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Don’t Go Buying Contact Lenses Online Until You Read This

You should take advantage of the convenience of buying contact lenses online. But here are some things worth knowing before you click “check out.”

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buying contact lenses online, illustration of a woman buying contact lenses onlineillustration credit: shutterstock

Everything you need to know before buying contact lenses online

If you’ve bought your prescription lenses from a website before, then you know the drill. But it’s still worth knowing these following tips. And if you’ve never had the chance to buy your contact lenses online, then you’re in luck; our tips are perfect for you, too.

Optometrist Lisa Berkowitz, O.D., also a spokesperson for, helps us breakdown the mistakes that could happen and how to take care of your eyes when your lens provider isn’t a brick and mortar store but an online shop.

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Buying contact lenses online rule 1: Make sure you can read the prescription

We could make fun of doctors’ handwriting for prescriptions, but getting the wrong contact lens is no joke.

The expert says: “Sometimes the prescription entered online does not match the prescribed lens,” says Berkowitz about the biggest people make when buying contact lenses online. “The patient can receive the wrong contact lens and the lens may not fit the eye correctly. An improperly fit lens can cause irritation, corneal abrasions and blurred vision.” Make you order the contact lens fit by your eye doctor. “If the prescription is not clear, just ask the eye doctor’s office what information is needed for your online order.”

Best Health tip: Berkowitz adds that online contact lens sellers must confirm the prescription with the prescribing doctor, however he or she may not receive the verification request in time to make the correction.

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Buying contact lenses online rule 2: Make sure your prescription is up to date

Your contact lenses are only as good as the prescription you need. So, if that changes, you don’t want to be buying the wrong one (as outlined in the previous slide).

The expert says: What are the signs that your prescription may have changed? “Difficulty seeing small details in low light levels at distance and/or near,” says Berkowitz, giving examples such as difficulty reading street signs at distance and ingredients on labels. “

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buying contact lenses online, woman rubbing her eyes because her lenses don't fitillustration credit: shutterstock

Buying contact lenses online rule 3: Make sure your lenses fit

Don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong material. There are many different types of lenses, including soft, silicone, hybrids and more.

The expert says: Here’s how to tell if you’ve bought the wrong contact lenses online or if you need a change in your prescription, according to Berkowitz: “Discomfort and itchy eyes can indicate a need for a different lens material or size.”

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Buying contact lenses online rule 4: Get your eyes checked

The best way to ensure your lenses will work best for your needs is to see your optometrist.

The expert says:Contact lens patients should be checked every year,” says Berkowitz. “Eyeglass wearers should have exams every one to two years.” She also adds that children and those 40 or older should have annual eye exams.

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Buying contact lenses online rule 5: Double check your prescription before wearing the lenses

What if you accidentally ordered the wrong type or there was a mistake with your order?

The expert says: “Do not use the lens unless your eye doctor approves [of them], says Berkowitz. “Some lenses are similar, and your doctor will know if the lens would be appropriate for you. Wearing the wrong lens can cause eye irritation, abrasions and blurry vision.”

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Buying contact lenses online rule 6: Make sure you order enough.

How much should you order? Your optometrist can tell you.

The expert says: “Contact lenses are tested and approved for specific replacement times,” says Berkowitz. “Replacement should be done according to directions from the eye doctor.” But generally speaking, it’s common to order between a two-week or a month’s supply.