Time-Tested Tips For Shopping For Discount Contact Lenses

By: Helen Hecker

With a prescription for contact lenses in hand, it is possible to buy your contact lenses from stores, the Internet, over the phone, or by mail. There are 75 million contact lens wearers worldwide and 31 million live in the U.S. alone. The choice of which of the contact lenses is right for you should be based only on an examination by your doctor or eye care professional, not over the phone.

In the U.S. contact lenses marketplace, 82 percent wear soft lenses, 16 percent wear rigid gas-permeable and only 2 percent wear hard. Contact lens wearers are usually surprised and happy with the level of comfort the lenses provide.

Bifocal correction is possible with either soft or rigid lenses. Soft contact lenses are made of very soft, flexible plastics that allow for oxygen to pass through to the cornea. If you plan to wear lenses for more than 18 hours for the purpose of an eye color change, then buy colored soft lenses.

People who have good distance vision but will need help for reading can get a monovision reading lens for one eye. Soft lenses have the added benefit in that soft lenses are not as likely as rigid lenses to pop out or get foreign material like dust underneath them. Soft lenses also come as disposable products -- used once and discarded, or as planned-replacement lenses.

Rigid gas permeable lenses tend to be less expensive over the life of the lenses since they last longer than soft lenses. It is important for your eyes to have a rest, without lenses, for at least one night following each scheduled removal. Rigid lenses do not absorb chemicals, unlike soft lenses which will soak up residue from your hands such as soap or lotion.

In some of the models, each lens corrects for near and distance vision and in others, one lens is for near vision, and the other is for distance. There are also some rigid gas permeable lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear.

Carefully check to make sure the company gives you the brand you ordered, the name of the lens, the power, sphere, cylinder, if any, axis, if any, diameter base curve, and peripheral curves, if any. Always buy from a reputable company. You can buy contact lenses without a prescription, but the company is selling you a prescription device as if it were an over-the-counter device violating FTC regulations by selling you contact lenses without having your prescription in hand. You can buy contact lenses from an eye doctor, or on the Internet, or from an optical store or a warehouse club.

Rebates might be available from the seller, from the manufacturer, for first-time contact lens wearers and for individuals who buy lenses and get an eye exam. Focus on the value, not just the price; most people looking for the best price are really just looking for the best value. Wherever you buy, shop for quality and value and what's best for your eye health.

Before you buy online, check to see if there are any testimonials on the online supplier's website. When you place your order make sure your lenses are available and not out of stock, because you'll need them right away. Be aware of attempts to substitute a brand different from the one you want.

Microorganisms may be present in distilled water, so always use commercial sterile saline solutions if you plan to use enzyme tablets in water for any disinfections. Getting a proper fit is essential. Contact lenses that are poorly fitted can lead to eyesores, eye inflammation, and eye abrasions. Don't wear lenses any longer than prescribed for, nor when sleeping unless you are otherwise directed.

Replace your contacts as recommended by your eye doctor because they will wear out as time goes by. One sight-threatening concern is the infection Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is caused by improper care of the lens; this difficult-to-treat parasitic infection's symptoms are very similar to those of corneal ulcers. The FDA has approved extended-wear lenses for use up to seven days before they are removed for cleaning; but there are risks with use of extended-wear lenses - even for one night.

If you are looking for cheap contact lenses, you may find that cheap materials or other ways of cutting costs will affect the quality you want for your precious eyes. No matter which lenses your doctor prescribes, be sure to ask for written instructions and follow them very carefully. Remember to use only contact lenses that are FDA-approved and only if prescribed by a licensed eye doctor.

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For more information on color contact lenses and where to buy discount contact lenses visit www.VisionNurse.com Helen Hecker R.N.'s popular website which offers tips, advice and resources, including information on LASIK eye surgery, sunglasses, eyeglasses and affordable quality contact lenses

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