The routine 1-800 contacts must follow is that they fax a rx verification to the prescribing eye doctor. If the prescribing doc decides that the rx is expired (contact lens rx's expire after 1 year), then a denial is faxed back. If the prescribing doc does not respond within some time frame then the rx is assumed valid and then filled. At my office, I show some flexibility if you are an established patient. I won't however validate an old rx over an extended period of time because whether or not you believe that your prescribing doc's rx is not necessary, he/she is still legally liable.
I'm not sure how I skirted the routine, but my correspondence was as follows (this was through Lens.com):
-They emailed me saying I needed to provide a prescription. I didn't know this so I was pretty pissed.
-I just googled some random Vision Center Doc. I'd never used him before, but he was the same zipcode as where I was shipping them so for some reason I thought that might help.
-Got an email from Lens saying "We contacted the eye doctor's office about your order # 2012657937 and they declined to approve it for the following reason: Not a Patient."
-From then I could either update prescription, email prescription or something else.
-I then received an email the next day saying "Federal guidelines mandate we attempt to verify your contact lens prescription with your eye care provider. We have sent your doctor a fax with your order details to ensure their accuracy. The same guidelines stipulate your doctor has 8 business hours within which to respond. Your eye care provider failed to respond within the required 8 hours. As such, we are processing your order based on the prescription information you supplied to Lens.com. In the event your doctor contacts us with any changes to your prescription after the order has shipped, we will contact you by email to inform you of the changes.
At this time, no action is required on your part."
-Contacts arrived about a week later. Idk if I got lucky or what, but maybe try a couple random doctor locations until you get one who isn't prompt about responding. 8 hours is pretty quick so I guess I got lucky, not sure.
It is bull shite you have to have a prescription for these things.