Risk Management

Contact Lens Prescriptions: Information and Letters Regarding Release Information

Ophthalmologists have genuine liability concerns about releasing a contact lens prescription to a patient who subsequently fills the prescription at a third-party dispenser. Liability issues arise if the patient has a problem after wearing the new pair of lenses. The patient may claim the ophthalmologist was negligent for improperly prescribing the contact lenses or failing to warn the patient about the potential problem of wearing new lenses.

OMIC has developed letters to be sent to patients who request their contact lens prescriptions. These letters are tailored to three different situations:

1)      The new patient who has completed the initial exam and/or lens fitting but not all medically necessary follow-up;

2)      The new patient who has completed the initial exam, lens fitting and any medically necessary follow-up examination; and

3)      The patient who wants his/her medical record which contains an “old” prescription.

These letters are meant to warn the patient about the risks of filling a prescription without a current eye examination and follow-up.The attached sample letters are provided as a guideline only and should be modified according to the situation. Be sure to always place a copy of the letter in the patient’s chart and the signed return receipt if the letter is sent via registered mail.

The federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act requires that, when you have completed a contact lens fitting, you provide the patient a copy of the contact lens prescription whether or not he or she requests it, and that you provide or verify the contact lens prescription to any person designated to act on behalf of the patient. See H.R. 3140 for specific information about what information a dispenser must provide to you before you are required to verify the prescription. Also, check regulations in your state to determine if there are additional laws you must comply with when releasing contact lens prescriptions.

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