The Eyes Have It — Get Your Prescription
Millions of Americans wear glasses or contact lenses. And they have many choices in how, where, and from whom to buy their prescription eyewear: providers such as optometrists, ophthalmologists, and dispensing opticians, and sellers such as specialty shops, large wholesale stores, mail-order and online retailers.
When you’re considering whether to buy your eyewear from an eye care provider or another seller, chances are you’ll consider cost and convenience. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Contact Lens and Eyeglass Rules, which increase the “portability” of your contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions. When you’re buying contact lenses or prescription eyeglasses, the FTC recommends that you:
Get your prescription. Your eye care provider must give you a copy of your contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions — whether or not you ask for them. You should get your eyeglass prescription at the end of your eye exam, and your contact lens prescription when your fitting is complete. Fitting contacts may involve more than one appointment.
Keep your prescription. File it with your other medical records. Keeping your prescriptions current and in a convenient place can reduce delays in getting your eyewear.
Send your prescription for contacts. You may choose to buy contacts from a seller who’s not your eye care provider. If you do, you may want to fax or send the copy of your prescription directly to the seller to expedite the process. In any case, the seller must verify your prescription with your eye care provider before filling your order. But you can start the process by giving the seller certain information about your prescription — for example, the type of lenses, their manufacturer, power, base curve, and diameter.
Keep in mind that all contact lenses, even those that are cosmetic — lenses meant to change the appearance of your eye rather than correct your vision — require a prescription.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Business & Professions Code 2556
2556. It is unlawful to do any of the following: to advertise the furnishing of, or to furnish, the services of a refractionist, an optometrist, or a physician and surgeon; to directly or indirectly
employ or maintain on or near the premises used for optical dispensing, a refractionist, an optometrist, a physician and surgeon, or a practitioner of any other profession for the purpose of any examination or treatment of the eyes; or to duplicate or change
lenses without a prescription or order from a person duly licensed to issue the same.
2556.5. Any person who holds himself out as a “dispensing optician” or “registered dispensing optician” or who uses any other term or letters indicating or implying that he is registered and holds a
certificate under the terms of this law without having at the time of so doing a valid, unrevoked certificate, as provided in this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Business & Professions Code 655
655. (a) No person licensed under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) of this division may have any membership, proprietary Interest, co ownership, landlord-tenant relationship, or any
Profit-sharing arrangement in any form, directly or indirectly, withany person licensed under Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 2550)of this division.
(b) No person licensed under Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 2550) of this division may have any membership, proprietary interest,co ownership, landlord-tenant relationship, or any profit sharing arrangement in any form directly or indirectly with any person
licensed under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) of this division.
(c) No person licensed under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) of this division may have any membership, proprietary interest, co ownership, landlord-tenant relationship, or any profit-sharing arrangement in any form, directly or indirectly, either by stock ownership, interlocking directors, trusteeship, mortgage, trust deed, or otherwise with any person who is engaged in the manufacture, sale, or distribution to physicians and surgeons, optometrists, or dispensing opticians of lenses, frames, optical supplies, optometric appliances or devices or kindred products.
Any violation of this section constitutes a misdemeanor as to such person licensed under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3000) of this division and as to any and all persons, whether or not so licensed under this division, who participate with such licensed
person in a violation of any provision of this section.