In the age of amazon consumers have access to almost anything they could dream of delivered straight to their door. This has proven rather useful during the ongoing pandemic as it allows consumers to avoid unnecessary trips outside. While there is no harm in having a lifetime supply of toilet paper and lysol wipes delivered to your door, the same cannot be said for contact lenses.
Contact lenses are a medical device that must be properly assessed by a licensed professional, and require a separate prescription that differs from a glasses prescription. When ordering contact lenses online from companies such as Hubble and Clearly there is no one to verify that the prescription is valid, or that the lenses being ordered are suitable for the patient. This can lead to potentially vision threatening complications resulting from an ill-fitting lens or from improper handling and care of the contact lenses. An optometrist is able to measure a patient’s eyes and prescribe lenses that both fit properly and suit their lifestyle.
Perhaps the main reason patients turn to online ordering is the misconception that it will be cheaper than purchasing from their optometrist. Some companies offer bargain prices, but they are able to do so by selling outdated technology that has been phased out due to new technology. The biggest issue with old lens technology is the poor breathability of the lenses, which can lead to swelling, blood vessel growth, and infection. So while patients may save a few dollars, they are doing so at the risk of serious vision threatening complications. Optometrists are able to monitor for complications at an annual contact lens check up, as well as educate patients on the latest lens materials and healthiest lenses for their eyes. And for those patients that like the convenience of having lenses delivered right to their door, many optometrists are now offering delivery and subscription services to ensure patients are never without lenses – even in the midst of a pandemic.
Like all medical devices, contact lenses are not without the risk of complications. While improvements in lens technology have reduced the chance of this happening, it is important that lenses are prescribed under the supervision of an optometrist and monitored routinely. This will allow patients to experience clear and comfortable vision free from glasses.