Legal Memorandum: Dispensing Contact Lenses by Mail in FL

Issue: Under the laws of Florida, 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: Florida
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Fla. Stat. § 484.002(3), § 484.007, § 484.002(3),§ 484.002(4),§ 484.002(5), § 484.002(6), § 484.018(1), (2), (3); Fla. Stat. § 463.012; Fla. Admin. Code. r. 21Q-3.012(2), (3); Fla. Stat. § 484.013(1)(c), § 484.012(3)
Date: 02/01/2001

           In Florida, the preparation and dispensing of contact lenses upon the written prescription of a doctor or optometrist*FN1 and the duplication of lenses without prescription*FN2 are considered the practice of opticianry.   Fla. Stat. § 484.002(3) (1991).  A person desiring to practice opticianry must take a licensure examination and pay certain fees, after graduation from an accredited school, or three years’ licensure or five years’ experience in another state.  Id. § 484.007 (Supp. 1993).  The actual physical transfer of possession of contact lenses must not occur until after the licensed optician has fitted the lenses upon the customer.  Id. § 484.002(3) (1991).

The statute further provides that a "board-certified optician" may fill, fit, adapt or dispense any soft contact lens prescription, or any extended wear or hard contact lens prescription to the extent authorized by the prescribing doctor or optometrist.  Id. § 484.002(4).  Board certification requires, in addition to optician licensure, a passing grade on the National Contact Lens Registry Examination, completion of a twenty-hour course, payment of a $100 fee and issuance of a certificate by the Department of Professional Regulation.  Id. § 484.002(6).

The opticianry licensing requirements do not apply, however, to physicians or optometrists, or to employees working under their direct supervision if the employees do not hold themselves out to the public as opticians.  Id. § 484.018(1), (2).  "Direct supervision" requires that the physician or optometrist remain on the premises while all work is being done and give […]

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