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FTC Sends 37 Warning Letters About Eyeglass Rule

The rule ‘is designed to ensure consumers the right to comparison shop for prescription eyeglasses.’

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Federal Trade Commission staff sent 37 new cease and desist letters to eyeglass prescribers, including optometrists and ophthalmologists, warning them of potential violations of the agency’s Eyeglass Rule.

The rule is designed to ensure consumers the right to comparison shop for prescription eyeglasses.

The letters, sent as a result of reported violations, “remind the prescribers that they are required to provide patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescription immediately after an eye exam, even if the patient does not request it,” the FTC noted in a press release. They also warn that violations of the rule may result in legal action, including civil penalties of up to $50,120 per violation.

Under the rule, prescribers also cannot require that patients buy eyeglasses as a condition of providing them with a copy of their prescription, place a liability waiver on the prescription, require patients to sign a waiver, or require patients to pay an additional fee in exchange for a copy of their prescription. And they cannot refuse to perform an eye exam unless the patient buys eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other ophthalmic goods from them.

The letters require recipients to contact FTC staff within five days of receipt describing the action they plan to take to address the reported violations.

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