06 Sep How to Comply with the Eyeglass and Contact Lens Rules
Staying current with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer protection and healthcare regulations that apply to the Eyeglass and Contact Lens Rules is important.
The FTC created the Eyeglass Rule and Contact Lens Rule to protect the patient’s decision on where they can fill contact lenses and eyeglass prescriptions. As an eye care prescriber, you must always respect your patient’s shopping decisions, as they may want to shop around to find the best deal possible.
Below, we’ll discuss how to comply with these two rules and provide workflow options using your eye care EHR and practice management software (such as MaximEyes.com).
Eyeglass Rule Compliance Tips
Since 1978, the FTC Ophthalmic Practice Rules, also known as the Eyeglass Rule, have required optometrists and ophthalmologists to provide patients with a copy of their prescription after a refractive eye examination.
In August 2023, the FTC amended the Ophthalmic Practice Rules, which mirrors the Contact Lens rule. In addition, the term “eye examination” has been changed throughout the new Eyeglass Rule to “refractive eye examination.”
To comply with the 2023 Eyeglass Rule amendment, you must do the following as soon as the patient completes and pays for their eye exam:
- After a refractive eye examination, provide the patient with a copy of their eyeglass prescription, whether they ask for it or not. The proof of insurance coverage is now considered a payment to decide when you provide the patient with a copy of the prescription.
- Ask the patient to sign a confirmation statement that says they received their eyeglass prescription. If the patient refuses to sign the confirmation statement after providing their prescription, enter a note in their medical record.
- Keep a copy of the signed confirmation statement in your records for at least three years.
- If a patient requests a digital copy (sent via a HIPAA-compliant patient portal) instead of a paper one, you must provide it at no extra cost. Keep proof of how you sent the digital copy to the patient or how they received it.
Contact Lens Rule Compliance Tips
Eye care providers must also do the following after a contact lens (CL) prescription fitting to comply with the 2020 Contact Lens Rule amendment to allow patients to comparison shop for contact lenses:
- Automatically provide a copy of a patient’s CL prescription to the patient and provide them with an additional copy of their CL prescription on request within 40 business hours.
- Confirm that the patient received the CL prescription by doing ONE of the following: 1) Request that the patient sign a confirmation statement, a copy of the CL prescription with a confirmation statement, or a sales receipt for the CL exam with a confirmation statement. 2) Provide a digital copy (via a patient portal) of the CL prescription and retain evidence that it was sent, received, or that the patient could access, download, and print it.
- If the patient refuses to sign a confirmation statement or other receipt, the prescriber must note this in the patient’s medical record.
- Keep a record of the CL prescription confirmation in the patient’s medical record file for at least three years.
Pro Tip: The AOA has created a Contact Lens Rule Compliance Toolkit, which includes CL lens prescription confirmation statement templates doctors can use to obtain patient signatures, frequently asked questions, retailer requirements, and reporting inappropriate contact lens sales.
What EHR Workflow Options Should You Implement?
MaximEyes.com provides two workflow options to help you comply with the Contact Lens and Eyeglass Rules. We recommend Option 1 to simplify tracking patient prescriptions, eliminating bulky paper space.
Option 1 (Digital Copy)
- Provide the patient a digital copy of their contact lens (CL) and/or spectacle lens (SL) prescription via the patient portal.
- Send the patient a confirmation statement that they have received their prescription to sign digitally.
- Once the patient completes the confirmation statement, you and the patient will receive copies in the patient portal.
Option 2 (Paper Copy)
- If the patient prefers a paper copy, print their contact lens or spectacle lens prescription and the confirmation statement as the second option.
- Have the patient sign the confirmation statement that says they received their printed SL prescription.
- Scan the confirmation to import it into the patient’s encounter in MaximEyes.com for that prescription.
6 Tips to Maintain Efficient Eyeglass and Contact Lens Rule Compliance
- Stay Informed: Regularly review the official documentation of the Contact Lens and Eyeglass Rules. Stay informed about any rule updates or amendments to ensure ongoing compliance.
- Update Your Office Procedures: Modify your internal processes to align with the new rules. Train your staff to handle prescription requests and verification processes.
- Deliver Clear Customer Communication: Communicate the availability of prescription releases to your customers. Inform them about the steps they need to take to upload or provide their prescription information.
- Implement User-Friendly Online Platforms: If you have an online sales platform, ensure it’s user-friendly and complies with the requirements for prescription verification and communication with eye care providers.
- Maintain Accurate Records: Maintain organized records of prescription verification attempts, communicate with eye care providers, and resolve any issues.
- Enhance Educational Initiatives: Provide educational resources to your customers online and in-store. Inform them about the importance of prescription accuracy, proper eyewear care, and the potential risks of incorrect prescriptions.
Create an Efficient Team with Powerful Optometry Software Solutions
MaximEyes.com is a robust EHR and practice management solution—it works hard to solve daily challenges with fewer clicks and faster navigation. Let us show you how MaximEyes.com will transform your practice. Request more information or an online demo today.