Buying Contacts Online: What I’ve Learned

by Jane Wangersky | June 23rd, 2010 | Money Saving Hints

For years, I’ve been getting my contact lenses at an optician’s not far from my home where all I have to do is drop in and say I want to order more. If the staff there don’t exactly greet me by name, they do say something like, “Let me get your file — I know it starts with a W.”

Maybe it was disloyal of me, but recently I decided to see if I could get a better deal online. Here’s what I found out:

— Contacts plus shipping don’t really cost less than the ones I order at the neighborhood optician’s.
–They don’t get to me any faster, either. Both ways take about five business days.
— However, unlike the optician, the online contact sellers I used offer free glasses with every purchase over $199. Stocking up on something I’ll eventually buy anyway, and in return getting something I badly needed free, is a good deal if I’ve got the money to do it.
— The cheaper brands of daily lenses don’t come in my prescription. (The technical term is -5.75. In plain English, I can’t see across the street.)
— If you order glasses online, you’ll need to know not only your prescription, which is not the same as your contact prescription, but the exact distance between your pupils, in milimetres.
— You can measure this carefully in the mirror, several times, and still end up with glasses that sit too high up on your nose.
— You’ll get used to that, though, especially if you wear the glasses only at the beginning and maybe the end of the day.

So, though it was worth it at least once for the free glasses, I don’t think I’ll start buying all my contacts online. At least not till I need more glasses.

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