Since the methods of procurement of contact lenses have changed in recent years, the Board of Registration in Optometry has decided to comment on the guidelines for the release of contact lens prescriptions.

The current rules and regulations concerning Contact Lens Prescription-Content [246 CMR 3.02 (6)(c)] state the following:

A "prescription for contact lenses" shall not be considered complete until such time as the optometrist caring for the patient in question, in the reasonable exercise of his or her sound professional judgement, determines that the power, fit and other characteristics of the lenses are properly tailored to the documented clinical needs of the patient.

In many cases, it can take from 15 to 60 days or more to know if the contact lenses are properly tailored to the documented clinical needs of the patient. Since several appointments might be necessary to observe and modify contact lenses, we feel that the doctor must have access to any lens materials used, so that the final written prescription given to the patient meets the requirements above. This may involve the doctor having arrangements with contact lens manufacturers to get trial lenses that can be fit and modified prior to finalizing the prescription. The fitting of contact lens materials that do not fall within these parameters may need to be limited by the practitioner.

Following these guidelines will ensure that the Optometrist has evaluated the contact lenses on the patient's eyes prior to writing the final prescription.