For many contact lens wearers, purchasing repeat prescriptions online has become a money and time saver. Multiple contact lens websites now offer email reminders, auto-log in links and one click reordering with the result that a repeat order can take less than one minute.
For other contact lens wearers, the idea of ordering a repeat prescription online is daunting. The number of ocular ailments that exist today including myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, etc. have resulted in the manufacture of different types of contact lenses such as toric, bifocal and multifocal lenses, each with their own characteristics and some shared characteristics which can be confusing for any wearer.
The best advice to give a potential buyer is to familiarise themselves with the measurements of contact lens prescription and to learn what they mean. Prior to the deregulation of the optical industry, one's local optician was the one stop shop for purchasing lenses, therefore knowledge of one's own prescription details was unnecessary for the patient.
When the industry was deregulated and direct mail lenses became a reality, contact lens wearers simply needed a copy of their contact lens prescription or indeed their contact lens box so that they could find their exact brand of lens online and place an order for a repeat prescription.
Today, many high street optical chains have commissioned the manufacture of own brand contact lenses, many with unique parameters that existing market leading lenses do not match. They have also entered into agreements with certain manufacturers to prescribe and carry that manufacturer's brand of contact lens on the condition that the brand will not be supplied to competing online retailers. The reason? Wearers who have had these high street chain lenses prescribed cannot find that lens or an equivalent online from any competing retailers. This begs the question: are high street chains prescribing the very best lens for their patients or are they prescribing this lens because they know only they can fulfil that prescription, thus ensuring repeat business?
Potential buyers who do not wear such lenses should be aware of the base curve, diameter and power of their contacts. It is also useful to learn information such as lens material and any additional prescription measurements should the wearer require toric, bifocal, multifocal or any other non-standard lens. The meaning of these prescription details need only be learnt once thus empowering the buyer to order with confidence online.