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Time to require PDs on eyeglass prescriptions

March 17, 2017

In order for someone to fill a prescription for eyeglasses, they will need to have your PD. PD stands for pupillary distance. If you go to an eye doctor for a prescription, they must, by law, provide you with a written prescription. This was not always the case. In 1977 the FTC required eye care professionals to give their patients a written prescription. The FTC got involved after people started complaining that their eye care professionals refused to give them written prescriptions because their eye care professionals did not want them to be able to buy eyeglasses from anyone else. The FTC ruling enabled a patient to be a smart consumer and comparison shop for eyeglasses and buy them from anyone they wanted to.

There was no internet in 1977. In 1977, you could not buy glasses online. Since 1977, many states have enacted legislation to ensure that you get a PD on your prescription so that you can order eyeglasses from anyone, including online providers. Delaware is not one of those states. This means you cannot go to an eye care professional and get a prescription in Delaware without being subjected to an extra fee – typically $50 or more.

Measuring your PD takes less than a minute. It can be done by anyone. You can use a ruler or a handheld device intended for this purpose. If you go to buy eyeglasses in Delaware, this service is performed for free by the entity you are buying your glasses from. In Delaware, most eye care professionals also sell eyeglasses. They want you to buy eyeglasses from them. That's why they don't put your PD on your prescription. If you don't buy your eyeglasses from them and need a PD on your prescription, you are punished for it.

It's time for Delaware to take care of its citizens. It's time to require PDs on eyeglass prescriptions. If you would like to learn about this and become an informed consumer, check out these websites: 2020mag.com/article/the-power-and-politics-of-the-pd and consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0116-prescription-glasses-and-contact-lenses.

Brendan Buschi
Milton

 

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