The FTC’s Contact Lens Rule makes it easier to comparison shop – which can help you save money. You see (no pun, intended), the Rule gives you the right to get your prescription from your eye doctor – whether you ask for it or not – at no extra charge. You can use the prescription to buy contacts wherever they are sold – from an eye doctor, from a store, or online. Cost and quality can vary a lot from seller to seller, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.
Timing is everything. The doctor must give you your contact lens prescription when your fitting is complete. A fitting may require more than one appointment. If the doctor is ready to sell you contacts, the fitting is complete. The doctor can’t require you to pay an extra fee, buy eyeglasses or contact lenses, or sign a waiver or form in exchange for your prescription.
If you suspect an eye doctor is violating the Contact Lens Rule, you can report that online at ftc.gov/complaint. FTC attorneys and investigators – and hundreds of other law enforcement agencies – use consumer complaints to bring cases against companies and people that violate the law.
In fact, the FTC recently sent letters warning contact lens prescribers and sellers about potential violations of the Contact Lens Rule. Violations of the Rule could result in legal action and financial penalties.
For a more in-depth look at your prescription rights for contacts – and glasses – read our newly updated article, Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses. It includes a list of what you should see in your prescription.