Sometimes industries just die. It happens. It’s painful in those industries. But it happens.
Now in their attempts to eliminate competition, Big Eye has moved on to target the fields of telehealth and telemedicine — online and digital forms of prescription-making that have radically changed how individuals access their doctors. Twenty-first century smartphone and tablet apps like Opternative allow consumers to measure their prescription strength from the comfort of their own homes, where a board-certified ophthalmologist then signs off on it to close the deal. Thanks to this technology, consumers now only have to go to the brick-and-mortar eye office once every two years for a comprehensive eye health exam rather than every single time a lens refill is needed.
Of course, Big Eye is afraid that this new technology will take away their customers, so they are doing everything in their power to get it outlawed.
Although these lobbyists have been fighting a losing battle thus far, they are certainly not giving up. Recently, Big Eye entered Connecticut and Rhode Island, trying to pass pieces of legislation that would corner the market by eliminating access to telemedicine. Led by Rep. Kevin Ryan in Connecticut and Sen. Frank Ciccone/Rep. Rob Jacquard in Rhode Island, the bills — one of which passed the House in Rhode Island — use tricky language. These bills argue that telehealth is a “dangerous” technology, and state governments should regulate the market in order to “protect” customers.