Class Action and Product Insights for Your Business
April 20, 2016 - FTC

Seeing Double . . . or More: FTC Sends over 50 Warning Letters to Contact Lens Prescribers and Sellers

The FTC recently sent over 50 warning letters to contact lens prescribers and sellers warning them that they may be in violation of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 7601 et seq., and the Contact Lens Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 315.  The Act and the Rule have two basic requirements.  First, contact lens prescribers must provide patients with a copy of their contact lens prescriptions at the end of a contact lens fitting, even if the patient does not request it.[1]  Second, contact lens sellers cannot provide contact lenses to a customer unless they obtain a copy of the customer’s prescription or verify the prescription information through procedures set forth in the Rule.  The purpose of the laws is to allow consumers to comparison shop while encouraging competition among contact lens sellers.

The letters warn that contact lens prescribers and sellers in violation of the Act and Rule may be subject to legal action, including civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.  For more information, see FTC’s guidance regarding prescribers’ and seller’s obligations in: The Contact Lens Rule: A Guide for Prescribers and Sellers and Complying with the Contact Lens Rule.

[1] Prescribers also cannot require consumers to buy contact lenses, pay additional fees, or sign a waiver or release as a condition of releasing or verifying a contact lens prescription.