New Federal Law on Contact Lens Prescription Release New!
Click here to link to the "Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act" on the Library of Congress website.
What is the Texas Contact Lens Prescription Act?
A law passed by the 75th Texas Legislature (1997) that relates to:
- mandatory release of contact lens prescriptions
- state regulation of persons who fill contact lens prescriptions and dispense contact lenses
- enforcement and penalties against persons who violate the law
What is a contact lens prescription?
A written prescription that contains the following information, as well as any additional specification information required by the rules of the Texas Optometry Board and/or the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners.
CONTACT LENS PRESCRIPTION (as defined by the new federal "Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act") - The term `contact lens prescription' means a prescription, issued in accordance with State and Federal law, that contains sufficient information for the complete and accurate filling of a prescription, including the following: (A) Name of the patient. (B) Date of examination. (C) Issue date and expiration date of prescription. (D) Name, postal address, telephone number, and facsimile telephone number of prescriber. (E) Power, material or manufacturer or both. (F) Base curve or appropriate designation. (G) Diameter, when appropriate. (H) In the case of a private label contact lens , name of manufacturer, trade name of private label brand, and, if applicable, trade name of equivalent brand name.
Who can write prescriptions for contact lenses?
Licensed physicians, optometrists, and therapeutic optometrists.
How can a patient get a contact lens prescription?
By request during the patient's initial or annual eye examination once the correct prescription has been determined. The prescription is also available by request at any time during which it is valid. On receipt of the request, the physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist must provide the patient with the prescription, or verify the prescription.
How long is a contact lens prescription valid?
Prescriptions are valid for at least one year after the correct prescription has been determined, unless a shorter term is warranted by the health of the patient's eyes or by potential harm to the health of the patient's eyes.
Can a physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist refuse to give a patient his or her contact lens prescription?
Yes, but only for one or more of the following reasons:
- the health of the patient's eyes indicates that the patient should not wear contact lenses or categories of contact lenses
- potential harm exists to the health of the patient's eyes
- the patient has not paid for the examination or for other debts owed to the physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist
- the request is made more than one year after the date of the patient's last eye examination
If the physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist refuses to give the patient the prescription or writes the prescription for less than one year, he or she must:
- give the patient a verbal explanation of the reason for the action at the time of the action; and
- maintain in the patient's records a written explanation of the reason
Can a physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist charge a fee for issuing a contact lens prescription?
No. A patient cannot be required to pay a fee in addition to the examination fee and fitting fee as a condition for giving the prescription to the patient.
Who can fill a contact lens prescription?
A contact lens prescription can only be filled by the following persons:
- physicians, optometrists, therapeutic optometrists;
- pharmacists; or
- an optician who holds a valid contact lens dispensing permit issued by Texas Department of State Health Services
Is a patient required to buy contact lenses from the physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist who writes the prescription or from a business that he or she is associated with?
No. A physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist cannot require a patient to purchase contact lenses from him or her or from a specific contact lens dispenser as a condition of performing an examination or a fitting for contact lenses or issuing a prescription for contact lenses.
Can a patient get an emergency refill on a contact lens prescription?
Yes, if the patient's physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist determines that an emergency situation exists. The physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist must authorize, at least once, a two-month extension of the patient's prescription. The physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist may telephone or fax the prescription to the contact lens dispenser so that it may be filled. The telephone or fax record must include the name, address, telephone number, and license number of the physician, optometrist, or therapeutic optometrist.