FTC Warns 15 Marketers of Cosmetic Contact Lenses

For Your Information

On October 12, Federal Trade Commission staff sent warning letters to 15 sellers of non-corrective, cosmetic contact lenses who appeared to be providing contact lenses to consumers without valid prescriptions.

Under the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule, sellers of both corrective and non-corrective cosmetic contact lenses must have a copy of a valid contact lens prescription or verify it with the prescriber before dispensing contact lenses to consumers. Failure to do so can result in civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.

The warning letters include guidance for sellers on their obligations under the Rule, directing them to “The Contact Lens Rule: A Guide for Prescribers and Sellers,” and “Complying with the Contact Lens Rule.” Consumers can learn more about cosmetic contact lenses in “Avoiding an Eyesore: What to Know Before You Buy Cosmetic Contacts,” and about their rights under federal law in “The Eyes Have It - Get Your Prescription.”

In 2003, Congress enacted the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which imposed new prescription release and verification requirements on prescribers and sellers of contact lenses. In July 2004, the Commission issued the Contact Lens Rule to implement the Act. In 2005, Congress amended the law to require prescriptions for purely cosmetic lenses used to change the color or appearance of your eye.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

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