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Am I entitled to my glasses/contacts prescription in Illinois?
August 3, 2008 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Does Illinois have a law requiring vision professionals (optometrists in particular) to release spectacles (glasses) prescriptions to the patient? Contact lens prescriptions?

I've found this and this, but still can't figure out what the rules for Illinois are. We have a new (and typically confusing) vision plan at work, but my current optometrist is not on it. I'm trying to decide if I can see my current optometrist at the going rate for an exam but require her to give me my prescriptions so I can buy my contacts and glasses elsewhere.
posted by Joleta to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The relevant law, I believe, is federal, so you definitely have the right to ask for your prescription.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:21 AM on August 3, 2008


I am almost certain Tomorrowful has it right -- it is a federal law. In addition, make sure that the optometrist writes your PD (pupillary distance) on the prescription.

Some more info here.

And something to think about; a lot of people are saving major dollars by buying their prescriptions glasses online. I took the chance, am perfectly satisfied with them, and saved several hundred dollars on each pair vs. buying from my optometrist.
posted by vers at 11:27 AM on August 3, 2008


If you want to read the relevant section, It's the FTC's Trade Regulation Rules Section 456.2 (link is to a PDF).
posted by vers at 11:33 AM on August 3, 2008


The vision "plan" in a lot of cases is not really anything at all- the optomitrist signs up to be on the plan in hopes to retain and gain new patients. In exchange for this, he just eats the advertised discount.

There's a lot of markup on eyeware, that's why the online places can go so cheap. So maybe you can just ask the doctor to give you a discount and walk away happy- the doctor still makes some profit off of you, and you get a better deal and don't have the hassle. If there's a frame your doc doesn't carry, ask him to order it.
posted by gjc at 11:33 AM on August 3, 2008


I don't mean to sound snarky, but have you tried asking for your prescription? I've never known an optometrist or opthamologist that wouldn't. I always get my glasses elsewhere, and have never had a problem.
posted by 6:1 at 11:35 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks all, especially vers for coming up with the FTC text I couldn't find. (I wonder why opthalmic practice rules come right before insulation R-values?) I do know about online glasses sites and have looked at them extensively. Unfortunately, I either didn't find any glasses I liked or can't tell how they'll look on my face without actually trying them on. I did find some frames I liked at Visionworks, which just happens to be in-network for my new vision plan. The eye exam (vision+contacts) there will cost me $10 vs. $114 at my current optometrist.

My current plan is to sit for the $10 exam and see if everything feels right and if the resulting prescriptions are fairly close to my current ones. If so, I'll have Visionworks make up my glasses but take the contact lens prescription to the same online vendor I've been using for years, and which is much cheaper than the vision plan contacts. If I don't like the Visionworks eye exam, I'm only out $10 and can go to my regular optometrist to get the prescriptions, now that I know I'm not stuck there for buying my glasses.

I'm not experiencing any problems with my vision, so I expect my new prescriptions will be very close to, if not exactly like, my current ones. I just need new glasses because I hate my old frames, and I need a current contact lens prescription to order another year's supply. I do see my HMO's opthalmologist yearly for an eye health exam (pressures, etc.) but she doesn't do vision exams.
posted by Joleta at 11:53 AM on August 3, 2008


Unfortunately, I either didn't find any glasses I liked or can't tell how they'll look on my face without actually trying them on.

Growing up, my cousin was an optometrist, though he lived several states away. So whenever I went for a local eye exam, I would send him my prescription along with the model numbers of a few sets of frames that I had tried on and liked. You might be able to do the same thing: Go try on a few frames, write down the model numbers of ones you like, then come home and check online for cheaper prices.
posted by blind.wombat at 12:22 PM on August 3, 2008


blind.wombat: "...Go try on a few frames, write down the model numbers of ones you like, then come home and check online for cheaper prices."

You can also write down the measurements of the frames and the shape.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:33 PM on August 3, 2008


I've never known an optometrist or opthamologist that wouldn't. I always get my glasses elsewhere, and have never had a problem.

I actually had an optometrist (illegally) refuse to give me my contact lens prescription. Actually, he claimed he couldn't write the prescription down because it wasn't finalized or something like that. Of course, he only said this after the full eye exam, and after I told him I wouldn't be ordering contacts from him. I eventually talked him into giving it to me, though.
posted by footnote at 3:08 PM on August 3, 2008


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