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#1
Old 02-08-2003, 11:02 AM
ski ski is offline
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Walmart won't sell me contact lenses?

I need more contact lenses (2-week disposables) because my current boxes ran out. So I went to Walmart this morning with my prescription and was advised that since my prescription expired 1/29/03 I would need to get a new prescription before they would sell me lenses. Now, the prescription is from my normal eye doctor, who has no affiliation with Wal-mart, so this wasn't just a marketing scheme. The employee (the vision center manager) continued to say that this was a law they had to follow. Well, my prescription works fine, my eyes haven't changed in years, and I am on my last set of contacts (not foreseeing this problem).

So I went online and ordered them with no problems. They'll be here in a few days.

But my question is, what business of the government's/Walmart's is it if I'm using an outdated prescription? I mean, I know people who have been wearing the same glasses for years - is that illegal? What if I bought a pallet of contacts last year and kept wearing them - would that be illegal? These questions are meant as sarcastic. I can understand government interest in making sure that prescription drugs are appropriately handled, but we're talking about glasses here! Where is the compelling governmental interest to regulate the sale of them? Seems like an unnecessary intrusion into my life. And why, if it's such a big deal at Wal-mart, was I able to easily order them on-line?

This is in Virginia, if it matters.
#2
Old 02-08-2003, 11:10 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 20,191
There's a similar law in Florida, whereby an eye perscription that's over 2 years old can't be refilled. I suppose the outfit you ordered them online from operates in a state with no such laws.

My guess is it's because contact users have a much higher chance of eye infections than non-contact users. I find it a bit of a hassle too, and I think I'd probably notice an eye infection before being forced to get an eye test every couple years. But it isn't that big a hassle, I guess.
#3
Old 02-08-2003, 11:10 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Posts: 15,425
They just don't want to be sued. Let's say they sell contacts to someone with an expired perscription. That person then gets into a car accident and they say that they couldn't see very well. Wallmart gets sued for not making them go to the Eye Doctor for a new 'scrip. It could happen and Wallmart is covering their ass.

Haj
#4
Old 02-08-2003, 11:43 AM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
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I order my contacts online, and after my last order they told me I need to have a newer prescription next time - so even online you are not exempt from the laws, although they may be more lenient (they sold and sent me my order - with the warning of no more until my eye exam).

It has been longer than 2 years since my last eye exam (I'm another one whose prescription hasn't changed in years), so maybe they let you go with a longer time period between exams?
#5
Old 02-08-2003, 05:44 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 528
It's a prescription, just like any other. Contact prescriptions are good for one year. If you had a bottle of Vicodin that said it could be refilled before 1/29/03, and you took it to a pharmacy on 2/01/03 and tried to get it refilled, they'd tell you to get a new prescription from your doctor, or possibly call your doctor themselves and get an OK.

Which is what the online place is probably going to do. The online place I ordered my lenses from held up filling my prescription because they were having trouble contacting my eye doctor to verify my prescription (this was over the holidays). Ended up not filling the order until after the first of the year, which screwed me all up as far as insurance is concerned.
#6
Old 02-08-2003, 08:06 PM
ski ski is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstamets

Which is what the online place is probably going to do. The online place I ordered my lenses from held up filling my prescription because they were having trouble contacting my eye doctor to verify my prescription (this was over the holidays). Ended up not filling the order until after the first of the year, which screwed me all up as far as insurance is concerned.
See, but that's just the thing. The online place (seemed to be a reputable company) did not ask for any details of when my last exam was. They did not ask for any information on my doctor, or phone numbers, or any of that. The only information I entered was the prescription information for the contact lens dimensions, my credit card information, and mailing address. That's it.

And, I really don't care what their practices are as long as I get my contacts. It's my problem if I order the wrong ones.
#7
Old 02-08-2003, 08:23 PM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 23,460
There's a similar law in Missouri. I think the major reason is to ensure that a doctor actually sees the patient (if only nominally) rather than simply renewing the prescription forever.

As hajario said, suppose your eyes had changed enough that you couldn't drive safely anymore? You may say it's your problem if you order the wrong ones, but it's my problem if I'm on the road with you.
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#8
Old 02-08-2003, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 528
Quote:
Originally posted by ski
See, but that's just the thing. The online place (seemed to be a reputable company) did not ask for any details of when my last exam was. They did not ask for any information on my doctor, or phone numbers, or any of that. The only information I entered was the prescription information for the contact lens dimensions, my credit card information, and mailing address. That's it.

And, I really don't care what their practices are as long as I get my contacts. It's my problem if I order the wrong ones.

Wow. That's odd. I would think that since contact lenses are a prescription, it's not just your problem if you order the wrong ones. There's got to be some law against improperly filling a prescription. But, I guess if you can buy Viagra online with a 5 question "consultation", I shouldn't be surprised.
#9
Old 02-08-2003, 09:12 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 528
Quote:
Originally posted by kunilou
There's a similar law in Missouri. I think the major reason is to ensure that a doctor actually sees the patient (if only nominally) rather than simply renewing the prescription forever.

As hajario said, suppose your eyes had changed enough that you couldn't drive safely anymore? You may say it's your problem if you order the wrong ones, but it's my problem if I'm on the road with you.

The contact lens prescriptions don't expire after a year simply because the prescription may change. Eyeglass prescriptions are good for two years. Contact lens wearers are more prone to corneal ulcers and other such eye problems, so the earlier expiration also makes sure a doctor is watching the health of the eye and not just the vision.
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