FTC Contact Lens Rule

Requests for Prescriptions by Contact Lens Retailers

Doctors must respond to requests to provide a patient's contact lens prescription to anyone who is designated to act on behalf of the patient, including contact lens sellers within 40 business hours.

Contact Lens Prescription Documentation Requirements

If you sell contact lenses, or have a direct or indirect financial interest in the sale of contact lenses, you have to ask your patients to confirm receipt of their prescriptions by:

  • Signing a separate form, confirming receipt of the contact lens prescription

  • Signing a prescriber-retained copy of the prescription that has a statement confirming receipt of the prescription, or

  • Signing a prescriber-retained copy of the receipt for the examination that has a statement confirming receipt of the prescription

You must keep records showing confirmation of receipt for at least three years. AOA’s FTC Contact Lens Rule Compliance Kit has sample forms you can use. If a patient refuses to sign a confirmation receipt, make note of it on the receipt, sign it, and keep it for at least three years.

You can provide a digital copy of the prescription to the patient, if all of these conditions are met:

  • the patient affirmatively agrees —in writing or electronically—to get it digitally instead of on paper

  • the patient affirmatively agrees —in writing or electronically—to the specific method of receipt (for example, e-mail, text message, or portal), and

  • the electronic means can be accessed, downloaded, and printed by the patient.

Consent to send the prescription electronically cannot be part of standard intake forms. You can orally ask for consent, but it must be documented. You should keep records showing a patient’s consent to digital delivery for at least three years.

You cannot require patients to:

  • buy contact lenses

  • pay additional fees or

  • sign a waiver or release in exchange for a copy of the contact lens prescription.

You may require a patient to pay for the eye exam, fitting, and evaluation before giving them a copy of the contact lens prescription, but only if you also require immediate payment from a patient whose eye exams show no need for glasses, contact lenses, or other corrective eye care products. Proof of valid insurance coverage counts as payment for purposes of this requirement.

File a complaint against a contact lens seller:

Report to the California State Board of Optometry:

    • Go to: www.breeze.ca.gov to file a complaint with the State.

    • Click “File a Complaint”

    • Under the drop down menu for "Board," choose "California State Board of Optometry"

    • Under "License type" choose "Nonresident contact lens seller"

Report to the Federal Trade Commission:

    • Go to: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted#crnt.

    • Click "Other" on the bottom left of the screen.

    • Under the "Other" menu, click "Health and Fitness," the last item.

    • Click the first selection, "Eyeglasses or Contact Lens."

    • Select the options that match your complaint until completed.

Contact the FDA if you suspect a website of illegally selling contact lenses:

Let the AOA know too! Although the AOA is not a regulatory body or an enforcement agency, they regularly meet with government agencies and policymakers to inform them of illegal business practices and threats to our patients' safety. The more informed they can be, the better we can advocate for improved laws and regulations that that better protect our patients.

Complete the online form: https://www.aoa.org/advocacy/federal-advocacy/regulatory-issues/fclca/report-cls-violation