ANDREW GASSON CONTACT LENSES

A SPECIALIST CONTACT LENS PRACTICE SINCE 1972

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MAIL ORDER CONTACT LENSES

NOT NECESSARILY A GOOD IDEA

"Don't risk your sight for an online bargain" (Daily Express, 23 September 2008)

 

It is now possible to obtain contact lenses - usually disposables - by means of mail order or internet direct supply.  Remember, however, that contact lenses are medical devices which are carefully designed to rest on the delicate and easily damaged structures of the eye.  They are not simple commodities like toothpaste or sticking plaster where manufacturer, size or specification are relatively unimportant.  It is therefore much better and much safer to obtain lenses from a qualified, professional source.  In the UK it is illegal for contact lenses to be supplied to children under the age of sixteen without the direct supervision of a qualified practitioner.

In our own case

Full details of your clinical records are immediately available for reference.  

There is professional supervision of your lens order.  

We will be responsible for the accuracy and performance of your lenses.

 

We can also advise you concerning

Any improvements in lens types or designs before ordering your next batch.

When you are due for your next annual check up. 

Clinical matters relating to either lenses or solutions.

 

In addition: 

We will exchange unused sealed boxes of lenses for any updated prescription.  With standard prescriptions we may also be able to exchange individual lenses from our own fitting stock. 

Despite good quality control and careful checking, most of the laboratories may supply the occasional faulty lens.  It may well need practitioner assistance to verify this and we will always exchange a faulty lens.   

 

The supply of contact lenses could be compared with that of modern computers.  If you buy them directly or more cheaply, you are unlikely to receive much in the way of future support - but this is not expected to be included in the price.  If, however, you feel more comfortable with readily available professional advice, then the cost of this will be reflected in the overall fees for the contact lenses.

 

IF YOU ACQUIRE LENSES FROM A THIRD PARTY

According to new legislation from 30 June 2006, the supplier becomes responsible for your future aftercare.

You will have to be responsible yourself for checking the accuracy of all lenses supplied against your prescription.  

If a problem should arise, there are likely to be additional aftercare fees for any visits necessary to resolve the difficulty.  There is also the possibility that recently acquired lenses may be wasted.  Apart from our annual examination fee (to check routine eye conditions as well as the lenses), the fee for supplying lenses includes any supplementary contact lens visits and we will be responsible for re-organising your lens supplies.

In the UK it is illegal for contact lenses to be supplied to children under the age of sixteen without the direct supervision of a qualified practitioner.

  

IF YOU FEEL YOU MUST OBTAIN LENSES BY MAIL ORDER

Please ensure there are no substitutions. You must receive exactly what is recorded on your existing prescription.  The same specification with a different make of lens may not perform in the same way on the eye.  The same make with a different specification may also fit incorrectly.  

The only person able to alter any detail of your prescription is a suitably qualified practitioner. 

If any alterations are made to your lens specification, the responsibility for your lenses becomes that of the new supplier.  

Do not order more than say six months supply, whatever the apparent financial saving for ordering a larger quantity.  If your prescription alters, some direct suppliers may not be prepared to exchange lenses to bring them up to date.

Always ensure laboratory seals are unbroken and check the expiry dates.  Many responsible manufacturers do not openly wish to supply direct selling organisations so that companies may obtain their products from a 'grey market', literally from anywhere in the world. 

Some mail order companies do claim professional supervision of orders - BUT - just looking at details of a lens specification is not the same as referring to a complete clinical record with your full contact lens and ophthalmic history.

We are always willing to give you a printed copy of your prescription but we will not divulge or confirm any of your clinical or personal details to a third party without your written consent.

 

"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all.  When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you have bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.  The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done."

"If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

 John Ruskin 1819-1900

Don't risk your sight for an online bargain" (Daily Express, 23 September 2008)

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