Contact Lens Buying Guide

Contact Lens Buying Guide

Before diving into the details of our ‘contact lens buying guide’, it’s essential to understand the basics of contact lenses and the different types available. This knowledge will help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next pair of contact lenses.

Basics of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses are thin lenses designed to fit directly on the surface of the eye. They are used to correct vision problems, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia. Contacts offer an alternative to eyeglasses, providing a natural field of view, unhindered by frame edges, and do not fog up or get splattered by rain.

The two main types of contact lens materials are soft lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses. Soft lenses, made of hydrogels or silicone hydrogels, are generally more comfortable to wear, while RGP lenses offer crisper vision. Silicone hydrogel contact lenses, which allow more oxygen to reach the cornea compared to traditional hydrogel lenses, are an option for patients seeking high levels of comfort and longer daily wear times.

Types of Contact Lenses

Contact lenses come in various types, each catering to specific needs such as comfort, maintenance, vision correction, and eye conditions like astigmatism. Here is a quick summary of the most common types:

  • Daily Disposable Contact Lenses: These lenses are designed for single-day use and are discarded after each wear, eliminating the need for cleaning and storage. They are a hygienic and convenient option for contact lens wearers.

  • Hard Contact Lenses: Also known as rigid gas permeable lenses, these can provide sharper vision and are primarily recommended for individuals with astigmatism. They require daily wear.

  • Disposable Contact Lenses: A low-maintenance and convenient option, ideal for individuals with severe allergies, dry eyes, or those who prefer to limit irritants and reduce the risk of infections.

  • Multifocal Contact Lenses: These lenses are specifically designed for individuals who have difficulty focusing on objects up close. They offer an alternative to bifocal glasses for conditions like farsightedness and are also available in a multifocal toric version for individuals with astigmatism.

Given the array of options, it’s crucial to consider factors when selecting contact lenses, such as frequency of wear, desired vision sharpness, ability to care for contacts properly, preference for overnight or disposable lenses, use of bifocal glasses, affordability, and presence of chronic allergies (Perfect Lens).

For a comprehensive comparison of various brands, check out our contact lens brand comparison.

Purchasing Contact Lenses

When it comes to buying contact lenses, there are several factors to consider. The purchase venue, cost, and importance of a prescription are all crucial aspects to keep in mind when navigating the process. This section of the contact lens buying guide will cover these areas in more detail.

Buying Online Vs. Local Eye Doctor

Arguably one of the first decisions to make when purchasing contact lenses is whether to buy online or through a local eye doctor.

Ordering contacts from your local optometrist is often cheaper than ordering online, with added benefits such as higher rebates, better shipping, and better insurance coverage. Optometrists can offer competitive wholesale pricing on contact lenses, enabling them to resell lenses at great rates. This makes the eye doctor’s pricing just as affordable, if not more so than online stores.

However, buying online might offer a wider selection of brands and types of lenses. For more information on this, refer to our contact lens brand comparison page.

Costs of Contact Lenses

The cost of contact lenses can vary greatly depending on the type of lenses, the brand, and where they are purchased. It’s important to consider not just the upfront cost of the lenses, but also additional expenses such as storage cases and eye drops. For more detailed information on cost considerations, refer to our cost considerations page.

Importance of a Prescription

In the United States, it is necessary to have a prescription in order to buy contact lenses. This ensures proper fitting and reduces safety risks associated with wearing contact lenses without a prescription.

Buying contact lenses without a prescription can pose risks such as eye discomfort, inflammation, swelling, abrasions, increased infections, blurry vision, and even permanent eye tissue damage due to improper fitting or usage.

Despite the requirement for a prescription in the United States, there are contact lens retailers in other parts of the world that do not require a prescription in order to purchase contact lenses. This provides an alternative purchasing option for consumers seeking to bypass the prescription process.

However, it is strongly recommended to always use a prescription when buying contact lenses. For more information on this, refer to our prescription requirements page.

In conclusion, purchasing contact lenses involves a number of considerations and steps. By understanding the differences between buying online and from an eye doctor, considering the costs involved, and recognizing the importance of a prescription, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Contact Lens Care

A significant part of maintaining eye health with contact lens use is ensuring proper lens care. Wearing contact lenses offers numerous benefits, but it also comes with responsibilities.

Proper Lens Maintenance

Proper contact lens care is crucial as bad habits can lead to severe eye infections, which could result in blindness. The care regimen for contact lenses often involves cleaning, rinsing, and disinfecting the lenses with a suitable solution after each use. Additionally, it is necessary to replace the lenses and the storage cases at regular intervals as recommended by your eye care professional.

The steps for proper lens maintenance typically include:

  1. Wash and dry your hands before handling the lenses.
  2. Remove the lens and clean it using the recommended contact lens solution.
  3. Rinse the lens thoroughly and place it in a clean lens case filled with fresh solution.
  4. Repeat the process for the other lens.
  5. Replace the lens case every three months or as directed by the manufacturer.

For more tips and product recommendations, refer to our contact lens buying guide.

Risks of Poor Lens Care

Failure to comply with the lens care instructions can put contact lens wearers at risk of severe eye conditions. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 99% of soft contact lens wearers are at risk of a potentially serious eye infection called microbial keratitis due to improper care.

Furthermore, sleeping in contact lenses increases the risk of eye infections by six to eight times. Therefore, unless specified by your doctor or the lens manufacturer, it is advisable to remove the lenses before sleeping.

Buying contact lenses without a prescription can pose risks such as eye discomfort, inflammation, swelling, abrasions, increased infections, blurry vision, and even permanent eye tissue damage due to improper fitting or usage. Therefore, always ensure you have a valid prescription when purchasing contact lenses, be it from local stores or online platforms.

By understanding the importance of proper lens care and the risks associated with poor lens maintenance, you can ensure the longevity of your contact lenses and, more importantly, the health of your eyes. For more information on buying contact lenses, check out our comprehensive contact lens buying guide.

Choosing the Right Contact Lenses

With a myriad of options available, choosing the right contact lenses can be a daunting task. To make a suitable choice, several factors need to be taken into account.

Factors to Consider

When selecting contact lenses, the comfort and fit of the lenses, the type of lens material, the wearing schedule (daily, weekly, monthly), and the cost and insurance coverage are some of the vital factors to consider.

Moreover, the frequency of wear, desired vision sharpness, ability to care for contacts properly, preference for overnight or disposable lenses, use of bifocal glasses, affordability, and presence of chronic allergies also play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

In addition to these, factors like prescription requirements, budget, eye health, and lifestyle should also be considered.

There are various types of contact lenses available, such as soft contact lenses, rigid gas-permeable (GP) lenses, toric lenses for astigmatism, multifocal lenses for presbyopia, and specialty lenses for specific eye conditions.

Daily Vs. Monthly Lenses

Choosing between daily and monthly lenses is one of the key decisions to make when purchasing contact lenses.

Daily disposable contact lenses are simpler to handle and dispose of, making them a hassle-free choice for individuals with busy lifestyles. They eliminate the need for cleaning or storing, which is convenient for those who prefer a straightforward approach to wearing contacts.

On the other hand, monthlies are often considered the more cost-effective option for full-time wearers, despite the additional expense of contact lens solutions.

Daily contacts are worn for a day and do not require storage or cleaning with a solution since they are disposed of at the end of the day, while monthly contacts are worn daily, removed, cleaned nightly, and replaced each month. Daily contacts offer comfort, convenience, and hygiene as they are designed to be used only once and discarded, reducing the risk of bacterial exposure and eye infections.

Daily contacts are thinner and more moist, allowing eye deposits to build up quickly if worn longer than recommended. On the other hand, monthly contacts are thicker and last longer, which may make them less comfortable and lead to a noticeable build-up of natural eye deposits. Monthly contacts must be stored in fresh solution between uses to maintain cleanliness and prevent germs (Warby Parker).

In terms of costs, daily lenses start at around $1 per day, while monthly lenses may average between $15 to $25 per month. The varying costs should be considered along with individual preferences and budget constraints when deciding between the two types of lenses.

Although both daily and monthly contact lenses have their advantages and disadvantages, choosing between them ultimately depends on individual factors such as prescription requirements, lifestyle preferences, and recommendations from an optometrist. There is no definitive “winner” between daily and monthly contacts, with each type offering unique benefits to cater to different visual needs and preferences.

When making a choice, it’s important to consult with an optometrist and consider personal needs, habits, and the cost considerations. Furthermore, exploring a contact lens brand comparison can provide more insights into the available options.

Remember, irrespective of the type of lenses you choose, appropriate care and maintenance, including the use of suitable storage cases and eye drops, are crucial for maintaining eye health and ensuring the longevity of the lenses. After all, the goal is to achieve clear vision without compromising comfort or health.

Specialty Contact Lenses

When it comes to selecting contact lenses, the options are not limited to just clear lenses for vision correction. For individuals looking to make a statement or change their appearance, specialty lenses such as decorative or wild eye lenses and celebrity contact lenses are available.

Decorative and Wild Eye Lenses

Wild eye contact lenses can significantly enhance costumes and outfits, making them a popular choice for special events, parties, and especially during the Halloween season. These lenses are available in a wide range of designs, from patriotic themes like the American flag or British Union Jack to fantastical looks inspired by superheroes, Frankenstein’s monster, aliens, vampires, demons, and more.

One of the key advantages of wild eye contact lenses is that they can be worn by almost anyone. They are available as soft contact lenses, and most wearers can use them without issues. It is even possible to obtain wild eye contact lenses with vision correction in the needed prescription.

However, it’s recommended to get these lenses fitted by an eye care professional to ensure proper fit and avoid potential issues such as redness or soreness. Individuals under a doctor’s care or taking certain medications, particularly antihistamines or drugs causing dryness, should seek their physician’s approval before using these lenses.

The cost of wild eye contact lenses can vary, with lower-priced options being computer-produced and more expensive ones being hand-painted. The choice between these depends on one’s budget and preferences.

Celebrity Contact Lenses

Celebrity contact lenses are a trend gaining popularity in Hollywood, with celebrities using custom-designed contacts to alter their natural eye colors. Stars like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Tom Cruise have been known to use these lenses to present an enhanced image to fans and photographers.

For instance, Britney Spears, known for her natural brown eyes, frequently wears bright aqua blue contact lenses during public appearances, stage performances, and photoshoots. Similarly, Orlando Bloom used special FX blue contact lenses to portray the character Legolas Greenleaf in Lord of the Rings, despite his natural dark hazel eye color.

However, it’s important to note that using colored contacts for extended periods can cause discomfort, as experienced by Orlando Bloom during filming. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the comfort and health of your eyes when choosing specialty contact lenses, especially when wearing them for extended periods.

As you navigate your contact lens buying journey, remember to consider prescription requirements, cost considerations, and explore our contact lens brand comparison. Don’t forget about essential accessories like storage cases and eye drops, and learn how to buy contact lenses online for added convenience.

Contact Lenses and Eye Health

Contact lens usage, while beneficial for vision correction and aesthetics, also carries potential risks and complications that are important to acknowledge. Conversely, when used correctly, contact lenses can provide a host of advantages, contributing to overall eye health.

Potential Risks and Complications

Understanding potential risks associated with contact lens use is crucial in making informed decisions regarding eye health. It’s important to note that 99% of soft contact lens wearers are at risk of a potentially serious eye infection known as microbial keratitis due to improper care. Moreover, sleeping in contact lenses increases the risk of eye infections by six to eight times.

Purchasing contact lenses without a valid prescription can pose risks such as eye discomfort, inflammation, swelling, abrasions, increased infections, blurry vision, and even permanent eye tissue damage due to improper fitting or usage. This highlights the importance of a valid prescription when purchasing contact lenses, including those bought online.

Additionally, decorative lenses pose a significant risk. Serious eye infections from contaminated, poorly fitted decorative lenses can affect up to one out of every 500 contact lens users per year. Even minor infections can be painful and disrupt daily life.

Contact lens solutions should never be used after the expiration date listed on the packaging. The discard date is the one to watch for – this is the date the solution should be thrown out after opening. Furthermore, tap water should never be used in any area of contact lens care, including rinsing the lenses and the lens case, as it contains micro-organisms that can lead to serious eye infections and loss of vision.

Benefits of Proper Lens Use

Proper care and maintenance of contact lenses are crucial to prevent eye infections and ensure the longevity of the lenses. This includes cleaning and disinfecting the lenses as recommended, replacing them as scheduled, and following good hygiene practices when handling the lenses.

When used correctly, contact lenses offer many benefits. They provide better peripheral vision compared to glasses, don’t fog up or get splattered by rain, and are ideal for sports and outdoor activities.

Compliance is critical in preventing eye infections with contact lens wear (American Academy of Ophthalmology – AAO). This includes proper lens cleaning and care, regular eye exams, and following the recommended lens replacement schedule.

Remember, the safety risks associated with buying contact lenses without a proper prescription emphasize the importance of considering potential eye health complications. Make an informed decision and conduct thorough research before purchasing contact lenses from any source, to minimize potential risks and ensure eye health.

For more insights on cost considerations, brand comparisons, and other factors, refer to our contact lens buying guide.