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The FTC’s Eyeglass Rule makes it easier to comparison shop — which can help you save money. After you get an eye exam that determines your best vision with eyeglasses (a refraction), your eye care prescriber has to give you a copy of your prescription — whether you ask for it or not. You can use your prescription to buy eyeglasses wherever they are sold — from another prescriber, a store, or online. Cost, quality, and supply can vary a lot from seller to seller, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.  

image saying you have a right to your eyeglass prescription for free.

Your prescriber also can’t make you pay an extra fee, buy eyeglasses, or sign a waiver or release in exchange for your prescription. That’s the law. Even so, not all prescribers do the right thing. That’s why the FTC sent warning letters to 28 prescribers telling them about possible violations of the Eyeglass Rule. Complaints involving five of the prescribers also allege violations of the Contact Lens Rule, which has similar requirements for giving patients contact lens prescriptions. The letters tell prescribers to review the rules, comply with the requirements, and that failure to do so could result in legal action and financial penalties.

If you suspect an eye doctor is violating the Eyeglass Rule or the Contact Lens Rule, let us know about it at

For more information, see Understanding Your Prescription Rights for Glasses and Contact Lenses. It includes a list of what you should see in your prescription.

Optometrist looking at patient's eyes

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December 08, 2020
All eyeglass prescriptions should also include the PD or pupillary distance Number. Most if not all online companies who fill these prescriptions require this number.
December 08, 2020
What if they give you your prescriptions, you send it in and the contact lens provider won’t fill it because the provider gave you your contact lens prescription with the wrong NAME on it. It was someone else’s name but my prescription !
December 08, 2020
Thanks alot for this info. I never heard of this problem or solution.
December 08, 2020
Excellent article. Extremely useful and timely for my next eye exam. Requiring extra payment for eyeglass prescription is like a medical doctor (M.D.) charging us extra for writing a prescription. Thank you for the information. Great job!!
December 08, 2020
The most important information is missing: Where is the complete list of those who did not comply and were warned?
December 09, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I clicked the link but it only shows the “form letter” sent to the 28 prescribers, not the actual names of the businesses/prescribers who are in “possible violation”. Where can I find the names? Thank you.
December 08, 2020
So who are the 28 prescribers? I'd like to know their names...
December 08, 2020
What about complete information that is written on the prescription? For instance if I want to order glasses from an online company, there are certain criteria that needs to be added. I never get the distance between both eyes. A measurement that is done by an optical store when you are ready to order. Is there a law or requirement for this?
December 08, 2020
Fantastic info! Thank you for your role in helping to empower our communities with knowledge of their consumer protection laws! I have learned so much from subscribing to your email notifications and use them to inform my friends, family, neighbors, callers, of your notices! Thank you. Keep up the great work!
December 08, 2020
My doctor has always given me my prescription with no problems.
December 08, 2020
Yep, all of my eye docs in the past have been unwilling to give me my prescription. Shady!!!
Ed Jack
December 08, 2020
This is helpful and good to know. I don't want to feel obligated to buy glasses or contacts from my doctor's office -especially if I can get a better deal elsewhere. Thanks
Bibi 07
December 09, 2020
1- Thanks for this excellent info for OD on Rx 2- What about other doctors like PCP , ENT, Foot ..etc.....?? Must they give the Rx free of charge while they send it to my pharmacy or lab for test?? they charge 10 $ to print one . Thanks and Stay safe,
December 09, 2020
Usually they give you the prescription, but leave out the pupil to pupil distance for the focal point of each lense.
December 10, 2020
Good to know. Thanks