FTC Sends Letters to 38 Eyeglass Prescribers Warning of Potential Violations

Prescribers cannot require that patients buy eyeglasses as a condition of providing them with a copy of their prescription

FTC Sends Letters to 38 Eyeglass Prescribers Warning of Potential Violations
Image: Pixabay
May 13, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 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 that consumers the right to comparison shop for prescription eyeglasses.

The Eyeglass 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 Eyeglass 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.

Further, prescribers cannot manipulate the results of an eye exam based on the patient's agreement to buy eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other ophthalmic goods from them.

The letters sent by the FTC warn the 38 eyeglass prescribers in question 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.

Learn more about your consumer rights under federal law when it comes to Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses.