Unlike glasses, contact lenses have a shelf life, no matter whether you choose dailies, bi-weekly, or monthly wear. These can accumulate quite an expense, factoring in the brand chosen and the type. It is essential to take time researching for the best options offering the most value.
Many vision insurance plans offer little help because there are limitations on benefits with the frequency of claims and choosing either glasses or contacts instead of having both. Most people require glasses at times when they are unable to wear the lens.
Fortunately, for those who need to pay out of pocket, there is a broad range of online brands. These provide budget-friendly pricing compared to those offered with a typical optometrist’s office or even an optical retailer. The only requirement is to approach a site with a valid prescription and an idea of the fit.
In order to get the best deal and save the most money, buying in bulk is the suggestion. Anyone with a recent eye exam can get the highest value from ordering a year’s worth of the prescription. Most trusted sites will let you return unopened boxes if a follow-up exam reveals a prescription change.
Buying Contact Lenses Online
People do most of their shopping online for almost everything. E-commerce is soaring, and it is starting to include healthcare products. The FDA considers contact lenses medical devices (at least in some countries). That means you need to have a licensed optometrist prescription in order to buy contact lenses online or in a real-time shop.
It also means these are not “cheap” to purchase. When you locate a reputable provider, the recommendation is to obtain your prescription contacts for the year to save the most money. Fortunately, many retailers will take back those boxes you do not open if the prescription changes in any way.
The primary reasons people turn to the internet is convenience, ease of shopping, and the price point. But it is vital to pay attention to the brands you are pursuing. Research is crucial to ensure you are not becoming involved with an unreliable merchant.
You can have peace of mind if you get recommendations from a knowledgeable resource you can count on, such as the optometrist for a solid brand. It is also wise to read what other people have to say about the carrier in reviews on the website or social media profile and how they rate.
Any negative comments should show a positive resolution to the satisfaction of the consumer. If not, that should be a red flag. Other things to be mindful of aside from the mere simplicity of making purchases from the comfort of home (that will offer a certain peace of mind) include:
The Optometrist Eye Exam/Prescription
The standard for typical self-care is to undergo a professional eye exam at least one time each year, and that is probably the requirement with most vision plans for insurance carriers. It keeps your vision prescription up to date.
The optometrist could have you come twice per year depending on your eye health because there is the potential for a change in between checkups. You should avoid trying to buy lenses with an expired prescription. These are generally good for a year per the FTC or Federal Trade Commission, with some expiring after two years.
An optometrist can write the script, as can a lens fitter or ophthalmologist. The FDA considers lenses as a medical device because there are specific and real risks for potential vision loss if not handled appropriately or the possibility for infection.
If you can buy your contacts without producing a legitimate prescription, you should realize it is illegal (in some countries). No one can ignore the legal guidelines which intend to preserve the safety and health of your eyes. Check this link for dos and don’ts with your pieces.
What Does The Online Retailer Need From Your Script
Whoever fills the prescription, if other than the prescribing practitioner, needs to ensure accuracy and receipt of complete information from the provider. The details include:
- Patient’s name
- Prescribing practitioner name
- Exam date
- Plus or minus symbols preceding numbers denote the power necessary to correct the vision
- Lens curvature
- Lens diameter
- Lens brand name
- Signature of the prescriber
Glasses prescriptions are not transferable to contacts. These are separate and written separately. The reason stated is that the glasses’ lens rests approximately “12 mm” from the eye.
A contact lens sits on the surface of the eye. Your vision will be “off” if you apply your glasses script to your contacts. That has the potential to result in more damage to your eyes.
Follow The Brand Suggested On Your Prescription
The FDA warns against switching up brands for those that might be cheaper. The regulating body recommends retailers pay attention to consumers who attempt to switch brands from that written on the actual prescription. The reason for this is different brands will have unique shapes and varied water content.
The FDA suggestion is the only way to determine the correct lens choice specific for your circumstances is by following a licensed professional exam.
The FDA further states that the carrier should double-check the prescription details, including the power and the dimensions. The consumer should follow up with the practitioner after receiving the lenses, particularly if you have never placed contacts before and are unsure how to do so.
The stringency with these rules is due to buying medical devices over the internet. The FDA is trying to protect the health and safety of consumers and the security of the product. While it is true you can probably save substantially by buying on the internet – wellness is ultimately the priority.
Shop Wisely And On Time
For the sake of your vision, you want to avoid procrastinating when it comes time to order your pair. Supplies could be limited or take a while to reach you. You must order plenty and do so early to allow time before you deplete your current batch.
The suggestion is to buy in bulk because doing so offers the highest value for the dollar. But you should avoid choosing a retailer merely based on price. In many cases, cheaper can represent a lower quality. The traits that matter with a merchant is reputation, standards, reliability, and what other people have to say, especially professionals.
That does not mean you should avoid comparison shopping to see where you can get a better deal. The prices for the same brand will often vary for different retailers. Some will offer valuable rebates or promotions, and there are also subscription options.
Vision insurance frequently comes with limitations, but you should not count it out. Check to see what it offers for contacts and if it includes any rebate for lenses. You might be pleasantly surprised with the help that you receive from the benefit.
Online Eye Examinations Probably Not A Good Idea
You will find some contact lens retailers online who market eye exams. In most cases, these will likely be unable to diagnose a potential underlying eye problem that could be creating the issue with your vision. Plus, an accurate prescription from these carriers would be unusual.
The provider has no capacity for evaluating a person relating to the fit or material. Nothing compares to an in-person physical exam and custom fitting. No one should buy contact lenses without first seeing a licensed professional.
A doctor can determine if any possible underlying health conditions need treatment before you pursue corrective lenses and can either take care of these or refer you where you can receive help. If there are none, you will receive a valid script and a fitting specific for you.
From that point, you can take this information to your chosen trusted online supplier for a custom pair for which you will order the brand suggested on the prescription.
Buying contact lenses online is the way to go in today’s world the same as you would with most products and services. It is convenient, easy, and the price point is much more budget friendly. But you want to avoid buying simply based on low cost because that can also designate quality.
When you receive a prescription and fitting from your licensed practitioner, request suggestions for reliable retailers; a provider is an ideal, knowledgeable resource, as are close friends or family who buy lenses.
These options might cost a bit more because they are of a higher standard, but the products will last longer, and you will have peace of mind when doing business with them. Some suppliers allow you to buy in bulk, which gives you a better value for the money, and these reputable providers will let you return what you do not use in sealed boxes if your vision changes.
There is nothing wrong with buying contact lenses online. The idea is to be careful, research thoroughly, and get recommendations as you would with any products.