Indiana is one of three states that bans online eye exams for prescriptive lenses. A recently filed lawsuit challenges the restriction.
Indiana has expanded telehealth services in recent years, with the exclusion of ophthalmology. The lawsuit filed by Institute for Justice seeks to lift a ban on health care technology that allows doctors to prescribe glasses or contacts after a computer or smartphone eye test.
Attorney Joshua Windham says Indiana’s telemedicine exemption is unconstitutional.
"Using government power in this way, to restrict access to care, to restrict innovative new technology, solely to protect their bottom lines is not a legitimate use of government power," says Windham.
Some ophthalmologists say online tests are inaccurate, and that in-person tests catch other health problems.
Windham says 39 other states have expanded laws to allow this practice.
"Indiana tried to do that in 2016, they mostly succeeded but were frustrated in part by the efforts of a special interest group that wanted to lobby to protect its outdated business model," says Windham.
A bill to remove the restriction failed to get a hearing during this legislative session.