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Buying contacts online is a convenient option for most people. To purchase contact lenses online, individuals just need their prescription information.

Person sitting by window indoors buying contacts online using phoneShare on Pinterest
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Several online retailers offer name brand and generic prescription contacts. A person’s prescription will specify the brand and type of lens suitable for their needs.

The following is everything people need to know about buying contacts online.

To purchase contacts online, a person needs an up-to-date prescription from an eye doctor.

If individuals do not have a current prescription, they may be able to use an online retailer’s “doctor finder” service, or complete an online eye exam. Some companies, such as LensCrafters, can help a person set up an appointment at one of their stores.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasize that it is important to have an up-to-date prescription, and that people should not use lenses from older prescriptions.

These guidelines will help protect a person’s eye health and vision. Individuals should also take careful note of when existing prescriptions expire and book an eye exam when recommended.

Once a person has their up-to-date prescription, they can visit several online retailers offering contacts on sale. Companies, such as WebEyeCare and LensCrafters, may offer name brand contacts, while others, such as Warby Parker, may also sell generic contacts.

Typically, a person will have a prescription that specifies a particular type or brand of contact lens. While purchasing online, people should select the appropriate brand and lens type and provide their prescription information.

Some companies, such as LensCrafters, can process eye insurance during purchase, so people only pay out-of-pocket expenses. Others may need to provide a receipt to submit a claim.

Learn about whether Medicare covers contact lenses here.

The number of contacts per box, price, subscription services, and financing options vary greatly between brands and retailers.

There are many considerations for those looking to buy contacts online. These factors include:

Price

Prices will vary greatly between brands and online retailers. A person should review the costs of lenses via different sites to see if they can find a price that suits their budget.

Ordering options

There are many different types of contact lenses. Daily use lenses are lenses that people use and discard daily, while a person wears long-term lenses for longer periods, for example, every 2 weeks or monthly. The lenses that a person selects can affect the price and the number of boxes they need to order.

With some companies, such as Warby Parker, a person can choose a subscription service that delivers a set supply every month. Other retailers may offer a 1-year or 6-month upfront service and send the whole supply at once.

A contact lens prescription will usually specify a specific brand or fit, so people may wish to speak with their doctor about choosing lenses from a different brand.

Brand reputation

A person needs to consider two main factors regarding brand reputation. The first focuses on the contact lens brand: Does it generally receive good or bad reviews from other customers? A person may wish to spend time exploring reviews of individual brands, many of which feature on sellers’ websites.

The second consideration is the retailer. People can find out more information about lens retailers with the following questions:

  • Do they provide the contacts at a reasonable price?
  • Do they have good customer service?
  • Are reviews generally positive?
  • Are they in good standing with third-party organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau?

The FDA offer advice on buying contact lenses online. A reliable company should not attempt to substitute a different brand for which you have a prescription. Also, be wary of any firm that supplies contact lenses that do not exactly match the customer’s prescription.

A doctor may be able to offer specific recommendations for reliable brands and products.

Personal needs

A person can work with their eye doctor to choose an option that is safe and works best for their prescription and eye health.

For some, disposable contacts may work best, while others can use long-term contacts with no issues. People should look for contacts that will best fit their needs.

There are several places a person can purchase contacts online, including:

  • Warby Parker: Offer subscription and single order contacts from several different brands.
  • 1800Contacts: Offer a large number of brands with the convenience of subscription services.
  • Coastal: An online-only store offering people the ability to order a wide selection of contacts, glasses, and sunglasses.
  • LensCrafters: Provide full service, including in-person eye exams at their store locations, as well as online ordering. They also charge only copays for people with insurance.
  • WebEyeCare: Offer help with finding doctors, subscription services, and several different brands of contacts.

Many eye doctors also offer online ordering for contact lenses.

Roughly 11 million people in the United States who are 12 years or older need corrective lenses to see properly. A 2011 study of Indigenous people states that proper prescription lenses can greatly improve a person’s quality of life when they can see clearly.

Contacts come in direct contact with a person’s eye. With this in mind, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAOO), older or improperly fitting lenses can pose a risk to the eyes. They may cause scratches or blood vessels to grow into the corneas.

In addition, the AAOO state that contacts are not for everyone. A person should reconsider using them if they are:

  • working or living in a very dusty area
  • prone to eye infections
  • have severe allergies or dry eyes
  • unable to care for contact lenses properly

Caring for contacts

The AAOS offer the following tips for proper contact lens care:

  • replacing the case every 3 months or if it becomes cracked
  • following all instructions from the manufacturer of the contacts
  • following all instructions from the prescribing doctor
  • keeping the case clean
  • washing hands thoroughly before placing contacts in the eyes
  • avoiding water and other activities where substances can get into the eyes
  • avoid sleeping in daily wear contacts
  • using fresh solution to clean the contacts before each use
  • keeping the solution in the original bottle to prevent desterilization
  • using only contact solution to wash contacts

Preventing vision loss

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can take steps to prevent vision loss, including:

Buying contacts online can be a convenient option for people who do not wish to leave their house to shop for contact lenses.

Insurance, price, and a person’s needs are important factors to consider when purchasing contact lenses. People may also wish to shop around to find the best retailer for the type of contacts they require.