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February 1961

The Contact Lens Gap—Delegation or Default?

Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;65(2):161-162. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.01840020163001

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A resolution submitted by the Section on Ophthalmology and passed by the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association in June of 1960 defines the prescription and application of contact lenses as a function of the practice of medicine. Since the technique of fitting requires the application of drugs, solutions, and foreign material to living tissues, this definition appears accurate. But, since judicial ruling on this question has not been elicited by a court test, an anomalous situation exists whereby individuals may prescribe and apply (fit) contact lenses without medical training or a medical license. Other individuals fit and dispense contact lenses under the authority of and with various degrees of supervision by members of the medical profession. Finally, some ophthalmologists personally prescribe and fit lenses for their patients.

There are probably more than a million satisfied wearers of contact lenses in this country today. An ophthalmologist who does

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