Remember: Your Eye Doctor Should Give You Your Prescriptions After Your Exam

Image courtesy of n4i

Generally, you don’t visit your doctor and then buy the medicine that she prescribes right from her office. Contact lenses are different: you generally order those directly from your doctor’s office, and you often order glasses from the same place too. Yet you don’t actually have to: you have the right to actually buy your glasses or contacts anywhere that you want, whether it’s for a better price or because you really like Warby Parker frames.

The Federal Trade Commission dictates that your doctor has to give you a copy of your prescription to take home, even if you’ve ordered your lenses or glasses already, and even if you don’t ask for one. Having a copy of your own prescription is handy even if you have no plans to go elsewhere for glasses or contacts.

This is called, naturally, the “Contact Lens Rule,” and comes from the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, a 2003 law.

Contact lens retailer 1-800 Contacts is in a unique position to know about violations: yes, they have a vested interest in making sure that consumers get copies of our prescriptions so we can order directly, but they also have the task of confirming prescriptions sent to them from across the country.

1-800 Contacts recently announced that they submitted 28,000 reports of violations to the Federal Trade Commission, which included optometrists refusing to verify their patients’ prescriptions to prevent them from going elsewhere for their contact lenses. If retail eye clinics and doctors’ offices offer competitive pricing, that doesn’t hurt consumers, but it’s an issue if they don’t.

Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses [FTC]

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