The eyes should have it: a copy of the prescription for their eyeglasses. That’s a right protected by the Ophthalmic Practice Rule, also known as the Eyeglass Rule to the millions of people who have benefited from the specs-tacular options it has opened for them over the years. The Rule requires prescribers to give patients a copy of their prescription immediately after an exam to determine the refraction of the patient’s eyes, even if the patient doesn’t ask for it and even if the prescription hasn’t changed. The FTC has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reinforce the protections of the Eyeglass Rule and is asking for your feedback.
In place since 1978, the Eyeglass Rule encourages consumer choice and promotes competition in the market for eyewear. A key component of the Rule is making sure consumers have a copy of their prescription so they can compare prices, styles, and services at local providers, national chains, big box stores, online sellers, and others.
But we’ve heard reports that some prescribers may not be honoring their obligation to give patients a copy of their prescription, whether or not they ask for it. FTC staff has sent warning letters reminding prescribers of their responsibilities under the Rule. The just-announced Notice suggests some additional protections.
You’ll want to read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the details, but the primary amendment to the Rule the FTC has proposed would require prescribers to ask patients to sign an acknowledgement confirming they have received their eyeglass prescription. Prescribers would need to retain that confirmation for three years. The thinking is that an acknowledgment would encourage compliance, remind patients of their rights, and provide prescribers with a way to verify that they lived up to that requirement under the Rule.
If the proposal of a signed acknowledgement retained for three years sounds familiar, that’s because it’s already a requirement under the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule. So another potential advantage of the proposed amendment may be to harmonize the confirmation process for the two Rules, relieving prescribers of the need to implement separate procedures.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asks for your insights into – among other things – questions about the costs and benefits of the proposal. Once the Notice is published in the Federal Register, you’ll have 60 days to file a public comment. In the meantime, professionals in the field can focus on a compliance check-up by reviewing Complying with the Eyeglass Rule, The Contact Lens Rule: A Guide for Prescribers and Sellers, and FAQs: Complying with the Contact Lens Rule.
Consumers, before your next eye exam, read Buying Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses: Your Rights to understand your protections under the Eyeglass Rule and the Contact Lens Rule.
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Good Government in action.
I have worn glasses since I was 7 years old with a very heavy prescription. I am now in my 60’s and I have NEVER received a copy of my prescription. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and I didn’t even know about this rule. I’m thinking that very few optometrists actually follow this rule.
Love this . I'm currently without glasses due to doctor examination was way off what I needed. So I'm now stuck with glasses that was desperately needed for every ADL'S. COULDNT SEE BEFORE VERY WELL and since I've paid out of pocket (didn't have to begin with ) for examination and lenses and frames that i haven't been able to see out of.since day 1. This would've been helpful they never even tried to help me resolve the issue. I had to pay for the process all over again .when on all reality the reason I even went was my original glasses broke and they would not replace my glasses with my original prescript cause it was out of date so insisted this ridiculous process and to top it off disposed my old glasses. At least I should've gotten my original glasses and my "new"script or maybe another redo examine people do make mistakes but
when asked I was denied. NOW can't AFFORD TO See limited on my ADL'S.
To the ftc.gov owner, Thanks for the post!
Hi ftc.gov admin, Nice post!
To the ftc.gov owner, Your posts are always thought-provoking and inspiring.