Prescription: If there is one particularly important conclusion about buying contact lenses, it is that you need a current eye prescription before you buy. Why?
- Contact lenses are medical devices. Wearing the wrong or inappropriate lenses can damage your eyesight. You should have an eye exam once a year and check or update your contact lens prescription accordingly. Trusted retailers will not prescribe contact lenses that are older than one or two years .
- Speaking of reliable suppliers, according to the FTC, it is illegal to sell contact lenses to anyone without a legal prescription. This includes cosmetic lenses, such as lenses that simply change the color of the iris without improving vision.
- Depending on your vision, you may need a different type of contact lens, for example, if you are nearsighted or farsighted, or if you have astigmatism in one or both eyes. This is something that only an ophthalmologist can tell you based on an eye exam. Sometimes different eyes need different adaptations, so it is very important to know exactly what your visual needs are for both the right and left eyes.
If you already wear glasses, you cannot use a prescription for glasses to buy contact lenses. Contact lenses correct your vision in a completely different way than glasses, including measuring the curvature and diameter of the eye, so you need a prescription specifically designed for contact lenses .
Lifestyle: Whatever your typical day-to-day optical needs, there is probably a suitable type of lens.
For example, people with severe seasonal or environmental allergies may want to choose lenses for everyday wear; Over time, lenses with longer wear can accumulate too much microscopic dust, pollen, and debris to stay comfortably in place. On the other hand, if you work long shifts, unpredictable hours, or travel frequently, lenses that can be worn for a month at a time, during any activity, including sleep, may be better for you.
Convenience: Since contact lenses are more inconvenient than glasses in terms of service, you likely want to minimize the strain on both your budget and your inventory.
"Convenience is an important factor, and if you prefer to shop year-round, online retailers can offer more flexibility and mail quarterly," says Dr. Hernandez.
On the other hand, you may be more limited when making automatic deliveries from a particular company.
'Contact lens subscription services offer convenience and peace of mind,' says Brad Brockwell, optometrist and vice president of clinical operations for Now Optics , '[but] the downside is that some subscription sites only offer their own private label … contact lenses, which may not be the best option for some clients. "
Legitimacy: Explore all available options to find a provider that offers you the most affordable contact lenses, and do some research to make sure the provider maintains a high level of service.
In particular, you must ensure that:
- the company only sells contacts approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
- the company requires a valid prescription from customers;
- the company does not suffer from bad online reviews and / or complaints to consumer regulatory advice;
- and the company does not make unauthorized changes to your prescription or attempt to sell you a brand similar but cheaper or less well known than the one prescribed by your doctor.
"Companies that offer to change prescriptions without visiting an eye doctor often wear poor contact lenses that use outdated technology and materials," explains Dr. Hernandez, "increasing the risk of contact lens complications and infections."
Safety: Most people can safely wear contact lenses without damaging their eyesight, but in rare cases contact lenses are incompatible with your eyes . This includes medical conditions that cause excessive dryness or inflammation, certain types of allergies or infections, or if you are working with a lot of environmental debris.
Also keep in mind that it is very important to keep in touch properly; Your contacts can only be used safely if they are properly cleaned, stored and disposed of. Failure to maintain contact can easily lead to eye infections which, if left untreated, can temporarily or even permanently damage vision.