Know the common practices that some eye care providers use to prevent you from
getting your prescription. For instance:
Giving Out Eyeglass Prescriptions Instead of Contact Lens Prescriptions
Make sure you have a contact lens prescription, not an eyeglass prescription. A
prescription for disposable contact lenses will always include the brand name
of the contacts. If your prescription does not, check with your eye care
Some eye care providers will have you sign a waiver to receive your
prescription. This practice is illegal and can be used as a scare tactic to
make you think you are doing something wrong. Does your family doctor make you
sign a waiver to get your medicine from a pharmacy? You don't have to sign
"I can't release, the fitting process is not over"
Some eye care providers may tell you they can not release your prescription to
you because you have not completed the fitting process. This is normal for new
wearers or when getting fitted with a new type or brand of lens, but it is not
normal for consumers who are wearing the same lenses as before and only need a
refill. It is also not supposed to be used as a reason for withholding your
prescription. Under the new federal law your prescription is good for a minimum
of 1 year. Most importantly, this one year time period is from the date your
eye care provider gives you a copy of your prescription - not from the date of
The One Year Myth
Some eye care providers tell you that they cannot issue an expiration date of
more than one year. This is not true. One year is a minimum, not a maximum. You
should discuss your wearing habits and eye health with your eye care provider
to determine if you can have a longer prescription length.
The Sales Call
After receiving a prescription confirmation call from a mail order contact lens
supplier, some doctors will call you. Instead of acting like a health care
professional and complying with the verification request, some eye care
providers will attempt to pressure you into buying your contact lenses directly
from them. Some eye care providers will tell you that ordering direct by phone
or Internet is illegal, or that the contacts are not as good as what the eye
care provider sells. This practice is unethical and improper. These false
statements are intended to discourage you from ordering through alternate
retailers and could create legal liability. You have the right to get your
prescription filled wherever you choose, without unnecessary or unsolicited
pressure from your eye care provider.
Come Pick Up Your Rx
You may be told that the eye care provider cannot release your prescription to
you or anyone else over the phone or by fax. Not true. This is just a way to
get you into their store. By law, prescriptions can be transmitted in hard copy
or by any electronic means.
Already Released, Can't Do It Again
You have a right to your prescription whenever you want it.
Charging to Release
Some eye care providers may attempt to charge a fee for prescription release.
This illegal practice is simply a way to discourage you from going somewhere
else to buy your lenses.