Is There a Difference Between Non-corrective and Non-prescriptive Contact Lenses?

Changing the color of your eyes with colored contact lenses is a great way to transform your look for a special event or party. However, when it comes time to purchase a pair, things can become a bit tricky. Do you need a prescription for lenses if you don’t need to correct your vision? Isn’t it possible to purchase lenses without a prescription if you are just going to wear them a few times?

When it comes to colored and costume contact lenses, a wide selection are available in non-corrective versions, but there are also non-prescriptive lens. Is there a difference between non-corrective and non-prescriptive? While many people may use the terms non-corrective and non-prescription interchangeably, they actually refer to two very different things when it comes to contact lenses.

Non-corrective Contact Lenses
Non-corrective refers to contact lenses that are not designed to correct any sort of vision impairment. Since they are not used to correct vision, these lenses are simply worn to change or enhance the appearance of the wearer’s eyes. Non-corrective lenses may also be referred to as plano lenses by eye care practitioners and contact lenses distributor.

Those who only want to alter their appearance with colored or costume lenses may feel that since they do not require vision correction that they do not need a prescription for their contacts. However, the FDA requires that all contact lenses undergo an eye exam and contact lens fitting to receive a valid prescription.

Non-prescriptive Contact Lenses
Non-prescriptive lenses on the other hand, are completely different. These lenses are marketed and distributed to customers who have not received a lens prescription from a licensed eye care practitioner. Any contact lens distributor willing to sell contacts to a customer without a prescription is in violation of the FDA’s regulations.

Although most non-prescriptive contacts are also non-corrective, they still pose several health risks for wearers because they are medical devices that cover living tissue. Since the lenses are not fitted to the wearer’s eyes, they may fit too tightly and prevent the eyes from receiving sufficient oxygen. Ill-fitting contacts may also rub on the eyes causing redness, irritation and blurred vision.

Additionally, the wearers do not receive instructions for proper lens care and cleaning from the retail outlets where the lenses are purchased. This lack of knowledge often leads to poor lens hygiene, a higher chance of lens sharing and swapping and an increased risk of eye infections. Prolonged use of non-prescriptive contacts along with a lack of proper lens hygiene can lead to severe eye damage that may result in blindness or the need for a corneal transplant.

Everyone can agree that colored and costume lenses provide a fun, easy way to change your appearance; however, you should be sure to take the necessary precautions by visiting a licensed eye care practitioner, receiving a prescription and only purchasing lenses from authorized distributors.

Non-authorized sellers of contacts may include beauty salons, record stores, convenient stores as well as other retail outlets. Some online stores may be unauthorized sellers. This does not mean that all websites selling contacts are doing so without authorization because there are several reputable, authorized contact sellers online. An authorized contact lens distributor will require that verify your prescription with the optician or ophthalmologist prior to selling you a pair of lenses.