Designated Drugs Regulation FAQ

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Professional Misconduct Regulation FAQ


Advertising and Receipts

May our clinic advertise discounts/sales/promotions to the public (e.g., 50% off all frames until July 1, or 25% off the purchase of a second pair of spectacles)?

Yes. Informational advertising respects patient choice and is permitted. However, advertised promotions must be truthful and verifiable and must not be misleading or presented in such a manner as to demean the integrity of the profession.

May our clinic offer incentives to patients (e.g., Air Miles, or a raffle for a trip to Miami)?

Yes and no. Because travel reward points (e.g., Air Miles) confer only a nominal benefit, they would represent an acceptable incentive that may be offered to patients. Conversely, an incentive involving a trip to Miami would surpass this threshold, constituting a benefit under the conflict-of-interest regulation, and may not be offered to patients.

May our clinic advertise and/or offer discounts to patients who refer family members or friends?

No. Optometrists may not offer or confer benefits for the referral of patients. This does not apply to “benefits of a nominal value,” which means small items or rebates that are not worth more than a few dollars.

May our receipts itemize a single dollar value for spectacles (frame and lenses together) or should our receipts itemize prices for frames and lenses separately?

Receipts for spectacles should be itemized to include separate values for frames and lenses, for patient information and as a third-party payor (insurance company) would require. However, optometrists may charge retail pricing for spectacles and are free to set their own prices for frames and lenses.

Mandatory Prescription Release

If a patient has an eye exam and there’s no change in prescription, must I give the patient a copy of the prescription?

Yes. A prescription must be given to the patient when two requirements are met:

  • you have assessed the patient’s eyes


  • a prescription is clinically indicated for the patient

In this case you would have met both requirements because you conducted the exam and a prescription is clinically indicated for the patient, even if nothing has changed. Therefore, you must give the patient a copy of the prescription at the conclusion of the eye exam.

May I email optical prescriptions to patients?

Yes, but not exclusively. Patients should leave your clinic in possession of their prescriptions. A prescription may be written or printed, and handed to the patient on paper. Alternatively, the prescription may be delivered electronically in PDF format to the patient’s smartphone or connected device, if receipt can be verified in office. Optical prescriptions should only be delivered electronically at the request or preference of patients.

If a patient refuses the prescription, what must I do? For example, the patient might have already decided to buy glasses at my office, or might not want new glasses if the prescription hasn’t changed.

You should insist that the patient take the prescription. If they refuse to accept it, then keep the written, signed, and dated copy of the prescription in the patient’s record and let the patient know they can pick it up at any time. You should note in the record that the patient declined the prescription. You should explain to patients that you’re required to give them a copy of their prescription and that it’s in their interests to keep a copy for their records should they need it to replace broken, stolen, or lost glasses.

If a patient shows up for an emergency exam with complaints of sudden onset floaters in one eye, and no refractive measurement is investigated at the visit, must I give the patient a copy of the prescription?

No. Because the patient visit didn’t involve refractive considerations, no prescription is indicated.

If a patient receives regular binocular vision therapy at our clinic, and refractive status is investigated only periodically, when must I give the patient a copy of the prescription?

The patient should be given a copy of the prescription after a major (or comprehensive) eye exam and at interim visits whenever a refraction result suggests the prescription needs changing.

If a patient has an eye exam and no correction is needed, must I give the patient a copy of a prescription?

No. Although there might be a refractive result (either small or absent), you must write a prescription only where one is clinically indicated.

When must I release contact lens specifications?

Appliance-specific information, including the specifications of contact lenses (or “contact lens prescription”), need only be given upon patient request. Once you’ve established that, in your clinical judgment, the contact lens fitting is complete and the fees related to it have been paid in full, you must release the specifications if the patient requests.