You can NOT be charged or refused your contact prescription!

I am not terribly familiar with the world of contact lenses. I wear glasses exclusively. But lots of people who wear contacts also wear glasses part-time. Until recently, it was a frequent practice of eye doctors to refuse to give contact wearers their own prescription after it was measured. This meant that if you went to get fitted for contacts, you would be forced to continue to buy contacts from that eye doctor in the future, because they would not release your prescription. Eye doctors, of course, feared their patients would get mail order contacts in future.

A law passed, titled “Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act” that requires your eye doctor to provide your contact lens prescription after fitting you for contacts.

How does this apply to glasses? You can use your prescription for your contacts to fill a prescription for glasses. Therefore, you can use your contact prescription to order glasses online. Note, however, that you can NOT use a glasses prescription to fill a contact prescription. This is because a contact prescription has additional information about the shape of the eye.

As an additional note, your eye doctor also cannot refuse to provide your prescription for glasses, but this law has been around since the 1970s. So, if you have been fitted for glasses by a particular optometrist, your doctor is legally obliged to provide your prescription upon request.

Don’t let an optometrist say, “we can’t/don’t provide that information.” You have a legal right to your own prescription.

Over at The Consumerist, a blogger provides a few more details.

4 thoughts on “You can NOT be charged or refused your contact prescription!”

  1. So if I go to any optometry with my contact prescription that I recently got I would be able to order glasses and not have to pay for another check up?

  2. In 1887, Adolf Flick was the first to fit contact lenses. They were made of brown glass. Yikes!I don’t wear contacts. I used to, but then a scratch on my eyeball ruined everything. That was six or seven years ago, so maybe I could wear them again. I

  3. Michael,

    Thank you for that clarification. I should have been more precise: You cannot be refused your contact prescription -if and only if- your eyes have been evaluated for contact lenses. A patient shouldn’t expect an eyeglasses prescription to be valid for contact lenses.

    As a Doctor of Optometry, how do you feel about this law? Has this taken a hit on your practice?

  4. the eye doc is only required to release the contact lens Rx if there was a contact lens evaluation performed, and it was finalized. what frequently occurs is that a patient assumes they can pay for a glasses-only exam and still buy contacts online, which is incorrect. still must have a valid contact lens Rx in order for it to be “released”, and the patient must pay for a separate contact lens “evaluation fee” in order to obtain said contact lens rx.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Type the letters shown. This stops spam