Online purchases are quick, easy, and convenient. Today, you can buy everything from groceries to furniture with just the click of a button. So why not buy your contact lenses online too? However, buying your groceries from an online retailer is a lot different than buying something that is going to go into your eyes! Online shopping is not so simple when it comes to eye health. Contact lenses are a medical device, and wearing the wrong type of lens could damage your eyes permanently. What You Need to Know About Buying Contact Lenses Online
While it may be cheaper and more convenient to buy contact lenses online than buying them from your eye doctor, the benefits don't necessarily outweigh the risks. Some very real risks include:
Contamination: Contacts are a medical device regulated by the FDA. There is no way to verify if an overseas contact company is producing quality contact lenses since they aren’t subject to FDA regulations. These online companies may not follow health requirements and the contacts you order might not be stored in a temperature controlled environment, they could be expired or contaminated the factory environment.
Poor Fit: When you purchase contacts online, you run the risk of buying something that just doesn’t fit with your eyes - even with an up-to-date prescription. Eye doctors perform a contact lens fitting to ensure that what they prescribe actually fits your eyes. If the online store does not require a prescription, you could be purchasing incorrect corrective lenses or the wrong lens size.
False Promises: Sometimes you may think you are ordering one thing, but get something else entirely. For example, you ordered a lens made out of a particular material but receive a product made out of something else entirely.
Zero Education: When purchasing contacts from an optometrist you’ll receive wearer education, such as proper wear and removal. Online buyers forgo this session, leaving them vulnerable to potential health issues like poor hygiene and improper storage. The biggest take away for patients is to know that the online world is mostly unregulated. Unless you are ordering contact lenses from a professional eye doctor, you just can’t guarantee what you’ll be getting. This poses some very real risks to your eyes health.
What to Consider Before Buying Contacts Online
Before buying contacts online, consider if it's really the best option for you. Here are a few questions to consider before buying your contacts from an online retailer.
Do they take orders over the telephone? If not, this is a sign that you might be ordering your contacts from a basement operation. If available, make sure to try the phone number before ordering. If you get an answering machine, it's likely a back-room operation.
Is customer service available? If there's a problem with the contacts you buy online, you should be able to get immediate attention. A reputable seller will provide a toll-free phone number and a website contact form.
What’s the return policy? You could buy a year's supply of lenses and your prescription changes. You could realize that the contact lenses don’t fit correctly. Make sure the company will accept any unopened boxes. Also, ask what happens if your shipment is damaged in transit.
Is the ordering process secure? If you are going to trust this company with your credit card along with your eye health, it’s important to check their online security. Thoroughly research the company. Do they have satisfaction ratings and user reviews? Check the URL of the page at the top of your browser. It should begin with "https://" if the page is secure.
And finally, ask yourself if your eye health is worth the risk. Remember that your eyes are irreplaceable, and one mistake could cost you your vision. Discuss Your Options With a Qualified Optometrist
At Eden Prairie Eye Care, we constantly strive to provide our patients with the best possible contact lens options. During your comprehensive eye exam, we’ll discuss all your payment options, including rebates that contact companies online offer to professional clinics. You should only trust your eyes with someone who is an eye professional. Contact our offices today at (952) 944-2792 or schedule your appointment online. We’ll make sure that the contacts you wear are the proper lens for you!