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I got this question early this morning. A good one and one to print out to take to your over-zealous optical professional.

You say the optometrists are required, by law, to give you your prescription.

Well, it helps if you actually KNOW what the relevant Federal commercial code is, and have a copy of it on hand to show to them if they want to be punks about it.

So, what is the relevant (Federal) law citation?

Here is the statute:


Sec. 456.2 Separation of examination and dispensing.

It is an unfair act or practice for an ophthalmologist or optometrist to:

(a) Fail to provide to the patient one copy of the patient's prescription immediately after the eye examination is completed.

Provided: An ophthalmologist or optometrist may refuse to give the patient a copy of the patient's prescription until the patient has paid for the eye examination, but only if that ophthalmologist or optometrist would have required immediate payment from that patient had the examination revealed that no ophthalmic goods were required;

(b) Condition the availability of an eye examination to any person on a requirement that the patient agree to purchase any ophthalmic goods from the ophthalmologist or optometrist;

(c) Charge the patient any fee in addition to the ophthalmologist's or optometrist's examination fee as a condition to releasing the prescription to the patient. Provided: An ophthalmologist or optometrist may charge an additional fee for verifying ophthalmic goods dispensed by another seller when the additional fee is imposed at the time the verification is performed; or

(d) Place on the prescription, or require the patient to sign, or deliver to the patient a form or notice waiving or disclaiming the liability or responsibility of the ophthalmologist or optometrist for the accuracy of the eye examination or the accuracy of the ophthalmic goods and services dispensed by another seller.

Revised as of January 1, 1999]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 16CFR456.2]
[Page 453]

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At November 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM Anonymous said...

Great, thanks.

Does anyone knows the equivalent for Canada?

At November 14, 2006 at 8:13 AM Anonymous said...

Here are the relevant informations for the province of Quebec :

They are required by law to give you a prescription unless the period after the exam was too long (the optician decide what is too long but it must never be less than a year). If they deem it too long then they are required to give you a copy of a previous prescription.

At March 18, 2008 at 8:12 AM Anonymous said...

ok, lets just say I cave and want to go to a retail store for my glasses - I have insurance - which is the best bargain for my ins dollar and will be least out-of pocket?

At August 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM Tim said...

If I may make a suggestion, this would make a good addition to a FAQ page. If there were one.

Code of Federal Regulations Pertaining to Ophthalmic Practice Rules:

Plain text version from the FTC via the U.S. Government Printing Office:


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