FTC eyes comments on Contact Lens Rule

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The FTC enforces the Contact Lens Rule, which gives you the right to get your contact lens prescription from your eye doctor – whether you ask for it or not – at no extra charge. This right also is known as the automatic prescription release requirement. It allows you to take your prescription wherever you want – online or to the mall – to shop around and look for the best deal.

The Contact Lens Rule has been in place since August 2004. Periodically, the FTC likes to take a look at all its rules to make sure they are up-to-date, effective, and not overly burdensome. So in September 2015, the FTC asked for public comment on the how well the Contact Lens Rule was working, whether prescribers and sellers were complying with its requirements, and what changes, if any, the Commission should consider. After reviewing more than 600 comments and other evidence, we determined that it would be beneficial to look at ways to make sure that prescribers are giving patients a copy of the contact lens prescription once the contact lens fitting is completed. To make that happen, we propose amending the Rule to require contact lens prescribers to get a signed acknowledgement from the patient after providing a copy of the prescription. The prescriber would also have to keep a copy of this signed acknowledgment for at least three years.

But there’s one more step in the process: the Commission needs to receive feedback on this new proposal. The proposal must appear in the Federal Register, along with instructions for filing comments. If you want to weigh in, file a comment! And stay tuned. We’ll have more information to share in the coming months. In the meantime, you can learn more about your rights by reading Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Comments

If it has anything to with Health Care forget about , We need 0bama out First

Good article. How does this apply, if at all to conventional eyeglass prescriptions? Same rule?

The Contact Lens Rule applies only to Contact Lenses. You can learn more about your rights by reading this FTC article about Prescription Glasses and Contact Lenses.

My eye doctor/staff has NEVER offered to provide the prescription to me. I've always had to request it.

a valid contact lens prescription should be faxed or emailed to the supplier by the patient. (The pharmacy requires prescription printed from Doctor or eRx: Not just name of medicine to mail order) Valid prescription does not require verification in most cases. Errors or invalid orders occur when parameters are entered by patient and Rx is not used as document.

Here are the instructions for filing comments. Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2017. All comments received will be posted on the FTC’s website.

AS PRESCRIBERS WE ARE BEING OVERBURDENED WITH UNNECESSARY PAPERWORK. WITH THE REQUIREMENT OF ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS, HAVING TO GO BACK TO A PAPER FILLING SYSTEM AND FORMS AND TO KEEP THEM FOR AT LEAST THREE YEARS IS ABSURD. MY PATIENTS ALWAYS RECEIVE A COPY AND MAY GET DUPLICATE COPIES AT NO CHARGE UPON REQUEST. i DON'T SEE THIS AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

Here are the instructions for filing comments. Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2017. All comments received will be posted on the FTC’s website.

The article says you need to keep a signed copy; it didn't say "paper" copy. You could scan it and keep an electronic copy.

To obtain a signed acknowledgement is a huge burden for the eye care practice. This is absolutely crazy...there has to be a better way than to add more paperwork when we are all supposed to be moving toward electronic records.

Here are the instructions for filing comments. Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2017. All comments received will be posted on the FTC’s website.

Comments submitted here on the consumer blog are not included in the Comments on the Proposed Amendment to the Rule.

My EHR software already notes when I print a contact lens prescription for each patient. Having a patient sign that they received it and then scanning that into their chart, then shredding the document is wasteful and unnecessary. We abide by the rule to provide a written copy for glasses and contacts, there is no need for more. The real public health concern is people buying "non prescription" contacts from beauty supply stores or flea markets. No contacts are non prescription and people are at high risk for grave injury. The increase paperwork burden only wastes time and money and provides no service to my patients.

Here are the instructions for filing comments. Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2017. All comments received will be posted on the FTC’s website.

Comments submitted here on the consumer blog are not included in the Comments on the Proposed Amendment to the Rule.

Many patients have restrictions on driving and or time, having them come back into the practice would cause hardship on there behalf.

As an Optometrist I always give my patients a copy of their spectacle and contact lens prescriptions. I also spend valuable time educating them on the importance of correct contact lens care, use, and handling. I hear from patients almost daily that they are abusing or misusing the contact lenses and I try to inform them of the danger of their actions. I also hear often from new patients that they haven't been in for an eye exam in 2 to 10 years and have just been ordering their contact lens online and they have had no problem getting them even with an expired prescription. I feel strongly that these two issues are of far greater importance to patients eye health than signing another form that they will likely not even read. I have seen many patients that come to me with red eyes and corneal infections due to contact lens misuse. My time and efforts as their eye doctor is best spent treating these patients problems and educating them. They know there are contacts available elsewhere without me spelling that out to them and without making them sign yet another government mandated form that they don't care about. This proposed rule change is a terrible idea from people that do not understand the true nature of contact lens problems facing patients today. The FTC should make greater efforts to monitor and regulate contact lens sales without valid prescriptions that are putting people's eyes at risk. Placing more paperwork requirements on physicians will not fix any perceived problems. It will only further limit the time we as doctors have to effectively treat our patients. I urge those involved in this decision to reconsider.

Here are the instructions for filing comments. Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2017. All comments received will be posted on the FTC’s website.

Comments submitted here on the consumer blog are not included in the Comments on the Proposed Amendment to the Rule.

 

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