FTC looks at the Contact Lens Rule

Share This Page

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.



Although my contact lens vendor is great. I don't think I have ever received a copy of the my prescription. I would like to see this rule enacted. Have the prescriber get a signed acknowledgment from the patient. I agree!

This is a good proposal. I know I had to ask for a written Rx for my contact lenses and also had to ask for the Rx for glasses when I had my recent exam. This is important especially if consumers buy their contact lenses at drugstores, online providers or stores like Costco.

More needs to be done to protect consumers from unscrupulous practices. Prior to sending my daughter to an out-of-state college I sent her to get her eyes checked & to get her contact prescription (Rx) renewed. Her current eye doctor was booked so she had to have her eyes examined by a new doctor. When she asked for her Rx they told her that she would have to have her parents buy her contacts from them (& they refused to give her a Rx) because her Rx was for a specific "brand" of disposable contacts that she was fitted for (which just happened to cost more than $300 dollars!). I Immediatly returned to their office. I demanded that I received a copy of her Rx and I told them that she had been wearing contacts since she was 11 years old and that her previous eye doctor always gave us an Rx and that a years supply of lenses use to cost us less than $100's. I was denied an Rx & I was told that I would have to buy her contacts from them. After threatening to report them to the FTC, they gave me a prescription (Rx) for a specific brand of contacts that had an outrageous price. Because the Rx was written for a strength of a specific brand rather than for just the strength of her contacts, we were stuck with either buying the outrageously priced lenses or we were forced to go to another eye doctor & get her eyes re-examined (& pay out of pocket for it) & get an Rx for her regular, reasonably priced brand. Because it was considerably less expensive, we chose the latter.

File a formal complaint to the FTC's Consumer Response Center or online at www.ftc.gov. You also may want to file a complaint with the local BBB.

File a complaint with the State board and FTC. There is always stupid people in any profession.

It may be benificial to require that offices post a sign ( written & made by the FTC) that stipulates "offices are required by Law to Provide Patients with Rx's" !!

I have been wearing contacts for over 40 years and have never received my RX.

This is a good rule. Please implement it.

I have been wearing contacts for decades and received my prescription for the first time last year. I believe the rule provides full disclosure and transparency.

Another regulation along with HIPPA, ACA etc. All boils down to ethics of the individual and the doctor. If we had more there would be less regulations.

My last pair of contact lenses, I believe were experimental. I now have a red dot in my periphery in low lighting. Have no idea what it is and neither does my opthamologist. Very disturbing.

Instead of adding yet more to the Contact Lens Rule, just ENFORCE the requirements that already exist. If someone is not complying with providing the prescription, they will simply not comply with the signed notice requirement. ALSO- the rule states
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." Yet there are several contact lens sellers who do not require a valid prescription and one (1-800 Contacts) who stated in their IPO statement (Initial Public Offering), that they INTENDED to provide contact lenses without a valid prescription. Yet there has been no enforcement action against them that I am aware of. BTW- I am an optometrist, and I am unaware of ANY way that contact lenses could cause the red dot inn the periphery that C. Williams mentioned. That said, if C. Williams was given experimental contact lenses, (s)he should have been advised that they were experimental.

Providing Rx is just a matter of policy. The issue with prescription abuse by wearers and commercial venders causes real health issues. I examined a pt today who made 6 months of contacts last 2 years. Has vision loss in one eye with swelling, edema, neovascularization, endothelial cell loss in both. This is not an isolated case. Doctors cannot supervise patients after they leave the office and there is a tendency for contact lens wearers to try to save a few dollars at the risk of health and vision.

Add new comment

Comment Policy

Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system (PDF), and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system (PDF). We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.