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The FTC recently sent 24 cease and desist letters to eye doctors after getting reports they may have violated the Contact Lens Rule by ignoring important rights of patients. That includes the requirement that eye doctors must give you a copy of your contact lens prescription at the end of a lens fitting — whether you ask for it or not — at no extra charge. This means you don’t have to buy your lenses from your eye doctor and lets you use your prescription to comparison shop among contact lens sellers for the best deal.

Here’s how the process is supposed to work. If your eye doctor is willing to sell you lenses, that means your fitting is complete and you should get a copy of your prescription. Just know that a fitting may take more than one appointment and often involves a fee that’s separate from the eye exam charge.

What’s more, your eye doctor:

  • should ask you to sign a confirmation that you got your prescription
  • can’t make you pay for your prescription, although they may require you to pay for the contact lens examination and fitting fee or show proof of insurance, which is considered payment
  • can’t say you have to buy contact lenses from them or tell you to sign a waiver or release in order to get your prescription

If you think an eye doctor is violating the Contact Lens Rule, report it to the FTC at

Watch and share this video about your eyewear prescription rights:

Share this video using the links in the player above or use the YouTube version.

For more information, see Buying Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses: Your Rights.

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February 21, 2023

Haven't been to an optometrist yet that gives you your prescription without you having to ask for it. It's supposed to be automatic, but it never is.

Hugh Gautier
February 23, 2023

My lenses were fitted directly to my eyes after cataract surgery 4 days apart. So, I'll take it that this fitting of the lens would not count your criteria. The day after each surgery the eye was tested to find out how well the fit was, I can safely say that I was reading the 20-15 line without glasses. This was done for the other eye as well and it read the 20-15 line too. One year after that surgery had taken place I was still reading the 20-15 line clearly without the aid of any kind of glasses. That doctor gave me a piece of documentation to send to the Department of Motor Vehicle licensing to have the glasses restriction removed from my driver's license. Before this surgery was done, I could not read the 20-30 line. So, this was a marked improvement to my eyesight.

Joe Morris
February 24, 2023

In reply to by Hugh Gautier

It sounds to me that you might be talking about implanted lenses which are not contact lenses. I had cataract surgery and the lenses were implanted at the same time. I did return to the doctor a couple days (it could have been four) to have the bandages removed. Your story has me wondering.

Richard Coddaire
February 22, 2023

"If you think an eye doctor is violating the Contact Lens Rule, report it to the FTC at"

I reported a doctor my wife and I went to and I got an email from FTC saying (and I paraphrase because I deleted it at the time) that you don't go after individual doctors based on complaints received and I assumed you were just gathering data. Why does this article say you sent cease and desist letters to doctors?

March 01, 2023

Most doctors here in NJ just give the rx if you ask, no trouble whatsoever. The online retailers never even ask for a prescription. I showed my eye doc this as i happened to have an exam after seeing this, and he just laughed. He said thr bigger issue was he rarely gets messages from 1800contacts or other online retailers asking him to confirm the rx, even though alot of pts use them. They ended up being more expensive online for me so I got mine from him anyway.

Porscha Dominguez
May 11, 2023

I used to feel bad about asking for my contact lens prescription after an exam, after someone told me (many moons ago) that I could just ask the dr. for the script, I never felt bad about it. The reaction of the dr. or whoever is taking care of you at your appointment is always priceless (depends on the person), but most of the time, you would think that the person lost hearing all of a sudden because of the way they reply with, "Hmm, what was that?" as they are trying to offer a trial pair. Or sometimes they will not give you the try on pair if you do not order with their office. Shady..

May 17, 2023

Let me ask, do doctors get discounts or do they benefit from ordering the lenses for you? What angers me is they charge for me for shipping to their office then I have to go pick them up,lol