The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop on May 18, 2023, in Washington, DC, to examine proposed changes to its Ophthalmic Practice Rules, also known as the Eyeglass Rule. The workshop, A Clear Look at the Eyeglass Rule, is free and open to the public, and pre-registration is not required.
In December 2022, the FTC announced a proposal to update the Eyeglass Rule, which is designed to facilitate consumer choice and promote competition in the eyeglass market by requiring ophthalmologists and optometrists to provide patients with a copy of their prescription immediately after the completion of an eye exam. Under the rule, prescribers cannot require that patients buy eyeglasses, pay an additional fee, or sign a waiver or release as a condition of providing them with a copy of their prescription.
The proposed rule changes would require prescribers to get a signed statement from the patient confirming that they have received their prescription, and keep a record of that confirmation for at least three years. The amendments would also allow 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; clarify that a patient’s proof of insurance coverage will be deemed to be a payment for the purpose of determining when a prescription must be provided; and change the term “eye examination” to “refractive eye examination” throughout the rule.
According to the Federal Register notice announcing the workshop, the half-day event may address the proposed confirmation of prescription release requirement for eyeglass prescriptions, consumers’ and prescribers’ experiences with the implementation of a similar requirement for contact lens prescriptions, other proposed changes to the rule, and issues raised in public comments submitted in response to January’s notice of proposed rulemaking. A more detailed agenda will be published in the coming weeks.
The workshop will be held at the Constitution Center in Washington, DC, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, in the first-floor conference room. It also will be available for viewing live on the internet. The Commission is accepting requests to participate as a panelist from interested parties through April 7, 2023, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments related to agenda topics or issues discussed at the workshop must be received by June 20, 2023. Information about how to submit requests to participate or comments can be found in the notice announced today.
The Commission vote approving publication of the Federal Register notice was 3-0-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson not participating. It will be published in the register shortly. The lead staffers on this matter are Sarah Botha and Alysa S. Bernstein in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.