Introduction to Contact Lenses

Simple Contacts

We wear them for convenience.  We wear them during exercise.  We wear them for a look.  Contact lenses serve a whole host of purposes for many of our lifestyles. 

Once we get over our inborn prejudice against putting things on our eyes (probably the biggest hurdle), what do we do next? While you can’t just pick up any old contacts at Walmart, there’s a few easy questions we can answer to get quicker, better vision.

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Valid for new customers only.

Why Contacts Over Glasses?

The short answer would be that it comes down to personal preference.  There are pros and cons both ways.  As a result, many people have both glasses and contacts on hand so that they can wear what is most convenient for the occasion.

Some of the most common reasons for acquiring contact lenses are as follows:

  • Permit a wider field of vision for your situational awareness in daily life.
  • Remain on an athlete’s face when doing intense exercise.
  • Free up styles and looks which may otherwise clash with glasses.
  • Prevent fogging caused by weather conditions.
  • No longer worry about where you last set your glasses.

How Do I Get Contact Lenses?

Eye Exam

It all starts with an eye exam.  If you have never received a prescription for glasses or contacts before, you will need to go to an eye doctor and get your vision tested.

 Even where you’re new to this process, there’s no need to get anxious.  The tests used to gauge the quality of your eyesight are simple and easy.

We are all familiar with the iconic eye chart test where the letters shrink each line down.  By comparing how well you see the items on this chart with the average person’s vision, the doctor can gauge your need for vision correction.

You can also expect to be tested on your visual field, ocular mobility, pupillary reactions, fluid pressure, internal health of your eye, and dilation.  Here’s a quick rundown of these tests in case you’re curious.

Renewal Exam

It takes time out of the week to go and visit a doctor’s office in person to go through this testing process.  The first time around, it’s important to get a really thorough examination of your eyes.

When you’re just getting your same contacts prescription renewed for the twentieth time, it may be easier, less costly, and just as effective to do an online eye exam.  This way, you can have your new prescription sent to you.

Need to renew your prescription? Use our online eye exam – get started here.

Prescriptions for Contact Lenses vs Prescriptions for Glasses

The prescriptions for eyeglasses are not the same as prescriptions for contact lenses.  It may only be a matter of inches but putting the lens on your eye rather than your nose makes a difference in how the lens needs to be shaped. Need to actually read your contact lens prescription, but don't know how? We've written a guide on how to read your contact lens prescription here.   

If you're wondering why prescriptions for glasses are different from contact lenses, we've explained in more detail here. Quickest way to tell the difference is to check if there is a brand name on the prescription. If there is, most likely it's for contacts.  If not, the prescription is likely for glasses. 

The length of time a prescription is good for varies from state to state (check your state).  It is generally between 1 and 2 years, though a doctor can shorten this for medical reasons as needed.

Just as with glasses, you need to renew your contact lens prescription with a doctor.  If you think you’ll just be continuing the same prescription though, you can choose to renew online instead of in person. Ready to renew your prescription online? Get started here.

How to Choose the Right Contact Lenses?

There’s lots of options.  Convenience, comfort, durability, disposability, specific vision needs, clarity of vision, and cost are just some of the factors to consider.  Your eye doctor, knowing your personal situation, can help narrow your selection.  Here’s a few categories of contacts for you to get start with.

Soft Lenses vs. RGP

Comfort, cost, durability, etc. can all affect what sort of contact lens you want to choose.  The FDA gives an easy summary of the basic types of lenses, with soft lenses and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses being the primary two categories.

As their name suggests, soft lenses are easier on the eyes and more comfortable to wear, especially at first.  RGP’s on the other hand tend to be more durable and provide more vivid vision.

Contact Lens Wear Period

Different contacts can be worn for differing periods of time, whether that is daily, weekly, or monthly.  There are pros and cons to all three options.

Daily disposable tend to be the safest for your eyes as well as the most convenient since they can be thrown away at the end of the day.  However, these also tend to be the most expensive.

Weekly and monthly disposable contacts can both be reused for a time as long as they are properly cared for with contact solution each night.  These do, however, tend to be more cost effective.

Additional Types of Contact Lenses

  • Hybrid Contact Lenses: Blends together the soft lens and RGP categories.  This allows the lenses to take advantage of the comfort of one and the clearer vision of the other.
  • Multifocal Contact Lenses: Able to be incorporated into other styles, having multifocal lenses can address multiple difficulties at once by causing different light curvature on different sections of the surface.
  • Orthokeratology: While many lenses should not be worn while sleeping, these are intended to be.  These lenses shift the shape of your eyes during the night so that you can see during the day.
  • Contact Lens Coatings: Soft and RGP lenses can both receive this treatment.  The slicker surface makes it less likely bacteria can stick to the lens.
  • Colored Contact Lenses:  Though they usually cost a little more, you may want to make a style statement with tinted lenses.  While we don’t recommend you get the cheap, non-FDA approved costume lenses found in some stores, there are legitimate colored lenses available.
  • Contact Lenses for Astigmatism: As many as a third of adults over age 40 have the irregular eye curvature known as an astigmatism.  Specific contact lenses may be required to correct this circumstance.
  • Contact Lenses for Presbyopia: It is not uncommon for the eye to become less elastic with age.  Special contacts can also correct the farsightedness resulting from presbyopia. 

Contact Lens Brands

On the bright side, a competitive market for contacts means that businesses are striving to get you the best prices for the best quality. On the downside, a competitive market means that there are lots of options.  Fortunately, you don’t have to do the research yourself.  Here is our analysis of six common brands to help you make the best decision:

For a full list of the brands that we carry, find them here.

Price & Insurance

The lenses themselves, the doctor visits, and contact solution all cost money.  Fortunately, a smart consumer can avoid unnecessary costs.  You can avoid unnecessary doctor costs, overpriced lenses, slow shipping, and rebate confusion.

Insurance can help too.  Any major insurance provider will generally give reimbursements for contact lenses.  We have step-by-step guides for how to be reimbursed from 11 of the most common insurance companies.

Where Can I Buy Contacts?

Buy Contacts at the Doctor’s office

It may be convenient to just have your doctor fit you the best lenses that he recommends.  He/She is an expert in the field and knows your personal situation after all.  This option, however, does bring with it a price tag. 

Affordable options for Buying Contacts

For most of us, it less than convenient to schedule, attend, wait for, and finally finish a doctor’s appointment.  While convenience and price are often opposed to one another, not in this case.

Through a simple online process, you can stop overpaying for contact lenses.  With the help of an eye test you can do in your home, you may be able to avoid the costs of a doctor’s appointment and get the lenses you need shipped to you. Ready to buy contacts online? Get started here. 

How Do I Care for my Contacts?

Being so close to our eyes, we want to make sure our contact lenses stay clean and safe.  They are a tremendous convenience when they save us from worry about clumsy glasses.  They are a tremendous inconvenience when improper care causes an eye infection.

Fortunately, we have easy resources to guide you through proper cleaning and wearing of contact lenses.  These can help you avoid unnecessary eye dryness, debris, outdated prescriptions, and more.

What Next? 

Whether this is your first venture into the world of contact lenses or if you have been wearing them as long as you can remember, Simple Contacts can make your next steps easy. 

We offer a supply of quality contacts which you can browse from anywhere.  We give you the freedom to subscribe, skip, or cancel subscriptions on your time.

By spending a few minutes renewing your eye exam on your phone, our team of eye doctors can renew your subscription from anywhere.  

Ready to buy contacts? Get started here.


20% Off Your First Order

Valid for new customers only.