Federal Trade Commission staff has sent 38 letters to eyeglass prescribers warning them of potential violations of the agency’s Ophthalmic Practice Rules, known as the Eyeglass Rule, which ensures consumers the right to comparison shop for prescription eyeglasses.
The Rule requires prescribers to provide patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescription immediately after an eye exam, even if the patient does not request it. Under the Rule, prescribers cannot require that patients buy eyeglasses as a condition of providing them with a copy of their prescription.
The Rule further states that prescribers cannot provide a notice of liability waiver, require patients to sign a liability waiver, or require patients to pay an additional fee in exchange for their prescription. Prescribers also cannot condition performance of an eye exam on the patient’s agreement to buy eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other ophthalmic goods from them.
The letters warn the prescribers that violations of the Rule may result in legal action, including civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. Along with the letters, staff also provided prescribers with copies of the Rule and its business guidance piece, Complying with the Eyeglass Rule.
The FTC has information to help consumers understand their rights under federal law. See: Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection