Protect contact lens consumer rights

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


It has been 13 years since President George W. Bush signed the Fairness for Contact Lens Consumers Act into law, requiring optometrists to provide prescriptions to patients so they can shop around for better prices. Yet, a new Consumer Action survey finds that close to one-third of consumers are still not being given their prescriptions following eye exams. This anti-consumer and illegal practice has to stop! 

Action Alert: Tell Congress to protect contact lens consumer rights


More about our poll

A consumer poll commissioned by Consumer Action as part of the ORC International Telephone CARAVAN® survey conducted January 12-15 and 19-22, 2017 shows very clearly that many contact lens consumers still are not receiving their prescriptions following eye exams and many remain unaware of their right to their own prescription.

  • In a national sample of 685 contact lens consumers, 60% of all respondents were unaware that under federal law, a doctor or exam provider is required to automatically provide their patient with a copy of their prescription after they get their contact lens exam.
  • More Hispanics and African Americans do not know their rights under FCLCA versus white Americans. 65% of Hispanics surveyed were unaware of their rights, 63% of blacks and 58% of whites.
  • Close to one-third of respondents (31%) were not given a copy of their prescription after getting their contact lens exams at the eye doctors.
  • 44% of Hispanics surveyed were not given copies of their prescription after their exams and had to ask their eye doctors to give them a copy of their prescriptions.
  • 72% of contact lens consumers surveyed purchase contact lenses at their eye doctors’ offices. 24% of surveyed consumers purchase lenses from online sites,
  • 12% buy lenses from shopping clubs like Costco and 8% surveyed buy lenses at drug stores.* (Consumers were asked which outlets they have bought lenses at so one consumer could answer yes to all categories.)

Consumers deserve the chance to get the best, most convenient deal possible when it comes to buying contact lenses. They should not be pressured to purchase during the exam process and they should leave their eye doctor’s office with a copy of their prescription in hand allowing them to comparison shop for the best price on the lenses they need.

The polling shows there is much education to be done and that the FTC’s proposed new rule would go a long way in ensuring every consumer is protected under the law. We hope you can join us in letting Congress know that you want to see the FTC rule updated now and contact lens consumer rights protected!




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