A step-by-step guide for buying contact lenses online
You can buy practically anything online these days at the click of a button and often have it at your door in 24 hours or less.
But the ease and speed of shopping online can often prevent us from taking a considered approach to our purchases. This is especially true when it comes to contact lenses.
According to a Vision Council report, online sales of contact lenses reached over $2.1 billion in 2018, with nearly 35% of buyers using the internet to varying degrees during their last contact lens purchase.
Buying contact lenses online is clearly a popular choice, but if you’re looking to follow suit, there are some crucial steps you need to take to ensure you’re protecting yourself as a consumer and getting quality contacts that are safe and specifically prescribed for your eyes.
How to buy contact lenses online
1) Visit your local optometrist for a check-up and prescription
The online purchasing process starts with a visit to your local optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam and a prescription for your contact lenses.
Your prescription will include the contact details of your eye care professional, the date of your exam, and the issue date and expiration date of your prescription. You’ll need all of this information when you fill in your prescription online.
[Read our blog: Why you need a contact lens prescription]
Having a prescription is a requirement for purchasing contacts online - so it’s crucial you don’t skip this step. Trust us, your eyes will thank you for it later!
2) Find a reputable online retailer
This is where you’ll need to do some due diligence on the various online contact lens retailers. Not all of them are created equally, and there are a few who don’t follow health and safety regulations or are scammers.
A few key things to look for in a trustworthy contact lens retailer include:
- Requiring prescriptions - contact lens retailers are legally required to get an up-to-date prescription before they sell you any lenses. If they don’t ask for a prescription during the checkout process, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
- Verifying prescriptions - beyond just asking for a prescription, online contact lens retailers are also legally required to verify your prescription with your eye care practitioner.
- Positive reviews - check out the retailers online reviews across various review sites like TrustPilot. If they have a lot of negative reviews, you’ll want to reconsider your options.
- A valid phone number - if the operations don’t clearly list their phone number (and more specifically, a customer service number), that’s a red flag.
- A clearly defined return policy - on the rare occasion, you might be sent incorrect or faulty contact lenses. In that case, you have the right to return them. Check the retailer's return policy to ensure they offer some protection in case of an issue with your order.
- A secure online ordering process - make sure the retailer uses a secure order processing platform such as Shop Pay, Paypal, Google Pay or other recognized and trusted online payment systems.
3) Ensure they have the contacts you need
Your prescription will include the brand you selected and decided on with your eye doctor. You’ll want to confirm the online contact lens retailer you want to go with is an authorized retailer for the specific brand and type of contacts you need. Most reputable retailers offer a wide variety of contact lens brands and lens types.
4) Place your contact lens order
Now you’re ready to buy! At this stage, you’ll want to factor in additional costs such as shipping and handling fees which will increase the total cost of your purchase.
You’ll also want to consider whether buying your contacts in bulk makes sense. If you wear contacts daily, it might be a good idea but make sure not to purchase more contacts than you plan to wear before your prescription expires (usually a year from the date it was issued).
Have a look around for discounts and promo codes for deals like a percentage off your first offer, seasonal specials or free shipping.
Order your contacts online today
Ready to get started with your contact lens order? At VisionPros, we carry a wide range of popular contact lens brands and lens types.
Don’t have a copy of your valid prescription? The good news is that you can still place your order by providing your eye doctor's information. Once your prescription has been validated by your eye doctor, we’ll ship your order. However, we can’t ship orders with expired or invalid prescription information.
Remember, if you don’t have a valid prescription, it’s important to make an appointment with your local optometrist for an annual comprehensive eye exam to ensure you continue to see well and maintain good ocular health.
If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team at 1-800-404-7317 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.