WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said late last week that it has reached a $3.5 million settlement with Vision Path Inc., parent company of Hubble Contacts, in a matter involving violations of the Contact Lens Rule. This is the largest amount ever for a matter involving violations of the Contact Lens Rule, and it covers “penalties and redress,” the FTC said in a statement late Friday. New York City-based Vision Path Inc. is the parent company of the online contact lens DTC company Hubble Contacts.
The settlement covers charges that Hubble violated the Contact Lens Rule in several ways, including by failing to obtain prescriptions and to properly verify prescription information, and by substituting Hubble lenses for those actually prescribed to consumers, the FTC announcement noted.
The FTC also alleges the company violated the FTC Act when it failed to disclose that many reviews of Hubble lenses were not by unbiased consumers, but were written by reviewers who were compensated for their reviews, and, in at least one instance, by one of its own executives, according to the FTC announcement.
“Hubble’s business model boosted its bottom line, but created needless risk for its customers’ eye health,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Today’s action makes clear that firms will pay a price for deceiving their customers, flouting the Contact Lens Rule, and using misleading reviews.”

Hubble executives took exception to Levine's comments. A spokesman told VMAIL, "There is no evidence to support Mr. Levine's statement, and we strongly dispute it. Patient safety has always been one of Hubble’s top priorities. Hubble was founded to make it more affordable and more convenient for patients to wear daily disposable contacts, which are the safest form of contact lenses."
The American Optometric Association (AOA) said it believes the FTC’s efforts in this matter are “absolutely warranted.”
“The federal government’s investigation and enforcement action against Hubble Contacts is absolutely warranted and reinforces the concerns AOA and doctors have consistently asserted with federal agencies, legislators and the media since the company’s inception,” AOA president Robert C. Layman, OD, said in a statement. “On behalf of doctors of optometry and our patients, the AOA will continue to work with government officials to hold illegal medical device sellers fully accountable.”
Added David Cockrell, OD, chairman of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, “The findings by the Federal Trade Commission on Hubble’s dangerous and reckless business practices are deeply troubling, especially as they severely compromised patient health and vision safety for years. We appreciate the Federal Trade Commission’s thorough investigation into this clear violation of the Contact Lens Rule, but this case makes it clear that immediate congressional action is needed in order fix the broken passive verification process, which allowed for Hubble to continue sending inaccurate and unverified prescriptions to patients for years.”
The FTC’s Contact Lens Rule, as amended in June of 2020, requires prescribers to automatically provide patients a copy of their prescription at the completion of the contact lens fitting. Before selling lenses, sellers must either obtain a copy of the consumer’s prescription, or verify the patient’s prescription information with the consumer’s prescriber.
Once a seller makes a valid verification request, it may sell the lenses identified in the verification if the prescriber does not deny the request or correct the prescription within eight business hours of the request. The CLR also prohibits prescription alteration by sellers.
According to the complaint, Vision Path, doing business as Hubble, violated the CLR and the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act by: altering contact lens prescriptions from the prescribed brands to Hubble lenses; failing to obtain or properly verify contact lens prescription information submitted by consumers, and selling contact lenses after prescription verification requests were denied.
The complaint also alleges that Hubble violated the FTC Act by making deceptive representations that the company would ensure consumers received lenses with valid and accurate prescriptions, as determined by their eyecare provider, among other alleged violations.
Vision Path chief executive officer Steven Druckman told VMAIL the company is “relieved to put this behind us and continue our journey to become one of the leading vision companies in the world.”
He added, “The FTC’s allegations relate to a period when the company was just starting up, and all requirements in the order were addressed long ago through improvements to our systems and internal processes.”
Druckman said the company disagrees with many of the FTC’s claims, including the FTC’s characterization of the Hubble team’s intentions, “but we believe that this settlement is the best way for Hubble to move forward so we can focus on executing our strategy to grow and evolve the company and expand on our value proposition.”
Druckman added that he believes “Hubble is a very different company today than it was when we launched the business.”
Since October 2016, Hubble has sold its own brand of daily contact lenses on its own website, using a negative option subscription model. It markets Hubble lenses through both targeted social media and television ads. Consumers sign up for a free (except for a nominal shipping and handling fee) initial shipment of 15 pairs of lenses and then are automatically enrolled in a subscription plan that delivers 30 pairs of daily contact lenses each month. The subscriptions currently cost $39 per month, plus shipping and handling.
According to the complaint, until the FTC began investigating, Hubble failed to ask consumers for copies of their contact lens prescriptions, and would not typically allow customers to upload, email, or otherwise provide their prescriptions—even when consumers offered to do so. This ensured that Hubble could not receive customers’ prescriptions, and thus could act as though it was unaware that these consumers had prescriptions for non-Hubble lenses, according to the FTC’s statement.
Hubble would then contact a consumer’s prescriber seeking verification to provide them with Hubble lenses. Meanwhile, Hubble’s telephonic prescription verification system made it difficult, if not impossible, for prescribers to verify whether a patient’s prescription information was correct, or to deny such verification if it wasn’t, the FTC said.