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Thread: when does an eyeglass rx expire?

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    when does an eyeglass rx expire?

    I was recently told by a supposed reliable source that eyeglass prescriptions NEVER expire unless the doctor writes an expiration date on it. I always thought that an eyeglass rx expires after 2 years unless the doctor writes an earlier expiration on the rx.

    I practice in New Jersey. Perhaps the laws in NJ are different than other states.

    Do any of you know the facts on this?

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    No disrespect intended, but are you really a 'Doctor'? If so, of what? I would imagine an Optometrist would know the laws regarding his own profession, or at least should.


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    Is it November yet? Jana Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyedoc2020 View Post
    I was recently told by a supposed reliable source that eyeglass prescriptions NEVER expire unless the doctor writes an expiration date on it. I always thought that an eyeglass rx expires after 2 years unless the doctor writes an earlier expiration on the rx.

    I practice in New Jersey. Perhaps the laws in NJ are different than other states.

    Do any of you know the facts on this?
    Ummm...what?

    Who is your reliable source?

    Something smells here.
    Jana Lewis
    ABOC , NCLE

    A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Machol View Post
    No disrespect intended, but are you really a 'Doctor'? If so, of what? I would imagine an Optometrist would know the laws regarding his own profession, or at least should.

    Agreed.

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    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyedoc2020 View Post
    I was recently told by a supposed reliable source that eyeglass prescriptions NEVER expire unless the doctor writes an expiration date on it. I always thought that an eyeglass rx expires after 2 years unless the doctor writes an earlier expiration on the rx.

    I practice in New Jersey. Perhaps the laws in NJ are different than other states.

    Do any of you know the facts on this?
    You will get a much more reliable answer by contacting your state optometry board or optometrists association than you will by asking this on an international internet forum. Good luck. Let us know what they tell you, Doc.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Machol View Post
    No disrespect intended, but are you really a 'Doctor'? If so, of what? I would imagine an Optometrist would know the laws regarding his own profession, or at least should.
    It has been my understanding that an eyeglass rx is good for 2 years, and that is what I was taught in professional school. The official laws of optometry state nothing regarding eyeglass rx expirations.

    The "reliable source" I refer to is a director of a school that teaches opticianry.

    In NJ, you can't just call up the board to ask the law on an issue, you have to submit a request in writing which can take awhile before getting a response.

    I thought that a good place to inquire would be a site such as optiboard because I assume many of its members are opticians. Furthemore, I would also assume that opticians should also know the law regarding rx expirations since they need to know how to properly fill them or not fill them.

    Just thought some of you might know.

    No need for denigration on this site. If you have the facts, you only need to state them.
    Last edited by eyedoc2020; 10-03-2011 at 11:35 PM.

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    bilateral peripheral scotoma LandLord's Avatar
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    My understanding in Ontario is there is nothing legally preventing me from filling a prescription of any date, even 20 years old.

    In practice, I would need a good reason to fill an Rx over 2 or 3 years old, unless the purchaser agrees to pay for any remake.
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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    O.D. Rx's 2 yrs. OMD, when and if indicated.

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    Ophthalmic Optician Wes's Avatar
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    Laws vary from state to state. For instance, in SC an eyeglass rx only expires if the prescriber states that it expires. I was merely suggesting a local NJ optometrist/optician would be a much better resource. I've seen people ask locality-specific laws on this international forum on numerous occasions and they are rarely satisfied with the answers provided. So far you've gotten answers for South Carolina, Mississippi and Ontario. It probably won't get much better.

    Again, good luck.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, OO, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    In VA, spectacle rx's may NOT specify an expiration date unless there is a medical requirement. We've had some trouble with rx's written to expire in as little as 24 hours.
    "Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel." --Roger Ebert

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter optical24/7's Avatar
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    There are many state where an expiration on an eyeglass Rx is no more valid than a check box next to "Crizal" or "Varilux". Eyeglass Rx's do not fall into the purview of state pharmaceutical laws ( Where a medication has an expiration date and fines associated for filling.) It's wise to know your particular state's laws on this.

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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyedoc2020 View Post
    The official laws of optometry state nothing regarding eyeglass rx expirations.
    You have just answered your own question.

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    OptiWizard OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Better question than expected

    I just perused the NJ optometry laws. Couldn't find anything about spec Rx expirations.

    Here in Massachusetts, ODs are required to write an expiration date as per State Optometry laws. Also to be written on prescription is PD, address, and birthdate. Expiration date is required, that date is up to professional discretion.

    Lots of supposed info out there about a federal law that says an Rx is good only two years, but I've never seen it written.

    It looks like these regs are state written, which is why internet contacts and glasses are so big and getting bigger as state rules don't apply

    Harry

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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harry888 View Post
    Lots of supposed info out there about a federal law that says an Rx is good only two years, but I've never seen it written. Harry
    The laws governing optometry (and opticianry) in the United States are within the perview of the individual States and not the Federal Government. Thank God!

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    New Answer: When the patient can no longer see as well as he should out of his old glasses.

    Of course they don't write laws with this sort of common sense.

    Chip

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    They don't expire

    I've been in the field for many years and happen to be in a school of opticianry at present here in NJ... They don't expire ever. Think about it in reverse, I can take ANY pair of glasses and replicate them so why would an RX need to expire? Should a person get a new exam? Absolutely. As a matter of business many large chains won't accept prescriptions dated older than 1-2 years but that's company policy not law or requirements.

    Also for contacts it's two years unless you have a documented medical reason to cut it's expiration per your discretion.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    In eyewear, Rx expiration dates, Rx "hand-offs" and managing *capture* ratios are not primarily about client welfare.

    They are about control. The sooner we see the light about losing it, the better off and healthier our industry will be, IMHO.

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    In eyewear, Rx expiration dates, Rx "hand-offs" and managing *capture* ratios are not primarily about client welfare.

    They are about control. The sooner we see the light about losing it, the better off and healthier our industry will be, IMHO.

    B
    Rx expiration's are a good way to get pts in for regular eye exams. Pts often think that if they can see, there is no need for an eye exam. It definitely could be considered in pts best interest to have Rx expire. "hand-offs" are about excellent customer service. capture ratios are about running a for-profit business. Capture ratios are directly related to understanding if you have the proper product mix for your patient base, and the ability of your optician to convey the product offering. Again, its all about providing excellent customer service, nothing more.
    Last edited by AustinEyewear; 11-08-2011 at 12:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post
    The laws governing optometry (and opticianry) in the United States are within the perview of the individual States and not the Federal Government. Thank God!
    Ohhhh..., I'm not so sure about that. Yes, you are right that states control their professions, but not always their "commodities". Eyeglasses 1 is a federal law that trumps states rights. Yes, it only covers a specific thing about releasing the spectacle Rx, but it is conceivable that other federal rules can be made.

    Another example is the federal CL Rx release which specifies a one year expiration on CLs unless the prescriber writes something different. This trumps state laws that may specify something else... (as it did in NY, and I am sure other places).

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    Quote Originally Posted by fjpod View Post
    Ohhhh..., I'm not so sure about that. Yes, you are right that states control their professions, but not always their "commodities". Eyeglasses 1 is a federal law that trumps states rights. Yes, it only covers a specific thing about releasing the spectacle Rx, but it is conceivable that other federal rules can be made.

    Another example is the federal CL Rx release which specifies a one year expiration on CLs unless the prescriber writes something different. This trumps state laws that may specify something else... (as it did in NY, and I am sure other places).
    please tell me where I can get the cl law that states the cl rx is good for one year. I thought that the law is that it is good for 2 years unless the doctor specifies an expiration less than two years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJEyeGuy View Post
    I've been in the field for many years and happen to be in a school of opticianry at present here in NJ... They don't expire ever. Think about it in reverse, I can take ANY pair of glasses and replicate them so why would an RX need to expire? Should a person get a new exam? Absolutely. As a matter of business many large chains won't accept prescriptions dated older than 1-2 years but that's company policy not law or requirements.

    Also for contacts it's two years unless you have a documented medical reason to cut it's expiration per your discretion.
    As a doctor, I would feel uncomfortable filling an eyeglass rx after 2 years. If the patient refused an eye exam and I made them glasses without an exam, that patient could sue me if they lose vision to an undiagnosed eye disease.

    In regards to contact lenses, 2 years is generally too long to go without an eye exam. I have seen many patients that did well in a particular contact lens that needed to be changed one or 2 years later due to complications that had NO SYMPTOMS for the patient. Waiting that extra year could have cost the patient some vision.

    Contact lenses are a medical device that interacts with the ocular physiology. For many patients, it is foolish to go 2 whole years without an eye exam. For this reason, many O.D. and ophthalmologists will routinely expire a cl rx after one year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eyedoc2020 View Post
    please tell me where I can get the cl law that states the cl rx is good for one year. I thought that the law is that it is good for 2 years unless the doctor specifies an expiration less than two years.
    You may be right, I suppose we could google Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act to be sure. My point was that sometimes federal law trumps states rights.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinEyewear View Post
    Rx expiration's are a good way to get pts in for regular eye exams. Pts often think that if they can see, there is no need for an eye exam. It definitely could be considered in pts best interest to have Rx expire. "hand-offs" are about excellent customer service. capture ratios are about running a for-profit business. Capture ratios are directly related to understanding if you have the proper product mix for your patient base, and the ability of your optician to convey the product offering. Again, its all about providing excellent customer service, nothing more.
    Here we may disagree. Yes, business aspects are important. But freedom of choice is too. And in the good ol' USA, there are only TWO laws regarding prescription eyewear:

    1. FDA: Lenses dispensed must meet impact rseistantance standards.
    2. FTC: Rx Release rule - patient MUST be given their RX as they leave the exam room.

    As far as patient's best interest to keep them seeing their best, most academic studies define "plano" as inclusive from -0.50 to +0.50 sphere. So much for ANSI tolerance. And so much for defining a relationship between what's good enough/adequate and what's best. Even our driving standards, based on a 20/40 acuity threshold but without any contrast sensitivity testing, are, at best, merely adequate.

    If an office is interersted in delivering your patients the best, tell them so, and why they feel it is important to return every 1-2+ years for an full eye health exam. But don't fall victim to practice management company's cheering-you-on and appear to misuse the imprimatur of the eyeglass RX form to ensure client vision welfare.

    So much is rationalized about "business" and justifying violating the letter of, if not the spirit of the Rx release law. Rx hand-offs and subtle manupulations to keep exam clients from leaving the office at best skate the edge of the law's intent. Now, not every office is covertly trying to maniipulate clients. But in my office, where you arrive wanting eyewear (no exam, no doctor, no insurance taken), we're dependant on client's desiring, seeking and not being obfuscated in their quest for the best.

    BTW - IMHO, staff hand-offs are fine. "Rx" hand-offs are not. Period.

    All indie opticals desire is a reasonably-level playing field, and a chance to prove their worth. The FTC law was enacted to serve freedom of choice, which helps keep the field near level. Insurance, that's another matter.

    No offense meant here, and certainly not its not personal. But having seen what practice's are exposed to, and the kool-aid they drink, I think it may be refreshing to see it from another ECP's perspective.

    B
    Last edited by Barry Santini; 11-08-2011 at 06:28 PM.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyedoc2020 View Post
    As a doctor, I would feel uncomfortable filling an eyeglass rx after 2 years. If the patient refused an eye exam and I made them glasses without an exam, that patient could sue me if they lose vision to an undiagnosed eye disease.

    In regards to contact lenses, 2 years is generally too long to go without an eye exam. I have seen many patients that did well in a particular contact lens that needed to be changed one or 2 years later due to complications that had NO SYMPTOMS for the patient. Waiting that extra year could have cost the patient some vision.

    Contact lenses are a medical device that interacts with the ocular physiology. For many patients, it is foolish to go 2 whole years without an eye exam. For this reason, many O.D. and ophthalmologists will routinely expire a cl rx after one year.
    BTW, Canada Ophthalmological society outlined standards for eye exam frequency. For 19-41 years old, without symptoms, every ten years. I'm not saying this is great, but it sure is on the opposite pole from what we hold near and dear.

    And if a person is "plano" and doen't need any eyewear duplicated...do they then fall in the *donut-hole* of *not* being fortunate enough to have an eye doctor looking out for their vision welfare?

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    ...All indie opticals desire is a reasonably-level playing field, and a chance to prove their worth. The FTC law was enacted to serve freedom of choice, which helps keep the field near level. Insurance, that's another matter.

    No offense meant here, and certainly not its not personal. But having seen what practice's are exposed to, and the kool-aid they drink, I think it may be refreshing to see it from another ECP's perspective.

    B
    But Barry, the way you put this makes it sound like the purpose of Eyeglasses 1 is to protect the economic interests of the "independant" opticals. Everybody knows this law was passed to protect the consumer.

    I know you are probably the last person I should pick on, but Eyeglasses 1, in it's present form, in the present marketplace, does neither.

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