With a contact lens prescription in hand, it’s possible to buy your contact lenses from stores, the Internet, over the phone, or by mail. If you’ve always wanted to change your eye color, color contact lenses can provide baby blues, gorgeous greens, heavenly hazels — even various patterns and designs. You’ll want to take simple precautions to make any lens purchase safe and effective.
In the U.S. contact lens marketplace, 82 percent wear soft lenses, 16 percent wear rigid gas-permeable and only 2 percent wear hard. Contact lens sales are regulated by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission.)
The expiration date for your prescription is currently set by your state requiring a one-year or two-year renewal; if your state hasn’t set a minimum expiration date, government regulation sets a one-year date unless your eye doctor determines there’s a medical reason for less than one year. Rigid lenses generally give you more clear vision. Contacts provide for excellent peripheral vision for sports, driving, safety, and performing.
Disposable lenses don’t come with instructions for cleaning and disinfecting, while those labeled specifically for planned replacement do. Soft lenses are easier to adjust and are much more comfortable than rigid lenses, because they conform to the eye and absorb and hold water. Rigid lenses don’t absorb chemicals, unlike soft lenses which will soak up residue from your hands like soap or lotion.
Some doctors prescribe disposables as planned-replacement lenses, which are removed, disinfected, and reused before being discarded. People who have good distance vision but need help for reading can get a monovision reading lens for one eye. While the ability to hold water increases the oxygen permeability of soft lenses, it increases their fragility quotient as well.
There are also a few rigid gas permeable lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear. With planned-replacement lenses, the doctor works out a replacement schedule tailored to the needs of each patient.
Wherever you buy, shop for quality and value and don’t forget you want to do what’s best for your eye health. Beware of attempts to substitute a brand different from the one you want when buying contacts. Always ask what rebates are available.
Carefully check to make sure the company gives you the exact brand you ordered, the name of the lens, the power, sphere, cylinder, if any, axis, if any, diameter base curve, and peripheral curves, if any. When you place your contact lens order, request the manufacturer’s written patient information for your contact lenses; it’ll give you important risk and benefit information as well as instructions for use. When you receive your order, if you think you’ve received an incorrect contact lens, check with your doctor or eye care professional right away; don’t accept any substitution unless your eye care professional approves it.
Rebates may be available from the seller, from the manufacturer, for first-time contact lens wearers and for individuals who buy lenses and get an eye exam. Focus on value, not just the price; most people looking for the best price are really looking for the best value. Ask about prices at your doctor’s office when you have your eye examination, or during a follow-up visit after you get your prescription.
The risk of corneal ulcers for people who keep extended-wear lenses in overnight is 10 to 15 times greater than for those who use daily-wear lenses only while they are awake. Basic rule: never swap your contact lenses with anyone else. To be sure your eyes remain healthy you shouldn’t order lenses with a prescription that’s expired or stock up on lenses right before the prescription is about to expire; it’s much safer to be re-checked by your eye doctor.
Microorganisms may be present in distilled water, so always use commercial sterile saline solutions, if you plan to use enzyme tablets in water for disinfections. Extended-wear rigid lenses can cause unexpected, undesirable, reshaping of the cornea. If your eyes become red or irritated, remove the lenses immediately and consult with your doctor.
Ordering contact lenses online has never been simpler with, and sometimes without, a credit card. No matter which lenses your doctor prescribes, be sure to ask for written instructions and follow them carefully. Shopping for contacts online will save you a lot of money; contact lenses are deeply discounted.