FTC Workshop Examines Proposed Changes to the Eyeglass Rule

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission recenlty released the tentative agenda for its May 18 workshop in Washington, DC, which will examine proposed changes to its Ophthalmic Practice Rules, also known as the Eyeglass Rule. The workshopA Clear Look at the Eyeglass Rule, is free and open to the public, and pre-registration is not required.

In-person registration will begin at 7:45 am, followed by a welcome and opening remarks by Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The half-day event will feature three panel discussions focused on:

  • Prescription Release: The FTC recently sent cease-and-desist letters to prescribers of eyeglasses and contact lenses based on consumer complaints that patients were not automatically given, or denied, or charged for their prescriptions. This panel will consider the need for the Eyeglass Rule’s prescription release requirement in today’s marketplace.
  • Examining the Confirmation Requirement and Lessons Learned from the Contact Lens Rule: Panelists will discuss how the confirmation of contact lens prescription release is working in practice: What methods are prescribers using to fulfill their obligations to obtain a signed confirmation and keep a record of it for three years; are there any options for easing the burden of this requirement; and what compliance issues have arisen?  The event will also feature a presentation from a practicing optometrist discussing how the confirmation requirement for contact lenses is being implemented.
  • Other Proposed Rule Changes: The FTC is considering three other amendments to the rule — allowing prescribers, with a patient’s verifiable affirmative consent, to provide the patient with a digital copy of a prescription in lieu of a paper copy; clarifying that a patient’s proof of insurance coverage is considered payment for the purpose of determining when a prescription must be provided; and changing the term “eye examination” to “refractive eye examination” throughout the rule.
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The event will be webcast on the FTC’s website, www.ftc.gov. Registration is not required to watch the webcast. Information on the panelists and other speakers can be found on the event page. The public will have until June 20, 2023, to submit public comments on the topics that will be discussed at the event.

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