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The Rx

Prescription

This section provides basic information about eye care providers and eye exams.

How do I get a contact lens prescription?

The first step to wearing contacts is visiting an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a contact lens fitting, even if you don’t have a vision problem and just want to change your eye color. Contacts come in many sizes, and during your exam your eye care provider will measure your eyes to determine which size is right for you. If you already wear contacts but want to try a different brand, you will need to see your eye care provider to be fitted for that brand. Once you have been fitted for contact lenses and have your prescription, you are ready to purchase from 1-800 CONTACTS.

When you schedule your eye exam, it is important to ask the doctor’s office two questions: 1) Do they release contact lens prescriptions?; and 2) Will they prescribe you a national brand that can be purchased anywhere? The federal requirement to release prescriptions is new, so it helps to ask. In addition, contact lens prescriptions are brand specific and most often can not be substituted. If prescribed a doctor exclusive brand your options for shopping around are very limited.
You have a right to your contact lens prescription. (click here for more on this topic)

Can the doctor charge me for a copy of my prescription?

Some doctors may try to charge you for a copy of your prescription either after your examination or when you are attempting to order from a contact lens retailer. This practice is illegal, as charging patients for copies of their contact lens prescription is not permitted under federal law. (click here for more on this topic)

Is it the same as my eyeglass prescription?

Prescriptions for contact lenses and eyeglasses are different. A contact lens prescription contains information not found in a prescription for eyeglasses, like brand, base curve and diameter. If you have a prescription for eyeglasses but want to try contacts, visit your eye care provider for a contact lens fitting. Before your exam, be sure to tell your eye care provider you will need a copy of your contact lens prescription.