How to Safely and Affordably Navigate Purchasing Contact Lenses Online

By RL - June 05, 2020

Navigating the online purchase of contact lenses can be tricky business. Which services are trustworthy? Which offers the quickest delivery? What information do you need to have on-hand when choosing and ordering? Eye health is important and ordering online should be as simple and safe as possible. We’ve looked into it for you and found some great tips for buying online.

If you consistently want to order contact lenses, this can be such a quick, convenient option. According to some online sources, as many as 20% of all contact lens wearers now complete their eyewear purchases on the internet.

It is that much more important, then, to keep regularly scheduled appointments for vision changes and lens fitting. Eye health experts generally recommend getting a new lens wear prescription at least every two years if possible, and ideally once a year. Vision can change quite a bit during those 24 months so it’s important to keep on top of things and make sure you’re not causing too much unnecessary eye strain. Most companies ask for your most recent prescription. Keep this close by so you can access your most recent numbers. You can usually request a copy of your prescription at an appointment with your optician or request a copy from their front desk. It is recommended to avoid buying any type of eyewear with an expired prescription. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), prescriptions should remain valid for at least one year. Some states allow prescriptions to remain valid for up to two years, so it’s important to check your state’s guidelines. When you go on-site for a lens fitting, it’s always a good idea to ask for a printed prescription to keep in your wallet. Beyond checking for the vision correction that you’ll require, an optician can check for, and diagnose, eye issues, and potential disease. They may be able to spot symptoms of hypertension, diabetes, or glaucoma. Any online company that offers to sell a brand of contact lens without either a copy of your prescription or without verifying its information are in fact selling them illegally, according to the FTC. The American Optometric Association warns against companies who are using loopholes to allow for online purchasing without a prescription.

Contacts and glasses prescriptions are different and, as such, an eyeglass prescription cannot be used to buy online contact lenses. Whereas eyeglasses are typically about 12 millimeters from the eye, contact lenses lie directly on the eye so the numbers will be different.

Eyewear and contact lens manufacturers often offer the same brands online as they do in stores but sometimes with different packaging. This way, if you already know a brand that fits your eye well and one that does not cause any discomfort, then you can trust to get exactly what you order. For those with particularly dry or tired eyes after a day of wearing their current contacts, silicone hydrogel lenses could be a great alternative. Many of the brands that offer this type of lens use recent technology and they can typically be worn for longer periods of time without discomfort. Some brands are even comfortable over a 12-14 hour period, while some others can only really be tolerated for 8 hours at most.

Online sources suggest comparing prices between online sellers. Companies can carry the same brands but at vastly different prices. It pays to spend time researching those differences if you’re interested in saving some pennies. Checking how much your insurance company might be able to cover can also save you money in the long run. It might even be a good idea to check out online suppliers who your family members or colleagues have already ordered from and who they might recommend. The Better Business Bureau can also display if a company has any complaints filed against it and if so, you’ll want to steer clear from those options no matter how good the online deals might be. Reading online reviews can help sort through the front-runners and inform you about which company offers competitive prices on contact lenses, excellent customer service, and a solid satisfaction guaranteed protocol.

Contact lenses are medical devices. As such, it is essential to use an up-to-date prescription and look for a product that best suits your unique needs. As always, when seeking medical advice, it is important to consult trusted, reliable sources. The information found in this article about contact lenses should never replace advice given by a medical professional. Information here is provided for consultation purposes only.


American Optometric Association