contact lens buying guide

Contact Lens Buying Guide

The different types of contact lenses and how to order them properly

One-fifth of contact lenses buyers in the United States—and rising—now buy their contact lenses online, according to All About Vision. Of course, price and convenience both factor into the continued escalation of online purchases.

Though the choices are many, the process of buying your contacts online need not be confusing. Your prescription provides all the information you need. 

Let’s look at the different types of contact lenses and how to order them properly. 

Contact lens types—prescription options

Except for non-prescription color contact lenses, you’ve been prescribed contact lenses to correct your vision, so we’ll start with an explanation of the corrective types.

Spherical
The most common type of contacts, spherical lenses, are prescribed to correct myopia and hyperopia. The contact lenses have the same power across the entire optical part of the lens. 

Toric
Toric lenses are prescribed to correct astigmatism. The corrective power changes as it goes around the lens. Toric lenses will have a CYL and AXIS value, which you’ll enter based on your prescription. Keep in mind, these values are likely to be different than those you would use to order eyeglasses. 

Bifocal/multifocal
Bifocal (or multifocal) contacts are prescribed to people with presbyopia, that is, aging eyes. The lenses provide two (or more) corrections that gradually shift to provide the corrective refraction needed at various distances

Contact lens color

Color lenses
You might say color lenses are yet another type, however, color lenses are an additional option you would choose to change the appearance of your eyes. Of course, as noted earlier, some people wear non-prescription colored lenses strictly for cosmetic reasons.

Photochromic lenses
Acuvue, in partnership with Transitions Optical, now offers light-sensitive soft contact lenses. The photochromic lenses automatically adjust the amount of light that enters the eye. Learn more about Acuvue Oasys with Transitions here. 

Contact lens schedule

Daily
Daily contacts have become the most popular choice because they are the healthiest option. Each day, you use a fresh set and therefore do not need to be concerned with protein deposits or a daily cleaning regimen. They’re also popular with eyeglass wearers who want to wear contacts on specific occasions.

1-2 weekly
Weekly lenses (and 2-week lenses) provide for an economic replacement schedule. These extended wear lenses are taken out at night for cleaning and disposed of per the schedule. 

Monthly
Monthly contact lenses are used for 30 days and then disposed of and replaced. Note that some are FDA-approved for overnight wear as they allow high amounts of oxygen to pass through. Your eye doctor will evaluate if this is a safe choice for you.

Contact lens brands

EZContacts currently offers 19 brands of contact lenses from six leading manufacturers:

The type of lenses you need is likely to be offered by several brands. The price may have something to do with the brand, but your choice should not be arbitrary. You make it with your eye doctor and try them out with a contact lens fitting. If you are interested in changing brands to reduce your costs, discuss this with your doctor. 

Discover how to use your vision insurance benefits to purchase your contacts online.

Learn more about wearing contact lenses: 
Read our contact lenses FAQ here.

Considering contact lenses for the first time?
This article will help you make the right decision.





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Written by Barry Silver
Barry focuses on conducting research in the eyewear industry and delivering the content you need to make informed decisions regarding your vision.