Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA Blog

Sunday, November 13, 2016

South Carolina Bans Online Eye Exams and Opternative Brings Lawsuit

These days you can do almost everything online- grocery shop, find a date and even get an eye exam. If you are outside of South Carolina, that is. This State just passed a hotly contested law banning the practice.

Opternative is a web-based company that offers online eye exams. The eye exams are administered using a computer display and a wireless device, such as a smartphone. The user is asked to step away from his or her display and a wireless device is used as a remote. He or she is then asked a number of questions and to submit certain medical records. The results of the exam and the other information is then forwarded to a licensed ophthalmologist who reviews it and issues a prescription. Many are drawn to the online-based service because it is less expensive than a traditional in office exam, which is usually not covered by health insurance.

The new South Carolina law prohibits the practice of providing prescriptions for glasses and contacts based on an eye exam administered online. Governor Nikki Hayley opposed the law and vetoed it, but her veto was overridden and the law was passed anyway. Some representatives, such as Senator Ray Clearly have defended the law by stating a public health concern.  Specifically, that individuals should submit to an in office eye exam as this is the only type of exam that can detect serious problems, such as tumors. But, not everyone believes that is the real purpose of the law.

Opternative has filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Labor. The company claims that the law has an ulterior motive. Namely, to protect the profits of those who offer traditional eye exams. They allege that this law is unfair in what is supposed to be a free market existing in the United States. The company seeks to have the law declared unconstitutional so that they can resume business in the state. If you are a business owner and have a law related issue that you would like to discuss, contact an experienced business and corporate law attorney today.


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