Contact lens sales are regulated by both the FDA and the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC). With a valid contact lens prescription, it is possible to
purchase your contact lenses from stores, the Internet, over the phone or by
mail, The following questions and answers should help you take simple
precautions to make your purchase safe and effective. (FREE
shipping and $5 off on first time orders of $149 or more at 1-800-GET-LENS.
Use code 1800-IF08)
What do I need to consider when buying
Is your contact lens prescription current? You should always have a
current, valid prescription when you order contact lenses.
If you have not had a check-up in the last one to two years, you may
have problems with your eyes that you are not aware of, or your contact
lenses may not correct your vision well.
The expiration date for your prescription is currently set by your
state. Some require a one-year renewal, some a two-year renewal. If your
state has not set a minimum expiration date, Federal regulation sets a one
year date unless your eye care professional determines that thereís a
medical reason for less than one year.
To be sure that your eyes remain healthy you should not order lenses
with a prescription that has expired or stock up on lenses right before
the prescription is about to expire. Itís safer to be re-checked by your
eye care professional.
What does a valid contact lens prescription include?
As defined by FTC regulations, a prescription should contain sufficient
information for a seller to completely and accurately fill the prescription.
This includes the following items:
Date patient receives prescription after a contact lens fitting (issue
date) and expiration date of prescription
Name, address, phone number and fax number of the prescribing
Material and/or manufacturer of the prescribed contact lens
Base curve or appropriate designation of the prescribed contact lens
Diameter, when appropriate, of the prescribed contact lens
For a private label contact lens, the name of the manufacturer, trade
name of the private label brand, and if applicable, trade name of
equivalent brand name
Will I get in legal trouble if I buy contact lenses without a
copy of my prescription?
You wonít break any laws, but the company is selling you a
prescription device as if it were an over-the-counter device. In legal
terms, this misbrands the device. The company is also violating FTC
regulations by selling you contact lenses without having your
What can I do to avoid serious problems when buying my contact
Order your contact lenses from a supplier you are familiar with and
know is reliable. Contact lenses are often more complex than they appear.
Request the manufacturerís written patient information for your
contact lenses. It will give you important risk/benefit information as
well as instructions for use.
- Beware of attempts to substitute a different brand than you presently
have. While this may be acceptable in some situations, there are
differences in the water content and shape between different brands. The
correct choice of which lens is right for you should be based only on an
examination by your eye care professional, not over the phone.
- Carefully check to make sure the company gives you the
- exact brand
- lens name
- cylinder, if any
- axis, if any
- base curve
- peripheral curves, if any
If you think you have received an incorrect lens, check with your eye
care professional. Donít accept a substitution unless your eye care
professional approves it.
source: U.S. FDA
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