Obtaining Your Contact Lenses the Right Way

One of the major improvements in the contact lens industry in recent years (aside from technological advances) is in the area of convenience. Thanks to a 2004 federal law, contacts can be purchased in many venues other than from eye doctors. While this has been advantageous to consumers, there has been a mindset growing among many wondering if this freedom makes it all right to somehow bypass the ‘traditional’ process of seeing an eye doctor or getting a prescription. This has especially followed the mainstream marketing of cosmetic, costume, or fashion lenses.

This mindset is somewhat understandable when those who are not seeking vision correction desire to obtain these ‘fun’ lenses. However, the point being missed is that costume lenses are not costume jewelry. All contact lenses are controlled medical devices subject to proper consultation, fitting, prescription, and care. Improperly fitted lenses, or those that are not cared for correctly, can cause discomfort and serious eye infections. This is why it is not all right to forego what is a necessary process to ensure the health of your eyes.

Another concern has been the relaxing of discretion when considering who to buy contact lenses from. A notion has developed that it is okay to purchase lenses from anyone set up to sell them. The problem is ‘anyone’ can include sellers that are less than reputable or offer unsafe product, and some of these venues are illegal.

So, is there really freedom in obtaining and shopping for contact lenses? Of course, more than you had in the past, but you cannot abandon a responsible approach and you must apply a few simple rules to ensure eye health and safety. First, it is necessary to visit your eye doctor for an initial examination and contact fitting or, if you are already wearing lenses, to obtain your lens prescription (which must be verified by lens sellers before any legal purchase of contacts can take place). When choosing the vendor who will serve you, eliminate any considerations you may have for beauty salons, novelty stores, or flea markets as places to purchase contacts. Approved sources other than eye doctors include optical chains or franchises that have optical departments. Online vendors have become an increasingly popular and convenient choice, as buyers can compare and select their seller from the comfort of home—and not have to run around town.

Further, maintain those annual appointments for eye exams so any changes can be monitored—and to keep your contact lens prescription up to date. Whether it be practical or ‘fun’ lenses, all the freedom to purchase them where you wish will not mean much if your eyes are not healthy.

Hopefully, these tips will steer you onto the right path in safely obtaining your contact lenses. Although convenience and choice have greatly improved, responsibility and discretion are also needed to ensure these benefits are enjoyed fully.

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