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Basics Of Prescription Contacts

Contacts have come a long way, since 1887, the first year they were successfully fitted and worn. There are numerous styles, types, and manufacturers from which to choose. One thing all contacts have in common is that by law they must be prescribed to order.

Why would you need a prescription for contacts? Contacts have all the basic principles of all other medical devices which is they can do further damage if not operated/used correctly. Wearing contacts without a prescription could decrease your vision, cause damage to your cornea, or other problems that only a licensed professional can detect. Even sharing your contacts with someone with a similar prescription could cause serious harm to your vision. The material of your contacts contributes to your ability to see and wear contacts comfortably. An eye doctor can determine whether you need rigid or soft contacts, daily or extended wear, or one of numerous other choices, which effects your vision.

How do you get a prescription? Simply contact an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or in some countries a dispensing optician. These professionally trained eye doctors will determine the degree of eyesight loss as well as measure your eye to determine the base curve needed for your contacts. After the appointment, you will then have access to all your prescription information for future purchases. Here are some common terms youll find on your prescription:

OD Right Eye
OS Left Eye
BC Inside Curve of your contacts (8.0, 8.1, etc)
Diameter Size of your contacts (13.8, 14.0, etc)
Power (Pow) Strength of your corrective lens (-1, -2.75, etc)
Cylinder (Cyl) Strength of your astigmatism (-.75, -1.00, etc)
Axis Orientation of your astigmatism in degrees (170, 190, etc)

To find out more about prescriptions, visit the FTC or FDAs website for more information.

What contacts should you purchase? The easiest part of the whole process is what contact lenses to order. Your eye doctor will prescribe the exact kind of lens that you require. You do have a right to request a certain brand if its compatible with your prescription. Go to a contact lens manufacturer or retailer online to read more on the different brand names and styles to decide which contact lenses may be most compatible with your current prescription. Color contacts are another type of contact thats gaining popularity. You should always get a prescription for color contacts. For your safety, never order color contact lenses from a retailer who does not require a prescription.

Where can you buy contact lenses? There are numerous places to order contact lenses. The majority of people purchase their contact lenses directly from their eye doctor during or after their checkup. The benefit of ordering direct is that you normally wont have to wait to receive your lenses. The negatives of ordering from your eye doctor are that you may pay a much higher price than alternative options.

Mass retailers such as Wal-Mart, WalGreens, and others have recently started selling prescription contact lenses. The benefits of mass retailers is that you can usually get the contacts the day your order them as well as receive a significant discount off eye doctor prices.

Online retailers are another great source for contacts. Several major online retailers include 1800Contacts, Discount Contacts, among several others. Price is the key benefit to ordering online. As most sites state, you can save up to 70% off eye doctor prices by ordering online. The major drawback to ordering online is that you will have to wait which limits your options if you need contact lenses right away.

Although contact lenses must be prescribed, you can see that you still have numerous options in choosing the type, style, and where to purchase. Visit the Contact Lens Council for more information on contact lenses.

About the Author: Frank Drummond is a freelance writer from Cleveland, OH with a specialization in the health, sports, and technology fields. He can be contacted at This article was written on behalf of Discount Contacts.

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