Optometrist refusing to provide contact lens prescription

January 24, 2019

Dear Consumer Ed:

I recently had my eyes examined by an optometrist, but in order to save money, I wanted to order my contact lenses from an online provider. When I asked the optometrist for the prescription, they told me they would only give it to me if I bought contacts from them. Are they allowed to do that?

Consumer Ed says:

No. The Federal Trade Commission’s Eyeglass Rule and Contact Lens Rule require optometrists to provide patients with their glasses prescription at the end of their eye exam. A contact lens prescription must be provided after the contact fitting is complete.  The doctor cannot make you pay an extra fee, buy eyeglasses or contact lenses, or sign a waiver or form. To report an eye doctor you suspect of violating the Eyeglass Rule or the Contact Lens Rule, contact the FTC at ftc.gov.

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