Think you can save money by buying your contacts online? Wondering whether itís a good idea or not?

We asked the Food and Drug Administration for advice on how to shop SAFE and SMART when you buy contacts online.


We know: How to Protect Yourself when Buying Contact Lenses Online

RULES TO KEEP IN MIND:

Make sure your prescription is up-to-date.

Some states require you to have your prescription checked once a year, some twice a year. Others donít have a time requirement. Be sure the expiration date on your prescription hasnít passed before using it to buy online.

Make sure your prescription has the basic info you need.

Again, different states require different information on your prescription. Basically, you need your lens measurements including power, diameter and base curve. Most websites also need to know your docís name, the contact brand name and the material.

REGULATIONS TO KEEP IN MIND:

You can buy without your prescription, but itís a bad idea.

Thereís nothing illegal about ordering contacts without your prescription. The company you are buying from should ask for a copy of your prescription, but it may not. It should also check back with your doctor to confirm the prescription and expiration date, but it may not. The contact seller may rely on you to be sure your prescription is correct, so take responsibility.


The sale of contacts is regulated by individual states, not the U.S. government.

INFORMATION TO KEEP IN MIND:

When you order online, make sure the company gives you the following:

The exact brand, lens name, power, sphere, cylinder (if any), axis (if any), diameter, base curve and peripheral curves (if any) required on your prescription.

PROBLEMS TO KEEP IN MIND:

Donít accept a substitute brand.

Different brands have different water contents and shapes that the doctor takes into account when writing the prescription. Donít take the risk of accepting an alternative brand.


You can find out more detailed information about buying contacts lenses online, over the phone or by mail from the Food and Drug Administration.



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