Legal Memorandum: Dispensing Contact Lenses by Mail in CT

Issue: Under the laws of Connecticut, may a contact lens manufacturer dispense contact lenses by mail either directly to the consumer or to the consumer’s physician?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State)
Keywords: Contact lens manufacturer; Contact lens dispensing services by mail; License requirements
Jurisdiction: Connecticut
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-150 (1989); Conn. Agencies Regs. 20-141-10(a); Conn. Gen. Stat. 20-146(a), §§ 20-151, -157; Conn. Agencies Regs. §§ 20-141-11, -12; Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-162
Date: 02/01/2001

           In Connecticut, no instruments to aid vision which are produced or reproduced to personalized given formulas may be sold at retail except under the supervision of a licensed optician and in a registered optical establishment.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-150 (1989); Conn. Agencies Regs. 20-141-10(a) (1982).  An optician may become licensed only after two years’ approved education or four years’ apprenticeship, and after passing an examination.  Conn. Gen. Stat. 20-146(a) (1989).  Licensure in another state with similar criteria may result in waiver of the examination requirement.  Id.  A licensed optician, or a business under the supervision of a licensed optician, must apply for an annual optical selling permit which must be conspicuously posted in the business establishment.  Id. §§ 20-151, -157; Conn. Agencies Regs. §§ 20-141-11, -12 (1982). 

Accordingly, the requirement of supervision by a licensed optician and the stringent standards on such licensure pose certain barriers to dispensing contact lenses directly to Connecticut consumers.  If, however, the manufacturer’s facilities are supervised by an experienced person licensed in another state, it is possible that some of Connecticut’s requirements could be waived.  Also, if the order(s) came from licensed opticians in registered optical establishments, a manufacturer may be able to dispense contact lenses by mail.  Further, the above-described provisions do not apply to optometrists or physicians, who are also accorded the right to fit, apply and dispense contact lenses, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 20-162 (1989), and who therefore may be able to serve as a conduit for a manufacturer’s mail order […]

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