A woman planned on getting an eye exam and taking the new prescription elsewhere to buy a cheaper pair of glasses.
But after receiving her first eye exam at the optometrist office located inside a local mall, she was refused her prescription.
The receptionist then instructed her to pick out her glasses at an affiliated business next door.
"yesterday - I went in to get my eyes examined since my vision has slowly been getting worse, I've never had my eyes checked before and thus never been to an optometrist."
"I went to one that was in a local mall. the exam was okay, the doctor was nice, and I was out of there in no time."
"as I was leaving the examination room, the optometrist instructs me to go to the front desk to get me sorted."
"I go up and asked for the prescription, since I was just going to buy a cheap pair online, only really needing it to read. and I was told 'those are for our records, you can go over to the shop next door to pick out your glasses' (the store next door was a part of the practice, I guess?)"
"I inform the reception that I'm not interested in buying over-priced frames for something I'll only be used to read."
The original poster (OP) did not see what was coming next.
"the receptionist goes off on a tirade saying that those online glasses websites are all a scam (my brother uses them, which is why I thought that I can just get my prescription, and be on my way) - well I doubled down and demanded to have my prescription - I paid good money for the exam, so I think I have the right to have my prescription."
"the receptionist was adamant and refused to hand over my prescription, and the optometrist also said the same, and wouldn't give me my prescription."
"So I didn't know what to do so I just called the non-emergency line and was told to wait for a police officer to arrive."
"maybe 10 minutes later a police officer arrives and asks me what was up - I informed him what was going on, and then he goes in to talk to the receptionist."
"maybe about another 5 minutes tick by and I'm told to come up to the desk, where the receptionist begrudgingly hands over my prescription - I took it - said thanks to the officer and left."
A friend later teased the OP about calling the police and called her a "Karen"—a popular meme used as an insult to characterize an entitled White woman who often asks to speak to a manager.
"I told my friend what happened and he says 'so you called the police since they (optometrist clinic) didn't give you your prescription? okay Karen, seems like a waste of police time to me lol' but i disagree - why would they charge me for the eye exam to then bar me from using the prescription anywhere but their clinic, with their over-priced glasses."
"since the officer somehow got them to give up my prescription - I think I'm in the right."
"reddit, was i the a**hole Karen in this situation?"
Many Redditors acknowledged that the OP was in the right.
"NTA You were being illegally strong armed by a business attempting to force you to buy from them. Look up your local medical authority and report them."
"This would be the same as if a GP refuses to tell you the result of a blood test unless you got your medication from him." – Eliryale
"NTA. OP, part of the exam is to give you a prescription of for corrective lenses, if you need them. You can get your glasses or contacts anywhere you want."
"They were totally out of line not giving you your prescription, and you were completely justified in calling the police. I would report them to the optometry board." – cyanocittaetprocyon
"Yeah thats not a thing. I go to a different eye doctor every year cuz I have moved a lot in the last 5 years and every year I order contacts through them and get my entire prescription at check out. I've gone to at least 5 or 6 different places in the last 6 years." – sassyandsweer789
"Yeah, it's literally against the law for them to withhold your rx info. They can suck it. I'd leave an online review or two and do that ^ to report them." – DrenAss
"Definitely NTA. Listen, I am the compliance officer for a huge health care organization, and I'm here to tell you that they cannot do that. In fact, it is illegal to refuse to give an order unless your own services are used... I would file some complaints with your insurance and state insurance regulator." – cupcakes_and_vodka
"Seriously. I have good eyesight—near perfect actually... but I need magnification for reading on computers due to migraines and I also have a slight astigmatism so I prefer prescription lenses."
"I went to a LensCrafters because I knew my prescription wouldn't be extreme and they had no problem just giving me my prescription. It's insane they wouldn't, and they legally have to." – ohkatey
However, Redditor "eignablanca" said that the pupillary distance (PD)—which measures the distance between the center of your pupils to ensure you are looking through the right spot in your lenses—is not always obtainable information.
"The PD is not a part of your script, and they do not have to give it to you. Yes we measure it when you are ordering frames but measuring your PD is not a part of your exam or your prescription."
But there is a workaround for getting measurements on your own.
"Only a few states require that the PD be included in the prescription, so legally they can refuse to give you that information. However, it's fairly simple to measure yourself at home." – DaileDoe
The rules may vary for contact lenses.
Here is further insight as to when an optometrist may withhold a patient's prescription.
"Contact lens prescriptions fall under different laws than eyeglasses. The doctor can require you to return for a follow up visit on the contacts to ensure safety."
"If you don't go for the follow up visit then the contact lens Rx can be 'withheld' legally, meaning the Rx was never finalized and it can't be released until it is finalized."
"Of course I don't know if that's the case here, and the follow ups are usually only required for first time wearers and if you are a new patient to the office."
"Federal law (in the US) requires the contact lens Rx be released to the patient though once the Rx is finalized. They can get in real trouble if they are withholding it."
"Report them to the state board of optometry and anyone else you can get a hold of. Disciplinary action from the state board will change the doctors mind really quickly." – Aldo8880
"My doctor makes all follow-up visits part of the initial charge. If I want to try a different lens or there's a new one on the market the follow-up for that and the sample pair are covered under what I already paid."
"A really good optometrist is worth his or her weight in gold." – thiswasyouridea
Had the OP called 911, the comments would be different.
"NTA- If you had called 911, then sure you'd be one."
"You could have probably gone another route, like filing a complaint. But recently I got my eyes checked and they haven't given me my contact RX."
"I know it's so I will have to buy from them but joke's on them since I can still order them and 1-800contacts will have them fax it over. Follow up with a review and a complaint though so they don't do that to someone else." – HellaHighAtHogwarts
"that's the most important part of this judgement, you aren't TA for calling the police to come to help you with a legal issue. That's what they're for."
"You correctly assessed that your situation was not an emergency and called the correct number to address it."
"It's also important that you do file a complaint against their practice for doing this though, as they are most likely doing this to every customer and you are one of the few who will call them out on it to their face."
"They're going to continue unless they get a real warning from someone with actual authority over their practice." – aarnalthea
Hopefully, the shady optometrist changed their MO of withholding prescriptions, with the assumption that a complaint had been filed.
They should have known not to mess with this OP.
But hindsight is 20/20.