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Buy Glasses and Contact Lenses Legally without Prescription

23 May, 2018

Did you know that you can legally buy prescription glasses and contact lenses WITHOUT a prescription??

Did you know that you can legally buy prescription glasses and contact lenses WITHOUT a prescription??

Yep, since 2010, British Columbia, Canada is the first Province or State to allow you to simply enter in your prescription and order glasses or contact lenses without needing an eye exam or expensive eye test.

For this reason, you'll discover that most online eye wear retailers are based in this 'wild west'-ern Canadian province.

Now you can order better eyeglass frames online, for less money, and usually much better customer service.  You can find anything from basic frame manufacturers, to sport sunglasses, even very high-end designer and luxury labels.

So cheaply in fact, that you'll never worry again if they become lost or broken!

The internet is an quick and easy and much less expensive platform to buy glasses. Online, you can find everything from computer glasses to reading sunglasses without leaving your arm chair. Could we make it ANY easier?

Some retail prices at the store or a private practice are often marked up over 40 times the manufacturing price. All optical stores and optometrists want you to buy glasses from them (of course, it's their business), but take a few seconds to check out the selection online first, the model number on every frame is usually located on the inside of temple arm (the arm that goes from the front to your ear), just take a picture with your smart phone, or write it down and perform a quick online search, you'll be amazed at the options and your wallet (and your eyes) will thank you! 

For more on buying glasses online, click here, or visit our store: 

If you notice your vision changing however, it's important to see your optometrist first so you can get the correct prescription that addresses your particular vision problem. Without the correct lenses, you won't have the right 'vision correction' and you may do more harm than good.

A few tests during a routine checkup are normal: the eye chart thingy that gives you a basic idea of what your vision potential is, ie. what you can see - this is called a refraction test - it's the one that requires you to look through a machine to determine your exact prescription.  Then there's the cover test that reveals how your eye muscles work in concert. But some “routine” tests for otherwise healthy patients are often unnecessary. Like going to the best dentists, your optometrist usually starts off with a visual field examination, this is the one where a machine is used to check your side, or peripheral vision is often not necessary, and eye dilation often doesn't need to be done every visit on healthy eyes with no eye pathology history or warning signs, but is necessary if you have any history or risk. 

And, if you find you're paying more than $100 for a checkup, then you’re simply paying too much.  

Extra coatings such as anti-glare or premium anti scratch or scratch-resistant coatings are great, as are expensive variants of anti-reflection coatings, but they are often not necessary. Both anti scratch anti-reflection coatings are strongly recommended, but it is usually over-kill buying the top end ones; with today's technology, the lower priced versions are nearly identical to the expensive ones.  Most eye doctors and optical stores only suggest these extras to simply make more money. 

While LASIK surgery provides odds for perfectly clear vision between 95 and 98 percent, there are still up to 10 percent of patients that will require a 'touch up' or  follow-up procedure. 

Unfortunately even with the procedure, perfect vision does not last forever, and as the eyes age, they change, and you will still ultimately need reading glasses, or bifocal or multifocal contact lenses. Also, never have refractive surgery on eyes that are still developing, your eyes must reach full maturity before undergoing a surgery like LASIK.  Otherwise you're trying to correct a moving target.  Usually, a safe age is around 26, but be doubly sure, by checking over time to see if your eyes have a stable prescription for at least four years.  Take note that in most cases, LASIK is categorized by many vision insurance providers as a cosmetic procedure and might not be covered on your plan, whereas your glasses and contact lenses are.  Furthermore, you can change your eyeglasses and contacts as your eye's change, especially important when your age reaches the forties.  

Eye doctors are required by law in EVERY jurisdiction to give you your eyeglasses prescription after the exam, allowing you to buy your eyeglasses wherever you wish. It wasn't until the early 2000s that they had to do the same with contact lenses. If you get a fitting for glasses or contact lenses, the eye doctor must give you a copy of  the final fitting parameters and brand of contact lens that was ultimately chosen for you.  Under this law, a doctor can no longer force or coerce you to buy your lenses from their office after the eye test or eye exam is finished.

A great hack if you don't have a contact lens prescription or contact lens fitting parameters is here:  

This allows you to convert the power of your glasses to the power of contact lenses.

When choosing a Base Curve (or BC) you should always opt for the larger number as it will fit looser and healthier on your cornea.  Another valuable trick it to choose the largest as you go looser.  This is called the diameter, often referred to OAD or "overall Diameter.

Remember the Alamo, particularly where the Alamo was, in Texas.  A great rule of thumb is to fit your contacts like Texas - large and flat!  The flatter the Base Curve, the larger the number;  an 8.4 BC is steeper than an 8.8 BC 

A BC of 8.4 mm of radius is more curved, and therefore a tighter fit, an 8.8 mm base curve is flatter and will fit looser and move around more when you blink - which is healthier for oxygen transmission to your eye.  An incorrect base-curve is probably OK, but sometimes, rarely can have dire consequences.  People that choose steeper lenses may find it initially more comfortable, but take a very high risk of developing extremely dangerous complications that can even result in irreversible blindness.  Only those people who have steeper corneas dictate tighter fitting contact lenses.

Another great money saving hack that may save you tons in the future if you currently wear contact lenses for astigmatism, often referred to toric contact lenses, then read on.

If your astigmatism is under 1.00 diopter, this is the second number in your prescription often called CYL or cylinder 

Simply divide this number in half, then 'round' down in 0.25 increments and simply add it to the first number (your sphere number).

So, for example, in the OD, or right eye above, you just take the -0.75, then divide it in half making it -0.375, then round down in quarter diopter increments making the value -0.25.  Now just add -0.25 to the sphere number which was -2.50 in the right eye making the total power -2.75 - that's the contact power you want, not a toric or astigmatism lens that cost four or five times more (and almost always has much less stable vision due to the lens rotating when you blink your eyes).

If you're not sure, shoot us an email and we'll even walk you through it.

As with any medical condition or procedure, please consult your eye doctor before making decisions about your eye health. This resource is intended to be purely educational, better preparing you to ask the right questions during your visit.
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