In an eye exam, the bottom line is the toughest to see. But responsible eye care prescribers and contact lens sellers clearly understand another “bottom line”: They comply with the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule.
When a prescriber completes a contact lens fitting, the Rule requires the prescriber to provide the patient with a complete copy of the contact lens prescription, whether they ask for it or not, and to verify or provide the prescription to authorized third parties. The Rule also requires that contact lens vendors sell contact lenses only in accordance with a valid prescription the seller has received from either the patient or prescriber, or has verified via direct communication with the prescriber.
Periodically, the FTC likes to take a look at all its rules to make sure they are up-to-date, effective, and not overly burdensome. So in September 2015, the FTC asked for public comment on the how well the Contact Lens Rule was working, whether prescribers and sellers were complying with its requirements, and what changes, if any, the Commission should consider. After reviewing more than 600 comments and other evidence, we determined that it would be beneficial to look at ways to make sure that prescribers are giving patients a copy of the contact lens prescription once the contact lens fitting is completed. To make that happen, we propose amending the Rule to require contact lens prescribers to get a signed acknowledgement from the patient after providing a copy of the prescription. The prescriber would also have to keep a copy of this signed acknowledgment for at least three years.
But there’s one more step in the process. The Commission wants to get feedback on this new proposal. If you want to weigh in, file a comment. And stay tuned. We’ll have more information to share in the coming months. In the meantime, you can learn more about your responsibilities by reading The Contact Lens Rule: A Guide for Prescribers and Sellers and Complying with the Contact Lens Rule.