Online shopping is becoming more and more important in our daily lives. However, it is best to purchase certain items from stores and contact lenses are a great example! By buying them online, you expose yourself to several risks, even if you have been wearing contacts for a long time. For example, lenses could have a curvature that is not suitable for your eyes, which could damage them. Contact lenses are visual orthotics placed directly onto the surface of the eye, one of the most fragile organs in your whole body. To wear them safely, you must first obtain the approval of an eye care professional.

I have never worn contact lenses can I buy them online? 

First, it is important to know that a prescription for glasses must be converted for contact lenses. Since the distance between the eye and the contact lens is smaller than that the space between the eye and the lenses of your glasses, the prescription may be different. Your Optometrist is the best person to determine the right prescription for your contact lenses. When purchasing lenses online, the prescription might not be suitable. Your vision could therefore be under-corrected or overcorrected.

Before purchasing contact lenses, have them checked by your Optometrist to make sure the curvature is correct. Improper curvature can seriously damage your eyes. For example, a lens that is too small can create a suction effect and is most likely to injure your eye. By choosing random lenses from the web, it is impossible to know in advance if the lenses will fit you. The Optometrist or Optician can also help you choose from the many available options to find the type of lens that best suits your lifestyle and budget. This will allow you to try the lenses until you find a brand that suits you best. In stores, you will also receive training on how to put them in and take them off easily as well as hygiene rules related to your lenses. In the event of a problem, the Optometrist will be able to identify the cause, whether it is an eye health problem or a defective lens.

Photo of a contact lens case next to two contact lenses on a countertop, while contact lens solution is being poured in the case.

I already am a contact lens wearer, is it still unsafe to buy them online?
By purchasing your contact lenses online rather than at an Optometry clinic, you expose yourself to many risks.

1. Counterfeits
It is difficult to verify the authenticity of contact lenses that are purchased online. Several websites claim to sell known brands when in fact, they are only copies. Thus, the product could have a curvature or a different material from the type of lenses that you usually buy in stores. Improper curvature can only make wearing the contacts uncomfortable and they can also damage your eyes.

2. Product expiration dates
Some websites sell products with a very short expiry date. Wearing expired contact lenses can lead to complications, such as infections or ulcers.

3. Prescription errors
Online, it is impossible to know whether the prescription was processed correctly when ordering. When you order lenses at an Optometry clinic, the prescription is checked several times to make sure the order is correct.

4. Products that are not approved by Health Canada
Did you know that some lenses sold online are not approved by Health Canada, even on Canadian sites? This means that the lenses may not have been tested to make sure they are safe to wear.

Several online retailers are trying to lure you in with cheap prices. However, by doing the calculation and considering the many discounts offered in store, the price difference is rather minimal. As your eye health is at stake, it is strongly recommended that you buy lenses from a reliable location, such as IRIS.

The two biggest benefits of buying online are convenience and saving time. Please be aware that it is now possible to order contact lenses from IRIS completely online. The order will be processed directly at your local IRIS store, so an eye care professional will ensure that the prescription is still valid.

The next time you think about buying contact lenses online, ask yourself this question: is it worth putting my eye health at risk to save a few dollars? To test contact lenses or to place an order, contact your local IRIS store.