Cheap Contact Lenses – Buy Online and Save
The FTC reports that access to online contact lens retailers provides consumers with greater choice and greater savings on contact lenses. With over 36 million Americans now wearing contact lenses, the FTC continues to fight for the rights of consumers in accessing cheap contact lenses offered by online contact lens distributors.
In the United States, sales of contact lenses are over $1 billion dollars annually. The past few years have witnessed an explosive growth of online contact lens retailers, and other channels of distribution, offering consumers greater selection and lower prices when purchasing contact lenses. The FTC has played a central role in breaking down anti-competitive barriers in the sale of contact lenses that serve to restrict consumer choice and raise lens prices.
Online contact lens retailers are in a unique position to bring consumers cheaper contact lenses. With the entire globe as their marketplace, thanks to the worldwide reach of the Internet, they are able to purchase massive quantities of brand name replacement contact lenses. The sheer volume of lenses purchased provides them with an excellent price advantage from brand name contact lens manufacturers. Couple this fact with their ability to operate very low priced Internet storefronts, they benefit from low operating expenses, while being able to buy huge volume. The end result, in simple terms, is that their ability to pass on savings to their consumers is limited only by their desire to make profits.
Over the past few years, the FTC has been active in promoting the ability of non-traditional contact lens sellers to operate in an open, competitive market. A March 2004 FTC report points out that “non-traditional contact lens sellers, such as Internet providers, represent a unique alternative distribution channel and offer some consumers a combination of price and convenience that they value highly”. Thanks to recent legislation brought into effect with the help of the FTC and other consumer groups, the ability of consumers to purchase cheap contact lenses online is becoming easier.
Important among these legislative changes is the Ophthalmic Practices Rule and the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (The Contact Lens Rule).
The Ophthalmic Practices Rule requires ophthalmologists and optometrists to provide their patients with a copy of their eyeglass prescription at no added cost after the completion of an eye examination. This was a very important development that helped pave the way for the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act.
The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, enacted by Congress in 2003, requires that eye care practitioners provide their patients with a copy of their contact lens prescription at no added charge upon the completion of a lens fitting. In the past, contact lenses were replaced infrequently and the lenses were typically purchased from eye care providers. These lenses were far more expensive than the soft, disposable lenses now favored by most lens wearers.
In today’s world, the vast majority of Americans wearing contact lenses choose to wear soft contact lenses that require more frequent replacement schedules. These lenses are far less expensive than the old, hard lenses of the past. As a result, price, choice, and convenience have become extremely important to consumers. The ability of consumers to obtain a copy of their contact lens prescription then allows them to shop around for the best prices available. The result is increased competition and choice, and this only benefits consumers in terms of lower prices and greater selection.
The Contact Lens Rule (2004) has opened up a huge online contact lens replacement industry. Many of these online replacement lens companies offer exceptional pricing discounts compared to traditional lens sellers, not to mention choice and convenience when purchasing lenses.
Buying Cheap Contact Lenses Online
How does a consumer know if the prices available from one online retailer are better than those offered by another? There is one simple answer. Consumers must take the time comparison shopping on the Internet, just like they do from traditional sellers. In addition, some other variables beyond price should be considered by online shoppers prior to placing a contact lens order online. The steps outlined below will help any consumer interested in buying the cheapest brand name contact lenses online do so safely.
Step 1 – Compare Prices
Your contact lens prescription outlines the individual features required to meet your vision needs. There are many brands of contact lenses available. Find the lens type that meets your needs, and compare prices between the leading online lens sellers to find out what online store gives you the best price.
Step 2 – Find out the Real Price
Learning what online store offers the best price on the lenses themselves is only one step. The real price of your lenses also includes shipping. Many online stores offer excellent deals in terms of shipping. Find out if you can get free shipping by, for example, buying two pairs of lenses instead of one.
Step 3 – Assess the Online Storefront
Buying contact lenses online is no different than buying any other consumer good, whether online or from a traditional brick and mortar business. Assess the return policies, as well as customer service access. Any online retailer you buy lenses from should provide an operational toll free telephone number and address, along with clearly delineated customer service hours.
Step 4 – Website Security
Before placing an order for contact lenses or any other product online, ensure that the webpage you are on is secure. A secure website encrypts all the information you input before sending it across the Internet, thereby preventing others from accessing it. Consumers can easily check if they are on a secure website by viewing the small lock icon at the bottom right hand corner of their computer screen, or by viewing the website address itself. A secure webpage address starts with https:// as opposed to a regular webpage that doesn’t include the s (http://). Only buy lenses from a secure website.
Step 5 – Check your Lenses
When your contact arrive at your door, make sure that they are the exact brand name you ordered. Every pair of contact lenses must be shipped with the manufacturer’s patient information pamphlet. Accept no substitutes.
By following a few simple steps, consumers can be confident that they are buying brand name replacement contact lenses over the Internet at the cheapest prices available. Buying contact lenses online can save consumers hundreds of dollars a year, with the benefit of increased convenience and choice of lenses. Be a wise contact lens consumer – buy online and reap the savings!
Cheap Contact Lenses – Buy Online and Save
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