How to Order Contacts

There are many different ways to order contacts quickly and easily. Make an appointment with your optometrist and get your prescription. Then, decide whether to buy straight from your doctor, an optical chain, a big-box retailer, or online. Provide all of your prescription information and wait for them to verify everything. To save some money, make sure to check for rebates, discounts, or bulk savings.


EditGetting Your Prescription

  1. Make an appointment with your optometrist. To order contacts, you’ll need to get examined by an optometrist and get a prescription. You can either schedule an exam for contacts only or one to be fitted for glasses as well. At the end of your fitting, an optometrist will give you your prescription with all of the information that you’ll need for refills.[1]
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  2. Get a copy of your contact lens prescription. Your doctor will provide you with a paper copy of your prescription and they may give you a digital one as well. Be aware that a doctor can’t require that you buy contacts from them directly in exchange for a prescription.[2]
    Order Contacts Step 2.jpg
    • After you’ve received your contacts, you can find your prescription information by looking on the side of each contact box. This can really come in handy if you accidentally lose your paper prescription.
  3. Check that all of the required information is on the prescription. Once you receive your prescription, look over it to make sure that it includes your name, the date of the exam, and the contact information for your optometrist. You should also see information on the manufacturer, base curve, power, and material of your lenses.[3]
    Order Contacts Step 3.jpg
  4. Use your prescription before it expires. Each state or legal jurisdiction determines how long a contacts prescription is valid. Usually, your prescription will last for at least a year, although it may be longer. Make sure you order enough contacts to carry you from one examination to the next.[4]
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  5. Get an eye exam every year. Make an appointment with your optometrist each year to get a fresh prescription and to check the condition of your eyes. This will make it possible for your doctor to track any changes in your prescription. Consistent appointments will also help you to guard against any eye diseases or degeneration.
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EditChoosing Where to Buy From

  1. Buy from your eye doctor if you want the easiest process. Getting your contacts direct from your optometrist essentially cuts out the middle man. They know your medical history, so they’ll also be able to ensure that you receive the exact contacts that you need. And, doctors will generally only sell contacts from reputable companies.[5]
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    • However, it’s possible that contacts purchased from your doctor may be pricier. This is partially because doctors usually don’t buy contacts in bulk for resale.
  2. Buy from a big-box retailer if you want a good deal. Large retailers, such as Sam’s Club, can often offer you a cheaper price on contacts via savings programs and buy-in-bulk deals. However, they may not offer the widest selection and the ordering process can vary in customer service.[6]
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  3. Buy online if you want more choices. If your contacts brand is hard to find or if you have an unusual prescription, then online ordering might be a good option. You can usually search around and find a website that is willing to offer a competitive price, especially if you buy in bulk. However, make sure that you only buy from a reputable site that sells quality goods.[7]
    Order Contacts Step 8.jpg
    • To check on a site, make sure to read reviews and to pay attention to any comments on government sites or the Better Business Bureau.
  4. Buy from an optical chain if you are in a hurry. Many larger optical companies, such as Pearl Vision, carry stocks of contact lenses in their individual stores. This means that you can usually walk in, present a prescription, and walk out with a supply of contacts almost immediately. Some of these locations even offer extended hours to make buying easier.[8]
    Order Contacts Step 9.jpg
    • Buying from a well-known chain can also give you some peace of mind if you would like the option of easy returns.
    • A possible drawback is that many optical chains carry a limited selection of contacts in stock.

EditMaking the Purchase

  1. Perform a price comparison. Determine how much each individual box of contacts will cost you, including any shipping or ordering fees. Experiment with ordering different amounts, such as a 4 months’ or even a year’s supply, to see if this cuts down on costs. And, don’t forget to add in any potential rebates.[9]
    Order Contacts Step 10.jpg
  2. Stay with the prescribed brand. Although you may find cheaper brands after shopping around, it’s generally best to purchase the brand that your optometrist suggested. Different brands might fit in unique ways and may not work as well for you. If you want to switch, talk with your optometrist and see if they can alter your prescription.[10]
    Order Contacts Step 11.jpg
  3. Apply your insurance coverage. Before making your contacts purchase, check to see if your health or vision insurance will cover any of the costs. You might qualify for a direct discount off brand-name contacts. Some insurance companies also provide you with a set amount to spend on contacts each year.[11]
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  4. Apply any rebates. Look for rebates from the contacts manufacturer, the seller, or even your optometrist. Some rebate programs target particular groups, such as first-time contact purchasers. You can even check with your government to see if they have programs to encourage regular eye exams and connected contact purchases.[12]
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    • Be aware that you’ll usually need to mail in a proof of purchase, such as the contact box barcode, in order to claim a rebate. Then, you’ll have to wait 2-4 weeks for a check to be returned to you.
  5. Wait for the seller to verify your prescription information. Any business that you buy from will ask first for your prescription information. Then, they will take some time to reach out to your optometrist and verify that all the data that you provided is correct and accurate. If you are in a rush, remember that this process may take some time.[13]
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    • If you can’t provide a clear copy of your prescription, then the seller may be able to reach out to your doctor for you. But, again, this will may take additional time.
  6. Purchase enough pairs to replace them on time. Be aware of the wearing instructions before you make your purchase. Various types of contacts require that you replace them with new pairs at particular intervals. Some lenses are only meant to be worn for a single day, whereas others can be worn for a month or more.[14]
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    • Wearing a pair of contacts longer than recommended can cause injury to your eyes.
  7. Buy cosmetic lenses with a prescription only. Many websites are willing to sell cosmetic lenses without requiring any additional information, but this is illegal in many places and just not a good idea in general. A bad pair of lenses can lead to all sort of eye problems, including infections like pink eye.[15]
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  • Ask your friends and family for recommendations regarding who you should buy your contacts from. They might be able to tell you who can offer extra discounts and who has the best customer service.
  • If you order online, make sure to choose a shipping method that will allow you to get your contacts in time.


  • Once you get your contacts, make sure to take care of them by cleaning and storing them properly. Read the instructions that come with the contacts package and follow them closely.[16]

EditSources and Citations

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