It’s hard to estimate how many people wear glasses in the United States. It’s fair to say that needing glasses is a common occurrence, though. The Vision Council estimates about 164 million American adults wear them. However, going to the eye doctor can be a frustrating experience.
Businesses providing eye exams are also there in part to sell you glasses. You may not even realize that you can buy glasses anywhere, as long as you have your prescription. This is because many places shepherd you right from the exam room into a showroom to try on glasses. Once there, you may feel pressured into picking a new pair of frames before you leave. And depending on the frames and lenses you choose, this may not come cheap.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, though, you’re entitled to your prescription. This means you’re entitled to shop around for the glasses you want—you don’t just have to pick from the frames the business has available.
The FTC has written an “Eyeglass Rule” which “requires prescribers to provide patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescription immediately after an eye exam that includes a refraction, even if the patient does not request it. Under the Rule, prescribers also cannot require that patients buy eyeglasses as a condition of providing them with a copy of their prescription, place a liability waiver on the prescription, require patients to sign a waiver, or require patients to pay an additional fee in exchange for a copy of their prescription.”
So, even if you’re totally fine with buying a pair of frames from the business in which you received your exam, you should also receive your prescription. And if you’re not ready to commit yet, feel free to shop around. There are a number of online retailers like EyeBuyDirect which offer both trendy and classic frames at extremely reasonable prices.
For more information about what your prescription must include, you can check out the FTC’s page on the Eyeglass Rule.