The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) became law on February 4, 2004. The Act mandates that eye care practitioners, including optometrists, release contact lens prescriptions to their patients. It also requires contact lens sellers to verify the validity of contact lens prescriptions before releasing contact lenses to consumers. Included below is additional information regarding AOA advocacy regarding the FCLCA, how to report FCLCA violations and additional resources to assist AOA members with complying with the FCLCA and ensuring contact lens seller compliance.
AOA FCLCA Advocacy
Ensuring that contact lenses are used safely by the public, and urging a robust response by Federal and state authorities to illegal and improper contact lens sales is a top priority for the AOA. In addition to efforts to educate consumers, AOA regularly meets with Federal agency officials to urge that more be done to crackdown on unscrupulous Internet and unconventional direct sellers, and these efforts are always informed and bolstered by reports AOA receives from individual doctors from across the country. Read more about AOA's advocacy on FCLCA below:
FDA Email to On-line Distributors About Unlawful Marketing of Decorative Contact Lenses
AOA Comments to FTC regarding FCLCA
Federal CL law must better protect patients from unscrupulous sellers
Report adverse events involving novelty CLs to FDA, AOA urges
AFOS gets Web site to stop offering overseas military CLs without Rx (Page 7)
AFOS, AOA secure change in CL sales via military POs (Page 4)
Reps. Whitfield and Allen to Continue Crackdown on Irresponsible Internet Contact Lens Sellers in 2007
FTC sends 25 warnings for FCLCA violations
Congress Approves Contact Lens Bill to Protect Kids from Eye Injury, Infection
Report FCLCA Violations
Eye care practitioners should report all violations of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) - including instances in which contact lens sellers fail to comply with the prescription verification provisions of the law.
Examples of non-compliance by sellers may include:
- No date and time on faxes
- Multiple requests for same patient after receiving doctor response
- Refusal to accept "Rx has expired" as compliant response
- Selling without prescription
- Ignoring the eight business hour response period
- Substituting lenses
- Unintelligible recorded messages or other messages not allowing the practitioner a reasonable opportunity to respond
Information on violations should be well documented and reported to the FTC as quickly as possible with a request for FTC investigation and action. Violations can be reported to the FTC electronically directly through the FTC Web site.
If a patient has been harmed or injured due to the illegal sales of contact lenses (corrective or decorative) AOA urges that doctors report the incident to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the FDA's website.
Eye care practitioners should also send an e-mail copy of any complaint filed regarding the FCLCA to the AOA at: FTCcomplaint@aoa.org so the association can maintain an accurate record of all complaints filed with the FTC and FDA.
Please contact Kara Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns regarding the activities of unscrupulous contact lens sellers or situations in which consumer safety is at immediate risk.