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Buying prescription eyeglasses? Your rights are clear

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The FTC’s Eyeglass Rule makes it easier to comparison shop – which can help you save money. 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 eyeglasses 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.

Your eye doctor must give you your eyeglass prescription after
your exam. It’s the law.

The doctor must give you your prescription for glasses at the end of your eye exam. 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. You shouldn’t have to ask for the prescription (and the doctor shouldn’t even ask if you want it); it should be automatic.

If you suspect an eye doctor is violating the Eyeglass Rule, you can report that online at 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 staff recently sent 38 letters warning eye doctors about possible violations of the Eyeglass Rule. Violations of the Rule could result in legal action and financial penalties.

For a more in-depth look at your prescription rights for eyeglasses – and contacts – read our newly updated article, Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses. It includes a list of what you should see in your prescription.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness


Glad to see this is law, as it is always a pressure point by the office to purchase glasses on site. I always did until I lost the $700 pair that cost me so much and lost so easily. I believe in getting the full eye exam from the eye specialist but getting the frames wherever I can get the best possible price. Maybe if I had more leeway in my budget it wouldn't be necessary to be shopping around. You need at least 2 pairs with transition lenses on both so you can wear them at all times even outdoors.

I'm near sighted. On a rare occasion, I misplace my current glasses, which means I can't drive, nor do much of anything. I just go get my previous prescription pair of glasses from the bedroom drawer and wear them: problem solved. The difference in prescription strength between eye visits is never so big that I can't successfully wear my previous glasses for a while.

Did you not keep your previous pair?

The way it is done once a year you have an eye exam with a chart on the wall. This chart reading exam will cost money plus Dr.exam. I always have a choice to buy my eye glasses anywhere I want to and compare prices. I do not buy lenses on the internet, to complicate with progressive or bi-focal glasses. It always depend on the frame you buy to size the eye glasses. You always can buy a frame you like on the internet if cheaper than local(close to the size you had before), this way not to much problems, and buy lenses locally.

Thank you for your protecting our children

I just want to encourage people to try buying glasses line. I get a pair of progressives for something like $50 (and if I wanted single-vision, it would be only about $15). Don't be put off by measuring the "PD". I have not had any particular difficulties with this, but the potential savings make it worth it if it doesn't work out exactly right the first time. Just make sure you copy the numbers correctly from your eyeglass prescription.

You do realize that if you put the private doctors out of business you won't have anyone to trouble shoot those darned online glasses... Think before you speak...

Not true because there is way too much competition out there I've been buying my glasses online for the past 15 years you can get the PD from your doctor it's not against the law they are required to give it to you in the event that you want to purchase online per the federal trade commission

Actually, according to 99% of the state laws, the pupillary distance is not part of the eyeglass prescription. Decentralization of lenses to line up correctly with your eyes to reduce chances of double vision is the responsibility of the eyeglass seller, not the doctor.

My 7 year old measured mine for me with a ruler, its not that hard LOL - you can do it in the mirror two if you follow the simple one eye closed, put "O" under the open eye. Close eye, open other, bam, didn't need an Opt. Lic for that, or a 300% markup.

They gave me the prescrition when i asked for it but told me they would sell me the PD for $45.00, I told them to keep it

The pupillary distance is not part of the prescription.

If I don't have insurance to cover the cost of new glasses and the eye doctor is roughly 5X the cost, what is your suggestion?

FTC needs to investigate price fixing in the prescription eyeglass industry particularly the relationship between Luxotica's retail outlets and Eyemed, the 2nd largest US prescription eyeglass insurance plan administrator, also owned by Luxotica.

You can report marketplace problems to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I had cataract surgery and am now near sighted. I was told I would need bifocals to correct the problem. I was not given a prescription. It was sent to the optical department in house. I paid over $500 and am now being told that a $1.00 pair works just as well from over the counter. This prescription and purchase was made on friday. This morning, Monday, I decided to cancel. I was told I could not. Is this legal?

Not a reply, I have the same issue. Just bought a pair 8-23-18. was told my distance was good, but charged me a large sum of money for reading glasses that I could have spent 1.00 to 5.00. I am going back there Monday, where can I get any inro. on how to resolve this rip-off.

I can only buy my glasses at vision work because my insurance won't let me buy anywhere else. Frames $69 total cost $390 out of my pocket. I feel ripped off and have no recourse.

I went to an optometrist in Florida for an eye exam. My prescription for glasses and contact lenses didn't change. I didn't buy glasses or contact lenses. When I got home and looked at my bill, it was $65 for the exam and $80 for the "fitting." Does discussing my prescription and asking if there there are any better contact lenses available now (there aren't) constitute a "fitting"?

Eye doctors often provide their patients with more than one service.  Your eye doctor may check to see if your vision needs to be corrected.  Your eye doctor may also check the overall health of your eyes.  Your doctor may bill for each of these services separately. 

However, your doctor may not charge you for your eyeglass prescription under the FTC’s Eyeglass Rule.

So I went to my eye doc, and got a yearly checkup, and when asked if I also wanted an eye exam was charged $75 more, so this apt turned out to be a $110 apt! So I get the prescription, but I wanted to buy the glasses at Walmart. I hand over my prescription and the lady at the counter tells me, I'm sorry but we can't accept a prescription from anyone else but our eye doctor's! I told her, but she's a legal doctor in the state of MD, it didn't matter, they would not sell me a pair of glasses until I paid another $45 to see "their doctor", I felt so mad a ripped off! The only good thing was I was able t purchase the glasses for like $65, and they were bi-focal. Bad thing is I lost them within 6 months of getting them!!

Can I get charge for having a strong prescription for my glasses lense? Paid for my lenses & later was told there's an extra charge due to my overpower prescription.

Dr. prescription wrong twice. Third try, now after catract surgery, wants to charge me for lenses which were done twice already to a wrong prescription costing $400. Where can I file a complaint?

Can a employer prevent me from useing my prescription sunglass's since my regular pair is broken?

Nice to read your blog! What you provided in this blog is true to some extent.

Is it legal for a doctor to charge me for an eyeglasses prescription? Typically I've never had to pay for these in the past with the same insurance so I am just curious

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. The doctor must give you your prescription for glasses at the end of your eye exam. 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. You shouldn’t have to ask for the prescription (and the doctor shouldn’t even ask if you want it); it should be automatic.

Can anyone please tell me if this is the right price: I was charged $42 each for single vision polycarbonate lens, so $88 in total just for the polycarbonate lens. Then $32 each for Teflon coating, so $64 total. For everything plus my frame I paid $305. I was given a "discount" because apparently this should be around $400+.

I am 33 years old and nearsighted since 15 years.
I know my Rx which is the same since now more than 5 years.
I want to buy new eyeglasses. Do I need a prescription for that or can I simply tell my correction to the optician?

Why won't the FTC change the laws so that the RX includes PD measurements? It should be included in the RX, I mean it's like selling a car without tires. Optometrist/opticans are using that loophole to withold that information from consumers. How else would they want a consumer to get the PD? This is ridiculous I tell you.

I got a complete eye exam and purchased both contacts and glasses from my local Pearle Vision ( aprrox. $275.00 after insurance). I'd now like to buy a second pair of glasses online to have as a spare. I called Pearle Vision for the OD (occular distance) since that part wasn't filled in on the prescription form. They informed me that I'd need to pay a fee of $25.00 to get that. What??? I'm pretty sure the distance between my eyes hasn't changed in 1 month. I'm feeling annoyed that they use a loophole in regulations..
I will not go back to them

America’s best, I asked for our prescriptions and was told the doc had already left for lunch and it would be an hour before he returned. I had just spent nearly 800 bucks on glasses for my husband and I. I said fine I’ll get them on pickup. I said I need the PD (since places tend not to add that) They claim it’s illegal in New Jersey for them to give us that information. Is that possibly true?

is it okay to buy prescription glasses in US / WA using international prescription?

When I asked the optician in my doctor's office for my PD he said it was against NYS law for him to provide it if I don't buy my glasses there. By saying that, he guaranteed I won't. I bought them online in the past and will do it again.

I can understand requirements for vision exams. However; the FTC requiring exam to replace broken glass, that are 13 months old is un fair. This law is made to aid the business not the people. I would suggest 4 years on breakage. Its the peoples decision not the governments and business decision as to when you get an eye exam.

My problem isn't with an Eye doctor. It's with trying to get my prescription filled. I have a strong prescription, and I have exhausted every brick and mortar store in my area, each one declining to fulfill the prescription because, "They're too strong," or "We can't make lenses like that."

I'm also facing the same problem online. I have the paper from the doctor with the prescription, but I can't find anyone that is willing to fill it. Some even telling me that it can't be filled. I NEED glasses to function, my old pair aren't strong enough, and I can't find anyone anywhere willing to provide me with a new pair at any price!

I got new glasses about a month ago, they were progressive. I could not wear them. Now I have Bofocal's and they give me a headache. Can I return them for a refund?

does a prescription NOT include the PD? it seems it should be since its on the piece of paper they give me for my prescription... i live in florida.. and foreyes will not give me my PD, saying its not part of the prescription... isnt this part of my medical records? how can they not give it to me?

I bought a reading glasses today, Octuber 05/18, but it call my attention that, they charged me $147,50 for each eye, the total amount is $295.00, and the price of the frame was $50.00. Supposedly, from the total price of $344.00, they apply 50% off discount. At the end, I paid $172.00, for the reading glasses.
If I go to buy at other optic with any discount, this will be the regular price, so I realize that at the end, I am not getting any discount...IS THAT RIGHT TO BE CHARGE FOR EACH EYE??.
NOTE: I got the eye test prescription from other optician.

I just got charged $225 PER LENSE for my new glasses. Is this correct? To charge per lense??

Can anyone help me , I got my new prescription in January this year , I took the prescription to another retailer for glasses , but didn’t buy glasses until March of this year, after getting my new glasses ( varifocals) I wore them for approximately 2weeks , but still couldn’t feel I had adjusted to them , as I know varifocals can take a bit of getting used to . So I took them back to the place who put the prescription in , he checked and said it all looks fine from his point . So I took them back to my optician , who sent me for blood sugar test at my doctors ( she gave me a letter saying that I showed no signs of cataract etc ) , this came back normal . She done another eye test on me and surprise surprise I’ve got cataract , but the company who I got my prescription from are refusing to change my lenses free of charge . Can anyone advise me how I can go about this

Found this article when I was looking for what my rights are in buying prescription glasses. I have been having a horrible experience with the local eye doctors, that has dragged on for 2 months now. Both doctors offices are in Michigan, but I will not name them. I had a complete eye exam and was given my prescription by the eye doctor. I then went to a higher end doctors office to order prescription glasses. They had the eye doctor who did the eye exam fax over my prescription. When I went to pick up my glasses, I could not see through them. When I compared the numbers on the prescription I was given to the numbers on the fax of my prescription, they were all different. Now the doctor who did the eye exam wants to charge me a large appointment fee to re-evaluate my prescription, and meet with me. He will not sort this out on the phone. The place that made my glasses does not offer refunds and will not work with me on this. They want me to have another comprehensive eye exam done by one of their doctors, for which I will have to pay.

So is it a law for the company For Eyes to tell me my prescription? I used their eye doctor but now they are saying he left and they can't legally give me my prescription

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