HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.

Contact Lens Info

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.

Additional Info & Links

More about the fitting fee and preventing common issues - Darwin J. Liao, MD, MPH
As the 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 arise at 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 without incident.

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 eyeglasses 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.

What 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 sales.  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 don't pay 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.

My 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 month, 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 lenses.

Alcon - 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 Medalist.

Ciba Vision - Focus, AOSept, PureVision

CooperVision - Frequency, Preference, Hydrasoft, and Natural Touch

Wesley Jessen - Freshlook, Color contacts

Vistakon - 1-Day Acuvue, Acuvue, Acuvue 2, Acuvue Bifocal, and Surevue

© 1999 - 2009 Seattle Eye M.D.s
Seattle Eye M.D.s, 'S' Eye Logo, The Future of Eyewear and Eyecare are trademarks of Seattle Eye M.D.s. All Rights Reserved.
Other trademarks are those of their respective owners.