Is your eye doctor violating the Contact Lens Rule?

By Colleen Tressler

FTC, Division of Consumer and Business Education

February 21, 2023

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:

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

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