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Having trouble getting your contact lens prescription from your eye care provider?

Eye care providers are required by law to give contact lens prescriptions to patients when the fitting process is complete. While this requirement is generally understood, recognize there can be bad actors in any industry. While this situation can be perplexing, the reason is simple: unlike your family doctor, most eye doctors sell what they prescribe (see chart). Therefore, some believe withholding your prescription will force you to purchase contact lenses from them. Here is some information that might help:

 
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Be Savvy Know the Law What is ethical behavior

The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act was signed by President Bush on December 6th, 2003 with an effective date of February 4th, 2004. It was written to protect you from the conflict of interest where eye doctors both prescribe and sell lenses. Here are your new rights under this law:

Right to Your Prescription
You have a right to your prescription automatically and unconditionally. Once your contact lens fitting is done, your eye doctor must give you a copy of your prescription -- whether you ask for it or not - and without an extra fee or the need to sign a waiver or form.

You Don't Have to Buy Your Initial Box of Lenses from Your Doctor
When your eye doctor prescribes new lenses, he or she will generally have you wear a trial pair to test their fit. Once the doctor determines the fitting is complete the federal law requires that you receive your prescription immediately. You are then free to buy your initial boxes of lenses, as well as your replacement lenses, from any vendor you choose whether that be your doctor, or 1-800 CONTACTS.

Right to Have Your Prescription Verified
Whenever you want to buy your lenses from a retailer such as 1-800 CONTACTS, your doctor must cooperate. If your eye doctor does not respond to our request for verification within eight business hours, the prescription is considered verified, and you will receive your lenses.

Protection Against Expensive "Private Label" Lenses
You may have been prescribed private label, or store brand, lenses available only through your eye doctor's office. Under the new law, we can provide you with identical lenses made by the same manufacturer, regardless of the brand name on your prescription.

Protection Against Unreasonably Short Prescription Lengths
The law requires that your prescription be valid for at least one year. An eye doctor may only write a prescription for less than one year if justified by your medical health.

Under this new law, your ability to order lenses from 1-800 CONTACTS and other retailers will be simpler, easier and even more consumer friendly. Also, please keep in mind that no retailer, whether it is 1-800 CONTACTS or any other vendor, will be able to legally sell you contact lenses if your prescription is invalid or expired.

Read the Law

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