Contact Lens Fitting Fee
The contact lens fitting fee is an additional charge
separate from the eye exam fee. Both new and established contact lens
patients should have a thorough medical eye exam annually.
New contact lens wearers receive training for insertion and
removal of lenses, trial contacts and a starter kit containing contact
lens solution and a case.
The majority of vision benefits do not cover the contact lens
fitting fee. However, some plans allow this fee to be deducted from the
contact lens benefit.
Patients will receive a copy of their contact lens
prescription after it has been determined the lenses are the proper fit
and that the patient can be a successful wearer of the fitted lenses.
All patients trying new lenses are evaluated one week after the start
of the new lenses.
Info & Links
about the fitting fee and preventing common issues - Darwin J. Liao,
Administrative Director I frequently deal with issues regarding typical
healthcare policies and patients with questions that are not
well-informed of their insurance
benefits and or issues they are not well educated upon.
Here are some comments in response to questions and
complaints arising from existing contact lens wearers regarding the
Contact Lens Fitting Fee
which is required by Washington State
Law. These situations are not unique to our office but
every eye care office. Hopefully this will allow you to better
understand how and why it is necessary to operate in compliance with
State and Federal Law.
Contact lenses are medical devices regulated by the FDA and
require a valid prescription for dispensing. This also applies to
cosmetic color contact lenses without correction. Washington State
further regulates contact lens prescriptions in State Law.
Many existing wearers are upset they must pay a "fitting fee"
even if they just renew the same prescription. A better term
might be "Contact Lens Examination Fee".
However, a good way to
think about it is like a driver's license. While most have
learned proper care and wear of their lenses, just as you may have been
driving since you were 16 years of age, the State still requires you to
pass their screenings and pay a renewal fee on a periodic basis.
The Contact Lens Fiiting fee is your eye provider's clearance and
assumption of liability for you to continue to wear your lenses or new
lenses if you are fit for such.
The typical prescription is valid for two years in Washington
State, unless the doctor sees a condition that warrants a follow-up
visit in one year in which case the contact lens prescription can be
written to be valid for one year only. Washingtonians should
consider themselves lucky as States like Texas mandate the contact lens
prescription fee is valid for one year only.
Contact lens wearers are at risk for blindness due to
improper wear and other eye health issues that require regular and
frequent monitoring by an appropriate eye care professional. Many
patients overwear there lenses and simply take the technology for
granted, until they have a problem.
Others may be at risk for irritation by environmental or
seasonal allergies. Many can wear their contact lenses for years
When patients are instructed to cease contact lens wear they
frequently become upset because they have not considered to have a
backup pair of prescription at hand. Many flatly admit their own
vanity and state they don't like how they look in glasses.
However the medical advice to cease contact lens wear should not be
taken lightly. At the same, we also are aware that in this day
and age there
are many individuals that went straight into contact lenses to correct
their vision without ever wearing glasses. It is always
strongly recommended that all contact lens have a backup pair of
for emergency use.
Another frequent occurrence is calling for a refill order of
contact lenses a day or two prior to a business trip or vacation.
Please plan ahead and order at least two weeks ahead of any out of town
excursions and make sure you have extra lenses and/or a backup pair of
glasses. If you wear a toric lens, allow for more time.
Also at times manufacturer's do experience backorders and production
delays. Good planning is prudent.
about online ordering?
Please do not call our office to ask for assistance with ordering
online. If you have been provided your contacts prescription you
must order on your own at your own risk. Our office will not
provide information to help you interpret the prescription information
for non-provider acqusition. This is a "gray area"
medico-legally. As we have been informed, it is technically
illegal for consumers in this State to receive their lenses from a
non-provider (doctor). This is why even big warehouse retailers
and chains have an idependent doctor on site to authorize such
So how can those national chains stay in business? Every State
has different laws, consumers are unaware they might be breaking the
law or that they might be saving money. That's no necessarily
true. Consider this. Most consumers must pay sales tax even on
items ship from Out of State where no sales tax was charged. Many
simply do not pay since it's the honor system. However in an audit, you
might be fined interest on taxes due to the State. In Washington
State prescription lenses are tax exempt, so for example, you
the 9% retail sales tax when buying contacts from our offices.
Intrastate or online ordering has never
been an issue for me so why should I care?
We only can inform you that its recommended to
purchase your lenses from an authorized provider. Should you have a
sight-threatening issue that results in an insurance claim or legal
action, it is up to those entities to qualify or disqualify you from
compensation due. If one party is out of state, your legal fees may
rise in order to challenge them versus a local entity.
prescription expires in a week, can I buy another year's supply and
forgo an exam?
Again, this is pretty cut and dry but some chains and online
fulfillment houses act differently. Because your lenses are FDA
approved for safe wear for a particular period, e.g. 2 weeks or 1
most providers will allow you fill your script with enough boxes until
your prescription is expired. There is some industry push to
clarify the way contact lens prescriptions are written so that it's
clear you have a certain number of boxes. For example, if you had
a 2 week lens that comes 6 lenses per box, your 2 year supply would be
16 boxes total. However, if you were to abuse the lenses and
overwear them you might just buy 8 before the prescription expired and
like an oral medication prescription, the script would just
expire. However, some other issues might arise where you lost
boxes or changed lenses more often so you needed more than 16 boxes
total. Right now there is nothing stopping you from buying 2 year
supplies from multiple providers. However many patients have
prescription changes within that time and as of recent many
manufacturers continue to release new products. Purchase what you
need and plan for the unexpected tearing of a lens or vacations.
Visit these manufacturer links for information about vision and contact
- Eyecare Online - consumer eyecare site with info on eye
conditions, allergies, eye surgery, and contact lens care. Makers of
OptiFree contact lens solutions.
Bausch & Lomb -
Patient education includes contact lenses and laser surgery. Makers of
Renu, Boston, Optima, SofLens, PureVision, Occasions, SilSoft and Gold
Ciba Vision - Focus,
Frequency, Preference, Hydrasoft, and Natural Touch
Wesley Jessen -
Freshlook, Color contacts
Vistakon - 1-Day Acuvue,
Acuvue, Acuvue 2, Acuvue Bifocal, and Surevue