Prescription contact lenses, online, without an optometrist's OK. Possible?
September 10, 2012 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Is there somewhere online that I can order prescription contact lenses from without a optometrist's confirmation?

I would like to order a pair of prescription contacts for Halloween (so that I don't have to wear glasses with my costume) but my prescription is a couple of years old and the last time that I tried, I couldn't get them sent because the optometrist who made out my prescription wouldn't sign off on it. I know my prescription is stable (it has been for the last 20 years, anyway) and in any case I don't care if it's perfect because I just want them for the one night.

I have worn contacts before. I don't normally wear them because I find them a bit uncomfortable, but I'd like to have a pair for Halloween. Bonus if I can get colored/patterned ones should I desire to go that route, but really I just want them so that I can see properly without having my costume ruined by my glasses. (Yes, I am aware of the option of choosing a costume that works with glasses.)

So anyway I have a copy of my prescription and I want to go to a website where I can just plug in the numbers and they'll send me my lenses, no questions asked. Is there anywhere that does this? Help me out. I don't have another $300 to spend on an optometrist's appointment just so that I can be told that my eyes are the same as they were two years ago.
posted by Scientist to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
In Canada I use You just type in your prescription and they send them.
posted by unSane at 8:07 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Probably not. My eye doc will extend an RX for a extra year but that's about it.

You might do better going to LensCrafters or Americas Best or one of those places, whoever has the best deal on an exam. In fact they will probably give you a free trial pair which might be all you need for halloween.

If the issue is insurance and your health ins doesn't cover eye exams, you might be able to convince an ophthalmologist to code it as a medical visit if you go in for allergies or something.
posted by radioamy at 8:09 PM on September 10, 2012

My ophthalmologist will give me one "trial" pair while I'm waiting for my appointment, so you could try calling your old doctor's office, scheduling an appointment, and then asking if you could have a trial pair to tide you over until the appointment arrives. Nothing says you can't cancel the appointment later.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 8:16 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've bought lenses from Tijuana Vision Optical. You can order online, pay with paypal ($5.00 for shipping to a US address) and you get brand name lenses w/o needing a prescription. If you need to talk to the doctor, he speaks English and there's a US phone number on his site.
posted by birdherder at 8:17 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer:

Fast shipping, via US post.
posted by availablelight at 8:26 PM on September 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

[They're located in Washington state]
posted by availablelight at 8:27 PM on September 10, 2012

Response by poster: Ah, yeah, I remember the other reason why I stopped wearing contacts: they're freakin' expensive. Tijuana Vision Optical seems like it'd do the trick, but I need toric lenses and there's no way I'd be getting out of there for less than 100 USD which is Not Happening on my Halloween budget.

My health insurance doesn't cover eye exams either, so I might be kinda screwed. I don't really "have" an opthamologist, last time I got my eyes checked I just went and saw an optometrist who was based out of a LensCrafters. I don't suppose anyone has a cheaper option?

Why can't you just do this? I can order glasses online and nobody asks whether or not they're my prescription; they just make 'em and ship 'em out. Why do I need an OK for contacts?

( only ships to Canada, by the way. I suppose I should've mentioned that I'm in the US.)
posted by Scientist at 8:36 PM on September 10, 2012

Response by poster: Aw man, and while I'm typing my whiny rant, availablelight comes through with the save. Thanks, that looks like just the thing! They have some lenses there that are quite cheap. Who knows if they'd be suitable for long-term use, but I bet even the cheapest lenses will do me fine for one night. And they don't check with anyone, they just make you agree that you've got a current prescription. Thanks!
posted by Scientist at 8:42 PM on September 10, 2012

Improper contacts prescriptions can actually fuck up your corneas is why. Improper glasses just mean you see blurry.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:43 PM on September 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

I once, in an emergency, got my eyes checked for about 40$ at Costco. They then gave me samples.

Having had this issue, there is some way that, if you only need minor changes for the astigmatism (toric), you can use regular lenses. Again, in an emergency (vacation, tore all my torics, no one ever has toric samples) I have done this and it's fine. But you'd need to speak to a optometrist for it.
posted by jeather at 8:43 PM on September 10, 2012

Mod note: Folks OP is not anon, please feel free to relay your concerns with their choices in MeMail or email instead. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:59 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know you don't want to visit the eye doctor, but if you go and tell them you want to switch to daily disposables, they will give you free samples!
posted by firei at 5:16 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

My eye doctor has started matching the prices of 1-800-contacts. He gave me a pair of normal lenses to try, plus a MONTH of dailies to try. (I think they're new to him, and he wanted a guniea pig.)

So it might be worth it to pay for the exam and see if you can make it up in freebies. Plus, then you should have a two-year script in hand, and then you can order a ton of lenses.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:59 AM on September 11, 2012

Yeah, I got a free week of dailies with my exam at Lenscrafters.
posted by mskyle at 9:07 AM on September 11, 2012

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