The Federal Trade Commission recently warned 45 contact lens prescribers that they must give patients their prescription and can’t force patients to buy lenses from them. The letters went to practices that had drawn complaints from patients who had been unable to get their prescriptions.
The law says contact lens prescribers can’t charge a fee for releasing the information, either.
Another rule requires eye doctors to give patients a copy of eyeglass prescriptions, too. They’re supposed to do that even if the patient doesn’t ask for it. Like with contacts, prescribers can’t charge for a prescription, or force their patients to buy glasses from them.
The FTC recently sent warning letters to 38 eyeglass prescribers who had been accused by patients of not following that rule.
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The rules are intended to give patients an opportunity to shop around for glasses and contact lenses. Even if you don’t intend to shop around, you should get your prescription in case you need an emergency refill of contact lenses or another pair of glasses when your eye doctor is closed, or when you’re traveling.
The FTC did not identify the contacts and glasses prescribers who received warning letters. The letters are intended to get them to follow the law. If they ignore the letters and continue violating it, the agency could impose fines of up to $16,000 per violation.