The comedian Steven Wright once said, “I had some eyeglasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out.”

My version, not so funny: I was making my way through the woods up the hill, looking for a missing cow (don’t ask), when I brushed against a branch that knocked my glasses off my face. After fifteen minutes of meticulously sifting through the underbrush I gave up looking, thinking that after seven years of careless treatment it was time to replace them anyway (the cheap frames were now coming unscrewed several times a day). And eyeglasses are gloriously inexpensive online.

I looked around for my prescription but couldn’t find it. I called the optometrist to get a copy, but the receptionist wouldn’t give it to me—it was seven years ago, and in Kentucky eyeglass prescriptions expire after one year. No matter that the prescription hasn’t changed in basically forever. Kentucky optometrists think it is in your best interest to be examined yearly (not to mention their own), and this is how they arrange for that.

Even if I had found a copy of the seven-year-old prescription, it wouldn’t have mattered. Kentucky eyeglass shops will not fill a prescription that is more than one year old.

This is not a matter of state law; just the opposite. If Kentucky optometrists had their way in the matter, they would not give a patient their prescription at all. They didn’t used to, until a federal law required them to do so. Now they will give you one, but with a one-year expiration date. And eyeglass shops refuse to fill expired prescriptions, not because of the law but as a professional courtesy.

So I’ll be getting my eyes examined again, but hopefully for the last time. Kentucky eyeglass shops will not fill expired prescriptions, but online shops have no such scruples.


2 thoughts on “Eyeglasses

  1. Great post. Don’t understand why doctors want to shoot themselves in the foot like this. We need to fight CISPA because online prescriptions will be outlawed (with felony convictions) next. Except for Silk Road, of course!

  2. ‘Twas the same in Texas, for what it’s worth. A doc told me once his malpractice ins. was tied up with it, too. Don’t know if that was true.

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