Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Many of you have asked me about how to buy lenses online and if it is safe. There are many websites that sell clear and colored lenses on the new, but it may be a different experience than buying lenses from your opthamologist.
The first thing to keep in mind is to know your prescription. This means going to the eye doctor and finding out, whether you have 20/20 or have always worn glasses and want to try contacts. Your contact prescription is different than your glasses prescription because glasses sit away from the face whereas lenses sit right on your eye. If you used the same prescription, it could be too strong for you in lens form! Even if you do wear contacts, it's always good to get checked up to see if your prescription has changed. Some websites will ask for prescription verification from your doctor, and some won't.
Next, is to search for a website that has the lens you are looking for. We always want to get the best deal, but that can be difficult with there being so many sites out there. Most of the time you have to do your research and manually compare prices and shipping costs. I did come across a helpful website called Lensshopper.com which lets you search for lenses from various sites. I found the search most useful when I looked for "colored contacts" and sorted the listing by "total price" but you can also search by delivery time or by typing in words for what you are looking for. I'm not sure, but I think the shipping times are geared toward US domestic shipping which might be an issue for those looking for lenses internationally. Also, the listing for "incl freight" is inconsistent... Sometimes it is a small shipping price and sometimes it is the total price of the regular lens. In any case, the site is very useful to compare what site to get the cheapest lenses including Expressions or Freshlooks.
The site even has a colored lens viewer where you can chose a person who best fits you and test out colors on them to find a good match. There aren't any Asians, and the colors are different than what the lenses look like in real life, but it is fun to play around with nonetheless.
Circle lenses and Soloticas can be a different story, as you often need to buy them from overseas. The cheapest way to buy circles is to hop onto a seller's "pre-order" (usually on a forum or a website) which means they are buying many lenses in bulk so you need to reserve a spot for what lens you want before they order it. There are also other websites such as http://www.mycolorlens.com/, http://www.secreteyes.org/, and http://www.circlelens2u.com/ that have some ready stock that you can buy. The biggest factors here are cost and delivery time. Ready stock will get to you much quicker than waiting for a pre-order to be completed, but they might not have what you want and it might cost more than a pre-order. Soloticas you must order from a Brazilian website such as http://www.oticabellucci.com.br/ but you might need a translator for Portugese and a currency converter to know the price. Also, international shipping costs are a bit outrageous for Soloticas, which is just a fair warning.
In any case, for any website, you should do a bit of research and make sure the seller is reliable and that you are getting the lens you want. See if you can find real photos of people wearing the lenses, not just some ulzzang, net idol, or model that has photoshopped eyes and a makeup artist. Good luck on getting the lenses that are right for you!