FOR RELEASE: MAY 3, 1996
DALLAS EYECARE CENTER AGREES TO SETTLE
FTC CHARGES THAT THEY FAILED TO GIVE
CONSUMERS COPIES OF THEIR EYEGLASS PRESCRIPTIONS
Doctor's Eyecare Center, Inc., of Dallas, Texas, and its president, have agreed to pay
a $10,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they failed to provide many
patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescription after completing an eye examination and that they
unlawfully included on their prescription forms a waiver of liability as to accuracy. These
practices violate the FTC's Prescription Release Rule. In addition to paying the civil
penalty, the settlement would prohibit the defendants from further violating the Rule.
This is the first case alleging violation of the FTC's Prescription Release Rule.
"The purpose of the rule is to provide consumers with a choice of eyeglass providers and an opportunity
to shop around for competitive prices,"said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer
Protection. "Without a copy of their prescription, consumers are forced to purchase their
eyeglasses from the examining ophthalmologist or optometrist."
The Prescription Release Rule, originally promulgated in June 1978, requires an ophthalmologist
or optometrist to give a copy of the patient's eyeglass prescription to the patient immediately after
the eye exam is completed. To fully protect consumers, the Rule requires that eyeglass prescriptions
be automatically released rather than given out only after a request from the patient.
Armed with a copy of their prescription, a consumer can go to any eyeglass provider, including opticians,
to purchase their eyeglasses.
Doctor's Eyecare Center offers eye exams and sells eyeglass frames and lenses in the North Texas area.
Daniel B. Shropshire, president of the Center, is a licensed optometrist.
According to the FTC complaint detailing the allegations, after completing eye examinations, the defendants
failed to provide many patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescriptions, unless a patient specifically
requested it. When they did provide a copy of the prescription, the FTC alleged, the prescription
form they used contained a waiver notice that implied that the examining doctor was not liable for the
accuracy of the prescription and that the dispensing optician assumes the responsibility for lens power
adjustments and remakes due to inaccuracies in the prescription. Such a disclaimer also violates
The proposed consent decree settling these charges, subject to court approval, would require the defendants
to pay the $10,000 civil penalty within 10 days and would permanently bar the defendants from future violations
of the Prescription Release Rule. In addition, the order would require the defendants to give
a copy of the consent decree, the Rule and its Statement of Basis and Purpose to each of its employees
and get back from them a signed statement acknowledging receipt of the above documents.
The proposed settlement also contains various reporting provisions designed to assist the FTC in monitoring
the defendants' compliance.
The Commission vote to authorize filing of the complaint and proposed consent decree was 5-0.
They were filed on May 2, 1996, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, in Dallas,
by the Department of Justice at the request of the FTC.
NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the
defendants of a law violation. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the complaint and consent decree are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room
130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing
impaired 202-326-2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone
recording at 202-326-2710 FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World
Wide Web site at: www.ftc.gov
MEDIA CONTACT: Brenda Mack, Office of Public Affairs, 202-326-2182
STAFF CONTACT: Dallas Regional Office, Thomas Carter or Maridel S. Freshwater, 100 North Central
Expressway, Suite 500, Dallas, Texas 75201, 214-767-5518
(FTC File No. 924-3248)
(Civil Action No. 3-96 CV 1224-D)