giving you problems).
    Bucky, Jan 26, 2007
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  2. Bucky

    Dan Abel Guest

    I have mixed feelings. There is a podiatrist who visits my father's
    Home. He gets a bunch of money for trimming toenails. It's all charged
    to Medicare. He wants my dad to get surgery. My sister takes him in to
    a doctor. The doctor is not happy. My dad has one kidney. It barely
    works. He is diabetic. He has no feeling in his feet. He is 90. He
    has no problems with his feet other than needing the corns filed off.
    He is not a candidate for this surgery.

    Things are weird. I shared an office for five years with a woman who's
    father was a pharmacist. They had prescription aspirin. The tens
    require a prescription. Of course, you can just take two fives. No

    Still, I'm going to see the OD. If I had to pay for it, I might think
    twice about it.
    Dan Abel, Jan 27, 2007
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  3. A better analogy would be "Why do I need a licensed funeral director?
    Why do I need a dentist? Why do I need a licensed vet? Why do I need
    a lawyer? The answer, obviously, that all of the professions have
    evolved over the centuries so that the individuals who practice those
    professions have invested a lot of time, money and effort to becoming
    masters of their chosen professions. They are the gatekeepers of the
    information that you want to "play with" as an unlicensed
    doctor_my_eye, Jan 27, 2007
  4. Bucky

    Mark A Guest

    If you agree that everyone should get an initial refraction done
    professionally, how are your going to enforce only allowing someone to only
    make an minor adjustment to the initial Rx? Either all refractions have be
    done by a licensed OD/MD, or none of them would have to be.

    One could argue about how long a refraction should be valid for before it
    expires, and in some states a Rx for contacts expires one year after the
    exam date, and in other states it is two years or longer. But expiration of
    a professionally done refraction is different than coming up with a new Rx
    on your own.

    But (if you really, really want to) there is always Photoshop.
    Mark A, Jan 27, 2007
  5. Bucky

    Bucky Guest

    I think you're misinterpreting my question. You're talking about
    licensed vs unlicensed. I'm talking about being legally required to
    have a prescription to buy something.

    Sure, the licensed professionals would be better choices for all of the
    above examples, but I'm not required to have a prescription or see a
    licensed professional to have a funeral, buy a toothbrush, buy dog
    food, or hire a lawyer. I have a choice to do it myself (amateur).
    Bucky, Jan 27, 2007
  6. Bucky

    Bucky Guest

    No, I didn't say that people should be legally required to have an
    initial refraction done. I just meant that it would probably be a good
    idea. And I also believe that refractions should only be done by
    licensed professionals. However, I also think that it should be fine
    for anyone to buy any pair of glasses or contacts without a
    prescription, just like we can buy shoes.
    Bucky, Jan 27, 2007
  7. Bucky

    Mark A Guest

    You can buy reading glasses at a discount store without an Rx.

    If you can legally alter your own Rx for contacts, then you are refracting
    yourself without a license.

    If you want to purchase lenses outside of the US, then there are some
    websites where you can just tell them your refraction without written copy
    of an Rx (I know they will do it for glasses, but not sure about contacts).
    Most of these sites will ship to the US.
    Mark A, Jan 27, 2007
  8. Bucky

    Charles Guest

    You can readily get prescription glasses for any Rx you want to invent
    using the pull-down menus on the web sites. It must be legal since the
    sites are easy to find. Contacts are a different story. I happen to
    agree with you that people should we within their rights to experiment
    with their own eyeballs if they so choose, but it's not currently
    legal. If you try hard enough, you can find sites to sell you contacts
    with no Rx though.

    Charles, Jan 27, 2007
  9. Bucky

    otisbrown Guest

    Dear Charles,

    It is also legal to buy blood-pressure measuring equipment

    Thus if you check you B.P. and find 120/80 you indeed
    have no problem.

    It is also legal to buy plus and minus lenses and look
    through them.

    You can buy them on the internet (a pair for $10).

    You can also find a Snellen on the internet.

    If you are reading the Snellen at 20/70, and find
    a -1.25 diopter minus lens "clears" the 20/20 line,
    then that is indeed your refractive STATE.

    The issue is this. Do you have the right to do this?

    If you wished you could go to the OD and have him
    check. His methods are the same a per above.

    He will check for retinal problems (organic) and
    the like. But once it is clear that a -1.25 diopter
    will clear the 20/20 line -- then you do have a choice
    in where you obtain that minus lens.

    Given the availablity of minus lenses of various powers,
    you could determine your own refractive STATE if
    you choose to do so.

    otisbrown, Jan 27, 2007
  10. Bucky

    Mark A Guest

    Unless the website business is operating outside the US, then you must send
    or fax a copy to them of the Rx, or provide the phone number of the OD so
    they can verify. But there are some websites that are outside of the US that
    will make any pair of lenses you want without an Rx. I don't know about
    contacts, but I would bet you could order whatever you want from some

    Even though they will ship to the US, it probably is illegal to do so, just
    like it is technically illegal to purchase drugs from Canada and have them
    shipped to the US. But I doubt that the customs services has stopped very
    many of these shipments of lenses.
    Mark A, Jan 27, 2007
  11. Bucky

    Victek Guest

    The most obvious reason why lens prescriptions are legally required is to
    minimize the risk of operating dangerous machinery, such as automobiles.
    Can you imagine drivers, pilots, ship captains, etc. self-prescribing?
    People cannot be trusted to be responsible and use common sense in such
    situations. How could you even tell if you hit on the correct prescription?
    Victek, Jan 27, 2007
  12. Bucky

    Dan Abel Guest

    Never thought of that. We had a mandated financial report at work that
    was needed Right Now. It was a yearly report. The software had a bug
    in it, and the numbers simply didn't add up. It was one page. The
    accounting folks knew what the numbers were supposed to be. I suggested
    to the Little Cheese that I just edit the print file and fix it. I told
    her it would take two hours, a few seconds to do the edit and the rest
    to figure out how to make it editable and then convert it back to a
    print file. The Big Cheese came by and asked what the problem was. He
    said my solution was ridiculous. Just import into Excel, or retype it.
    Å clerical person could do that, you didn't need a computer programmer.
    Dan Abel, Jan 27, 2007
  13. Bucky

    Dan Abel Guest

    My father has US$300 shoes. They look like regular tennis shoes. They
    were prescribed by a podiatrist.
    Dan Abel, Jan 27, 2007
  14. Bucky

    CatmanX Guest

    Literally, prescribe means before (pre) and write (scribe). It is
    simply putting the numbers down on paper.

    Why does it have to come from a licensed practitioner? Because there
    are laws that say such. The laws were enacted as professions became
    licensed and responsible for their actions, as well to protect the
    professions. The wrong glasses can cause problems with depth
    perception and acuity, thus causing drivers to crash and injure
    people. They can cause eyestrain, double vision and headache.

    You can also read posts from Cletis in this NG which is probably the
    best reason not to allow open slather prescribing. The government
    decided to protect the public from themselves and deluded individuals
    like Cletis.

    dr grant
    CatmanX, Jan 27, 2007
  15. Bucky

    Dan Abel Guest

    The examples you gave are regulated. Still, there's a lot of dangerous
    machinery that aren't.
    Dan Abel, Jan 27, 2007
  16. Bucky

    Charles Guest

    None of these professions require proof of a doctor's prescription,
    only proof that you can see.

    Charles, Jan 29, 2007
  17. Bucky

    Dan Abel Guest

    Not my experience. If you fail the vision screening, then you don't get
    a driver's license without a form from an eye doctor. I've done this
    twice, my wife once.
    Dan Abel, Jan 29, 2007
  18. Bucky

    Charles Guest

    What I mean is, I can self prescribe my glasses so long as I pass the
    vision test. The FAA/DMV doesn't care as long as I can see. The idea
    that an Rx is required to protect the public from blind pilots doesn't
    make sense.

    Charles, Jan 29, 2007
  19. Bucky

    Victek Guest

    You may be correct - no agency has ever required me to present a doctor's
    vision prescription before issuing me a license. Practically though, the
    need to pass a vision test effectively forces me (and most everybody else)
    to get a proper exam and prescription. My point is it's a public safety
    issue. Even if you could evaluate your own vision accurately and write your
    own prescription, who would fill it? Opticians I have dealt with have
    always required a doctor's prescription (not more than two years old) before
    they will make lenses/glasses.
    Victek, Jan 29, 2007
  20. Bucky

    otisbrown Guest

    Assuming you had a trial-lens "frame", and
    a box of trial lenses (in 1/4 diopter steps),
    and a days traing and experience you
    could probably determine your refractive STATE
    that would not be much difference that
    a measurement made in an office.

    After all they are the same thing.

    What the OD can do in his office is to check
    for retinal-organic problems. And also
    check for eye-ball pressure.

    But once these items are cleared off the
    table, then verifying your refractive STATE
    would not take much training.

    Just on man's opinion.


    otisbrown, Jan 29, 2007
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