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How To Buy The Perfect Contact Lenses For You

Aug 17, 2007
You'll want to take simple precautions to make any lens purchase safe and effective. Before you buy contact lenses from anyone other than your eye care professional, it pays to be a wise consumer. There are 75 million contact lens wearers worldwide and 31 million in the U.S. alone.

Always buy from a reputable company; you can buy discount contact lenses without a prescription, but the company is selling you a prescription device as if it were an over-the-counter device, in violation of FTC regulations - selling you lenses without having a prescription from you. Among the many kinds of contact lenses you can buy are: novelty, colored, crazy, Halloween, special effects, theatrical, costume, scary, glow in the dark, wild eyes, mirrored, black, white, and red.

Soft lenses are easier to adjust and are much more comfortable than rigid lenses, because they conform to the eye and absorb and hold water. Although easier to handle and less likely to tear, rigid gas permeable lenses are not as comfortable initially as soft contacts and it may take a few weeks to get used to wearing the RGPs, compared to just a few days for soft contacts. There are also a few rigid gas permeable lenses that are designed and approved for overnight wear.

Rigid lenses generally give you more clear vision. The expiration date for your prescription is currently set by your state requiring a one-year or two-year renewal; if your state hasn't set a minimum expiration date, government regulation sets a one-year date unless your eye doctor determines there's a medical reason for less than one year. Rigid gas permeable lenses tend to be less expensive over the life of the lens since they last longer than soft lenses.

There are differences in the water content and shape of the lens between different brands. While the ability to hold water increases the oxygen permeability of soft lenses, it increases their fragility quotient as well. Rigid lenses don't absorb chemicals, unlike soft lenses which will soak up residue from your hands like soap or lotion.

The length of continuous lens wear depends on the lens type and your doctor's evaluation of your tolerance for overnight wear. Some doctors prescribe disposables as planned-replacement lenses, which are removed, disinfected, and reused before being discarded.

Check to see if you have a health insurance plan that includes vision coverage. Focus on value, not just the price; most people looking for the best price are really looking for the best value. Get a feel for how the retailer handles customer service calls; in case you have a problem after your order arrives.

Carefully check to make sure the company gives you the exact 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. Make sure you have a current, valid prescription when you order contact lenses. When you place your contact lens order, request the manufacturer's written patient information for your contact lenses; it'll give you important risk and benefit information as well as instructions for use.

Always ask what rebates are available. You can buy contact lenses from an eye doctor, on the Internet, from an optical store or a warehouse club. Ask about prices at your doctor's office when you have your eye examination, or during a follow-up visit after you get your prescription.

Extended-wear rigid lenses can cause unexpected, undesirable, reshaping of the cornea. The most serious safety concern with any contact lens is from overnight use. Getting a proper fit is essential; contact lenses that are poorly fitted can lead to eyesores, eye inflammation, and eye abrasions.

Soft extended-wear lenses bind down on the closed eye, but they are porous and allow some tears through during sleep; because they have so little form, their binding has very little effect on the shape of the eye. Don't wear lenses any longer than they're prescribed for, nor when sleeping unless you are otherwise directed. Daily-wear lenses are removed daily for cleaning and are a safer choice, provided they aren't worn during sleep.

If you're looking for cheap contact lenses, you may find that cheap materials or other ways of cutting costs will affect the quality you'll want for your precious eyes. Make sure to visit a reputable eye doctor for a complete eye examination once a year, or more frequently if needed. Laser surgery and its risks can be frightening and too expensive for some people; contacts can provide a safe, comfortable and time-tested alternative.
About the Author
For more information on color contact lenses and where to buy discount contact lenses visit http://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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