Mail order contact lenses?

alisonSeptember 18, 2006

My insurance covers one eye exam and up to six months of contact lenses/pair of glasses every 24 months. My prescription hasn't changed a jot in 12 years, but the cost of buying lenses for those remaining 18 months has steadily increased.

I've seen ads for brand name mail order lenses at a much lower price than I'm paying, but I have no idea how to evaluate those companies. I don't intend to give up the eye exams -- proper eye care is too important -- but if I can save money on the lenses I'd love to!

Does anyone have a recommendations of cxompanies, or recommendations of what I should look for?

Appreciate any suggestions!

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I don't do mail order as I get them through the eye doctor cheaper.

Just look for the lowerst price on YOUR BRAND... same quality no matter who it is purchased from.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 4:34PM
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The most widely advertised one seems to be I've used them and they seem to have good service, but I'm not sure how the price compares with the eye dr. where we also can get them.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 9:06PM
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My vision insurance co. has us use They seem to be the cheapest for online ordering. Plus they are powered by and if you shop at both places, you get "drugstore dollars" - that's $$ off of your next purchase depending on how much you spend.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 3:35PM
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I have used 1800contacts for years with no problems.

Prices are SLIGHTLY cheaper. Not HUGE savings but of course it all adds up over time.

You save time *and* gas by ordering contacts through the mail though.

You don't have to worry about quality as all contact lenses are regulated by the FDA. A place cannot sell "seconds" or "irregular" or "damaged" like with other types of products. Some people are under the impression that these places sell inferior sub quality but that cannot happen with contact lenses like it can with shoes or toasters.

There have been rumors of counterfit branded contact lenses on the market but these end up in doctor's offices just as well as eny other type of retail outlet, so your risk is probably about the same.

I wear disposable lenses and rather that tossing them I clean them and wear them for a while. I have had friends say "Ooooh. You can't DO THAT." I've always done it that way. I've save a TON of money.

Well now then, a few years ago a news show, I think it was 20/20, had a show blowing the lid off of the scam of selling two different types of contact lesnes - disposable and reuseable. They discovered that the lenses were exactly the same and were only packaged differently with a HUGE price differential.

There was a doctor who blew the whistle on this practice. Apparently even most doctors did not even know this. This particular doctor got a box of *disposable* contacts but when he opend the box the indivdual contacts were marked as the reusable type. He called the manufacturer thinking the packages containing the contacts may have been mislabled and he wanted to make sure what he was getting. He said the *manufacturer told* him not to worry as the lenses were ALL THE SAME. He went to 20/20.

I'm just sharing this story and not advocating that you do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable with regards to following your doctor's advice.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 6:40PM
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"You save time *and* gas by ordering contacts through the mail though."

Not always....

I call my optometrist, he orders the lenses and has them sent to me intead of to his office!
Just takes one phone call and no gas.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 9:24AM
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This message is in response to bud_wi's post. I work for a major contact lens manufacturer and can personally attest to the fact the our products marketed as disposable are truly made from a completely different material than the frequent replacement products. It is not just a marketing ploy. As to your own lens hygiene regimen, I'm certainly glad you haven't experienced them, but there are potential eye health risks associated with cleaning and rewearing disposable lenses.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 8:38PM
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Your regular optician isn't going to appreciate your ordering mail order.

Not only does he lose a sale, but in many cases, the mail order house has to call him to verify your prescription--and it's an involved phone call that can take 20-30 minutes, sometimes longer. My dd is an optician, and she really resents having to spend time on the phone with the mail order places, helping them make a sale that puts no money in her pocket--when she could be--SHOULD be--helping her own customers.

May or not be important to you. And the laws differ from state to state, so I don't know if this happens everywhere. But something to think about. Not to mention, if you have a problem with your contacts, it's a lot easier to deal with your local optician, than an 800 number.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 9:38PM
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In response to bella_lily, I must say that not knowing which company you work for, that may well be so, where you work.

Also the scam may have stopped after the huge class action lawsuit in 1996.

I did get an insider tip that this does still go on though.

I would be curious as to what the two completely different materials that lenses are made from, are. I like to look things up and do my own research on stuff. I was thinking about switching contact lense brands. If there is a more comfotable plastic out there I may try it.

Here is a link to an article about the class action suit against Bausch and Lomb. They had to pay 68mil for their deception.

Quote from article:

>"At the time, Bausch & Lomb was selling a long wear lens under the name of Optima, which wholesaled to optometrists for approximately $25. In order to enter the disposable market Bausch & Lomb simply repackaged its Optima lens and renamed it the Medalist for intermediate wear and as the Sequence for disposable use.

>These new and identical products were represented to be different, but the only true difference was the name on the package and the price charged."


I was buying Sequence disposables and cleaned them. No harm done since they were *identical* to the Optima. No way could I have hurt myself by doing that. No way.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 9:02PM
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If you are still looking for a source, I found them cheaper at Costco than at a mail order place. I wear semi-disposable (wear for 2 wks to 1 month) toric lenses which are kind of expensive. Costco is about $25 a box of 6. My optomotrist is about $45 a box. I think mailorder was about $30 or 35.

Of course you have to consider cost of membership at Costco if you aren't already a member.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 8:55AM
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I saw the same program that bud-wi did and my pharmacist also told me the same thing but I believe he said he saw it on 20-20 too. I wear contacts that are supposed to last 2 weeks. I'm supposed to take them out nightly but I don't and my optrician said that if I took them out daily that I could probably get away with wearing them longer. A lot of doctors won't give you your perscription for you to order by mail, at least not around here.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 2:03AM
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It is a FEDERAL LAW that you have the right to your medical information *including* your prescriptions.

Here is a link explaining the legislation regarding contact lenses:

All you have to do is ask for a paper copy of your prescription when you go in for your exam and they MUST give it to you. The mail order place does not have to bother the doctor or the staff about it wasting time on the phone and looking up records.

Some medical doctors try to hoodwink people into believing that they only can use certain pharmacies for their prescriptions. I had a medical doctor once tell me he had "called in my presciption" to the pharmacy across the street and I should run over there to pick it up. I balked at this when he told me, and I insisted he give me my prescription as I had a right to shop anywhere I pleased. It turned out that the pharmacy was owned by his daughter. He was just pressuring people into shopping there.

Even if you are on an insurance plan with their own pharmacies, you still have the right to go anywhere for your prescriptions. Of course it would seem foolish to pay full price elsewhere but you still do have that choice.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 5:48PM
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I had no trouble getting my prescription -- in fact I've asked for it in years past just to have a copy to keep with the rest of my medical records.

However, after azzalea's post, I realized don't want to hurt my optomitrist. (Either his business or his feelings.) He's a good guy and works a lot with kids, and I'm sure the mark-up on routine things like refilling prescriptions keeps him in business.

So I ordered a six-month set on-line -- and ordered a six-month supply from my optomitrist at the same time. Hope that takes the sting out a bit! (Lessened the hit for me, as the on-line order is half the price of the office ones!)

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 6:43PM
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I am an optician. It is true that B&L sold the same contacts in several different ways for different prices. However, they no longer do this, this was quite awhile ago.

The problem with stretching out the wearing time of contacts is that the longer you wear them the less oxygen gets through the lenses and reach you eyes. If your eye is not getting enough oxygen it can cause serious problems.

We often see blood vessels growing on peoples corneas because they lack oxygen. You do not feel this and can not tell unless your doctor tells you. There are also even more serious problems from overwearing contacts. We have even had some patients no longer able to wear contacts or for very limited amounts of time.

Please follow your doctors recommendations about wear schedule, this is not an area to try and save money by overwearing them. Buy them at Costco or mail order if needed, but wear them as your doctor says.

As for cleaning contacts with no rub solutions, it is veryimportant to rinse the lenses well, not just remove them from your eyes and put them in solution. I recommend gently rubbing them even with no rub solution. It just cleans them better.

Never reuse solution, change it every time you put your contacts in the case. Also, keep your case clean. You can wash it with tap water, but dry it well, no tap water on soft lenses. Make sure you clean the case lids, too.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:24PM
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