Contact Lenses: What to Know, and How to Buy Without A Prescription in the US

Approximately 45 million people in the United States of America wear contact lenses to carry out their daily life activities without the nuisances of glasses. Contacts are typically obtained through an optometrist or eye doctor, following a standard eye exam. The optometrist starts by gathering the patient’s overall health history as well as any history with glasses or contact lenses. If you have had previous contact lenses prescriptions, the doctor will ask questions regarding your preferences with the previous eye contacts. Suppose you have not had previous experience with contacts. In that case, the doctor might explain common preferences, expectations, and general education of contact lens use so that you fully understand what they require. The doctor will then take measurements of your eye- calculating the surface, curvature, and size of your pupil and iris.

A tear film evaluation can also be administered at this point, depending on whether or not you suffer from chronic dry eyes, to determine whether contact lenses would be appropriate for you. Finally, the doctor will fit you for contacts. They will place lenses in your eyes and re-run through the standard eye exam to ensure a good fit and accurate eyesight. To ensure you have contacts that are perfect for you, be sure to bring up any concerns or questions you have during the lens trial, so your doctor can make any changes or recommendations as needed. 

Your Contact Lenses Prescription

Most eye contact prescriptions are obtained through the doctor’s office, using a written prescription of the patient’s needs, measurements, and current eyesight abilities. They might even offer a discount or incentive for ordering their preferred brands. Though you do not have to order your lenses through your doctor’s office, many people do so because of the convenience. However, this may not be the most cost-effective way to fulfill your prescription.

Online companies offer various brands, types, and prices to satisfy your needs but often need to be verified or validated by your eye doctor to proceed with your order, which can take weeks to process. But through companies like VisionDirect, you do not have to wait to verify your prescription, as long as you are knowledgeable about your specific needs, preferences, and measurements. Operating under the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), VisionDirect gives individuals the right to request their prescription from their eye doctor and purchase their lenses elsewhere. If you still feel uncertain even with the information mentioned above, their experienced eye doctors offer their education and services for your questions or concerns. 

Steps Without A Prescription

To order your contact lenses without a prescription, you will need to follow a three-step process. 

1. Select Your Brand

First, find your preferred brand and type of contacts (dailies, two-weeklies, or monthlies) on their easy-to-navigate website. VisionDirect offers 40 different brands from 13 different manufacturers, giving their customers a diverse catalog to choose from. You will likely find the total price to be cheaper than obtaining lenses through a provider, as VisionDirect cuts the middleman out of the process- buying their stock from the manufacturers directly. Popular brands like Acuvue, Dailies, and Biotrue are available and toric contacts for those with astigmatisms. They even offer colored lenses for any events or Halloween costumes you might have in mind. They also have contacts specifically for individuals with dry eyes or multifocal needs (i.e., for presbyopia, the natural aging eye condition of difficulty looking at things up-close). 

Colored lenses
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2. Provide Prescription Information

Secondly, enter your prescription information. This information can be found on a written prescription given by your eye doctor following a check-up or on your contact lens packs. The information you find should include details like base curve, diameter, power/sphere, and additional figures for cylinder and axis if you have astigmatism or additional/dominant figures for presbyopia. Your eyes may not have the same information or prescription, so please make sure to double-check to prevent unnecessary errors. VisionDirect provides a how-to video and diagram on their website on how to read your prescription based on your lens boxes accurately should you have any questions. 

3. Payment and Shipping

Lastly, you will enter your payment and shipping information to receive your contacts. VisionDirect brags about their quick shipping times- guaranteeing you will receive your order within 5-7 business days. Since they are a United Kingdom based company, shipping to the United States costs only $14 for orders over £59 (approximately $81 in the US). Your order can be tracked by logging into your VisionDirect account or by entering your tracking number on the USPS website. Trustpilot reviews rave about their fast delivery times and amazing service. If you are a first-time customer, make sure to click on their ‘Offers’ page and look for updated coupons and promo codes to score even bigger discounts on your purchase.

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