16 CFR Part 456 ; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request Ophthalmic Practice Rule (Eyeglass Rule): FTC Project No. R511996
I suspect the main goal of this rule is to prohibit price-gouging by optometrists who could effectively "hold hostage" the patient through holding the prescription. I suspect the fear is that the providers could charge whatever price they chose (with or without the collusion of their fellow providers) because their patients would become "popcorn eaters at the movie theater," subject to whatever price was available. I further suspect that almost all price shopping for glasses or lenses would occur online as driving from provider to provider (or even calling) would not likely save substantial money for the purchaser in the long run. For these reasons, I would suggest that access to the prescription is more important than a physical copy of the prescription. Having purchased contac lenses online for years, I know that online providers require a copy of my prescription before shipping, making digital transmission the only practical means. Requiring access to the prescription rather than a single printed copy of the prescription would ensure that the suspected fears outlined earlier don't occur because of the loss of one sheet of paper, while also not burdening the providers with providing copies of prescriptions to those who do not wish to "shop around."