Buyer’s Guide to Contact Lenses

If you buy contact lenses, especially over the phone, by mail, or through the Internet, you have to know some important things to protect yourself and your money. While such purchases are often a convenient and economical way to get lenses, Internet, phone, or mail orders require consumers to exercise some caution. The following questions and answers should help you take simple precautions to make your Internet, phone or mail purchase safe and effective for you.

When you buy contact lenses, first ask yourself if your contact lens prescription is current or updated. This is a must. Never order lenses with a prescription that has expired. If you have not had a check-up in the last one to two years, you may have problems with your eyes that you are not aware of. In these cases, your contact lenses may not correct your vision well.

Ordering lenses without a updated and legit prescription may cause serious complications to your eyesight. This also goes for the check-up. The fit of your contact lenses will be reevaluated, and any changes in the cornea from the contact lenses will be observed and taken care of if necessary. During regularly scheduled visits, your eye doctor looks for irregularities that, if left untreated, may lead to severe problems. Furthermore, contact lenses that haven’t been fitted properly by a doctor will not work well, or worse, might do more damage to your eyesight.

A legit prescription for contact lenses should include your name, the name of your doctor, and the brand and material of your contact lens. Lens measurements such as power, diameter and base curve are included. These are the minimum that should be in a prescription, but more detailed prescriptions will include directions for safe use, indications for daily or extended wear, the number of refills allowed, and an expiration date. This depends on the state where your doctor practices, as state laws often define a prescription’s requirements.

Internet stores sometimes make inquiries and check the prescription with your doctor. If they do check with your doctor and receive a verbal okay, they have already complied with the Federal prescription device regulations. If the stores do not check, then they have not received a legit prescription for the contact lenses. A written prescription may also be required and presented; again, this is depending on the local state laws.

You won’t get into any legal trouble if you buy contact lenses by mail, phone, or through the Internet without a legit prescription. This means, however, that the store is selling you those contact lenses as if they were an OTC (over the counter) product. This will be in violation of FDA regulations. Some Internet sites will allow you to fill out a chart with the ordering information about your contact lenses, and ask you to fill in your doctor’s name and phone number.

Choose a reliable and well-established store when buying contact lenses. Get the manufacturer’s written patient information for the lenses you buy, which will give you important risk/benefit information, as well as instructions for use. Be wary of stores where they attempt to exchange a different brand from the one you are using right now. Different brands of contact lenses have different water content and shapes. When you get the lenses, check to see if the store gave you the exact brand, lens name, power, sphere, cylinder and axis (if any), diameter, base curve, and peripheral curve (if any). In cases where you received the incorrect lenses, contact your doctor immediately and get his approval first before using them.

Ray Hawkins is a researcher and writer working for, which is a reliable source for high-quality and affordable contact lens. Visit us for all your contact lens needs.

– Ray Hawkins