Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (2023)

Feel Good Contacts make buying your contact lenses online even more accessible, as we don’t need to see your prescription before you order. We trust that you have an up-to-date prescription and know which lenses you need. If you don't have a copy to hand when ordering and can't remember your specific details, you can even find your prescription on the side/end of your contact lens packaging or on the blister packs that contain your contact lenses.

What is my contact lens prescription?

A contact lens prescription contains all of your contact lens specifications and lets you know which type of lenses you need. To help make things that little bit simpler, we’ve written a guide on everything you need to know about your prescription when ordering contact lenses online.

It's essential to note that a contact lens prescription is not the same as a glasses prescription. So, if you’re a glasses wearer who wants to try out contact lenses, you’ll need to go for a contact lens fitting to find out which lenses are best for you.

Once you are initially fitted with contact lenses, you will be asked to come back for an aftercare to check that your lenses are comfortable and not causing you any problems. If everything is fine with your lenses, you can decide to purchase the lenses and you should be given your contact lens prescription. If you decide not to purchase but wish to have a copy of your specification you may need to pay for the contact lens specification. If either of these scenarios were the case and you weren’t given your prescription, then don’t hesitate to request it, as it’s your legal right in the UK to own a copy. Alternatively, you can find it on the box of your contact lenses or on the blister packs containing the lenses.

Where can I find my prescription?

Your prescription can be found on the end or side of your contact lenses box, on the blister pack containing your lenses or on the piece of paper given to you by your optician after your contact lens fitting has been completed.

Can you buy contact lenses without a prescription?

We trust you have an up-to-date prescription and have been recommended by an eye care professional the lenses that are most suitable for your eyes. You don't need a physical prescription when purchasing contact lenses from Feel Good Contacts, you'll need to understand your prescription so that you can purchase your lenses correctly.

How do I read my contact lens prescription?

A contact lens prescription usually includes a base curve, diameter, and power (sphere). The prescription for your left and right eye may differ and for this reason, you'll find them written separately. If you have astigmatism, you'll find additional figures for cylinder and axis. Those with presbyopia will also have an addition and dominant figures on their prescription.

You'll also find the name of your contact lenses and the expiry date on your prescription.

In some instances, you'll also find how often to replace your lenses written on your prescription; for example, it may say whether they are daily, weekly, monthly etc.

If you're choosing coloured contact lenses, you'll also find this information written on your prescription.

(Video) Do I need a Prescription to Wear Contact Lenses

Below are some examples of how your prescription may be written:

When do contact lens prescriptions expire?

The expiry date is typically a year from when your prescription was written, although this can vary depending on the recommendations made by the optician.

What do my contact lens prescription figures mean?

Although you don't need your contact lens prescription when purchasing your lenses from Feel Good Contacts, it is important to have a thorough understanding of what your prescription is.

Measurements given in a prescription include a base curve, diameter, power as well as cylinder and axis for those with astigmatism and ADD (addition) figures for presbyopia. You'll find that your left eye and right eye prescriptions may vary and for this reason, you'll see them listed separately. Below we have listed what each measurement means:

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (1)

Standard box

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (2)


(Video) Do I need a separate prescription for contact lenses?

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (3)


Base curve (BC) – This figure determines the curve of the lens so that it can fit the curvature of your eye. This number is typically written in millimetres or sometimes given with the terms: flat, steep or median.

Diameter (DA) – Simply informing you of the width of the lens, this measurement is in millimetres.

Power/Sphere (PWR/SPH) – Power or Sphere indicates how short-sighted or long-sighted you are. A plus sign (+) is used for long-sightedness, and a minus sign (-) is used for short-sightedness. The higher the number, the stronger the visual correction offered by the lens.

Prescription figures for astigmatism

Cylinder (CYL) – This is a figure, specifically for toric lenses, that lets you know the severity of astigmatism.

Axis (AX) – The axis is a figure between 1 and 180, this shows the angle at which the cylinder should be placed.

Prescription figures for presbyopia

Addition (ADD) - The Addition figure determines the level of correction needed for close distance visual clarity. This figure is between 0.50 and 3.00 or is referred to as low, medium or high. This value will only be seen on multifocal/varifocal lenses.

Dominant (D) - multifocal contact lenses offer visual correction through a ‘dominant’ and ‘non-dominant eye’. The figures ‘D’ and ‘N’ are used to indicate which is which, respectively.

(Video) Contact Lenses for Beginners | How to Put in Contacts

Date - You'll also find an expiration date on your prescription. The expiration date is typically a year after your check-up, but can vary depending on the opticians recommendation.

Here is a comparison of different contact lens prescriptions from opticians:

The examples below show various contact lens prescriptions from opticians alongside examples of how these prescriptions should look when entered on our website.


It would be entered on our website as follows:

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (4)

Optical Express

It would be entered on our website as follows:

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (5)

Smith & Swepson

It would be entered on our website as follows:

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (6)

Independent opticians

It would be entered on our website as follows:

(Video) Why do I need a contact lens prescription? | Optometrist Explains

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (7)

Handwritten standard prescription

It would be entered on our website as follows:

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (8)

Handwritten Multifocal prescription

It would be entered on our website as follows:

Do I Need A Prescription For Contact Lenses? (9)

What is the strongest contact lens prescription?

Contact lenses can be prescribed for extreme degrees of myopia, even for those who need correction of more than -20 Dioptres. Some lenses can go over -30 Dioptres.

For regular soft contact lenses, the highest level of corrective power is about -12 Dioptres. Some monthly soft contact lenses can correct astigmatism up to +/-20 Dioptres Sphere with up to -5.75 Cylinder.

How to understand an eyeglass prescription?

Your glasses prescription is different from a contact lenses prescription. Your prescription for eyeglasses may have numbers listed under the headings meaning right eye and left eye, which are Latin abbreviations for oculus dexter and oculus sinister, meaning left eye and right eye.

Positive powers mean long-sightedness whereas minus powers mean near-sightedness. These powers are measured in dioptres and found in front of numbers used to measure the correction or focusing power. The further away the number is from zero, the worse your eyesight is, meaning you'll need a stronger prescription.

Those with astigmatism will find three numbers listed in their prescription:

  • S or sph or sphere, representing the degree of near-sightedness or farsightedness.
  • C or cyl or cylinder, which refers to the degree of astigmatism.
  • Axis-this reveals the angle of astigmatism and is a number between 1-180 degrees.

Can I use my glasses prescription for contact lenses?

You cannot use your glasses prescription to purchase contact lenses. Both require a set of different measurements as they differ in their fitting characteristics.

(Video) Why contact lens prescriptions are different to glasses | Optometrist Explains


Do I need a prescription to wear contact lenses? ›

If you already wear glasses, you'll need a separate prescription for contact lenses. Contact lenses have extra measurements such as diameter and base curve, for the perfect fit. Everyone's eyes are unique, so a contact lens prescription ensures you have lenses which are comfortable and fit well.

Can I just go and buy contact lenses? ›

If you're new to contact lenses, getting them in store is the best place to start. You'll need to have an eye test and a contact lens assessment to make sure that we choose the best lens to suit your requirements. But if you're already a seasoned contact lens pro, you can pop in any time or buy contact lenses online.

Can you order contacts with expired prescription? ›

Don't try to buy contact lenses online with an expired prescription, it's illegal to sell anyone contact lenses without a valid prescription. So, check your contact lens prescription right now. If they're close to or past the expiration date, contact your eye doctor and schedule an eye exam.

Do I need a prescription for contact lenses UK? ›

Do I need a contact lens prescription? Yes, in the UK you need a prescription to purchase contact lenses. After you've had a contact lens fitting with your optician, you are legally entitled to a copy of your contact lens prescription.

How do you qualify for contact lenses? ›

You'll need a prescription for your new contact lenses in order to buy them either at the eye doctor's office or online. Let your eye doctor know in advance that you'll need a contact lens prescription since these are very different from eyeglass prescriptions. Ask them to prescribe your contacts for a national brand.

Which is cheaper contact lenses or glasses? ›

In the long run, glasses are less expensive than contact lenses. You don't have to replace your glasses as frequently (unless you break them!) and if your prescription changes, you may be able to keep your current frames and just replace the lenses.

Are contacts cheaper than frames? ›

Contact lenses are typically even more expensive than glasses. The average amount spent annually on contact lenses is around $250, but this price can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the type of lenses prescribed and the wear schedule. Non-disposable contacts tend to cost a little less than disposable contacts.

Can you buy contacts off the shelf? ›

Many stores allow you to buy off-the-shelf contact lenses. But always see an optometrist for a proper fitting before buying. It's important to have the right prescription. This goes for all types of lenses, including colored ones.

How much does prescription contact lenses cost? ›

Contact lenses can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500 a year, depending on the brand, type, and your insurance coverage. Generally, they cost between $20 and $30 a box. Most people with average prescriptions should be able to get a year's worth of contact lenses for $200 to $500.

How do I convert my glasses prescription to contacts? ›

The simple answer to this question is no – you cannot and should not use your glasses prescription to try to calculate your contact lens prescription. It should also be noted that not everyone who needs glasses can also wear contact lenses, it is important that you are examined separately.

How much do contacts cost without insurance? ›

What You Can Expect to Pay. Disposable contact lenses cost approximately $200 to $1,000 per year or $15 to $85 per month for regular wearers, if you're buying for both eyes. This range is so broad because it encompasses different types of contact lenses for different kinds of vision correction.

Is it OK to buy contact lenses online? ›

Many online vendors are safe and secure, but it's important to make sure the company from which you order your contact lenses is reputable. Search the web for customer reviews and experiences, and browse the company website for signs of credibility.

Are contact lenses free on NHS? ›

NHS optical vouchers

You're entitled to an optical voucher for help towards the cost of your glasses or contact lenses if you: are under 16. are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education. are a prisoner on leave from prison.

Can you shower with contacts in? ›

Avoid water while wearing contacts.

Keep your contacts away from water. Make sure to remove your contacts before showering, bathing, or swimming. Don't rinse or store your contacts in water, and if it does occur, make sure to throw away or disinfect them thoroughly.

What is legally blind in contacts? ›

If you wear contact lenses or eyeglasses, your eyesight will also be measured while wearing these corrective lenses. To be considered legally blind, your vision will need to be 20/200 or worse while wearing your lenses, or you must meet the visual field criteria.

Is contact lenses better than glasses? ›

They give you more natural vision than glasses. They move with your eye, and nothing blocks what you see. They don't fog up or get wet when it's cold or rainy. Contacts don't get in the way when you play sports.

How do you get contacts for the first time? ›

If you're wearing contact lenses for the first time, these 8 tips may help make you feel more confident about wearing contacts.
  1. Just Relax. ...
  2. Learn How to Put on Your Contacts. ...
  3. Always Clean Your Lenses. ...
  4. Keep Contacts Hydrated. ...
  5. Follow Doctor Recommendations. ...
  6. Follow the Wearing and Replacement Schedules. ...
  7. Self-Check Your Contacts.

What are the disadvantages of contact lenses? ›

Top 6 Harmful Effects Of Contact Lenses
  • Red Eye. Having red eyes can happen for all sorts of reasons. ...
  • Dry Eye. Contacts have a tendency to dry out your eyes, which can cause negative symptoms. ...
  • Infection. ...
  • Corneal Vascularization. ...
  • Eye Ulcers. ...
  • Conjunctivitis.
14 Nov 2018

Is it okay to wear contact lenses everyday? ›

No matter what type of contact lenses you opt to buy, you should be able to wear your contact lenses every day. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and you may not be able to wear your contacts every day if you are: Experiencing eye redness, dryness, or irritation.

Do contact lenses expire? ›

All contacts have an expiration date. Some are designed to last for one year, while others are meant to be worn for only two weeks or as little as one day. As contacts are worn, germs, proteins, and other residues accumulate on the surface of your contacts. These deposits can irritate the eyes over time.

Why is my vision blurry with contacts but not glasses? ›

Some of the possible causes of blurry vision while wearing contacts include a change in your prescription, deposits (like dirt) on the lens surface, dry eyes, allergies, infections, or other eye health problems.

Are daily or 2 week contacts cheaper? ›

Cost: The initial cost of weekly contact lenses is less than daily contact lenses. Durability: Contacts meant to last a week to 30 days are thicker. This means they tear less often. Of course, replacing a torn contact lens costs more than replacing a daily disposable.

What happens if I fall asleep with contacts? ›

Sleeping for hours with your contacts increases your risk of developing an eye infection. Without good access to oxygen, your cornea will begin to enlarge and swell up. This condition is called keratitis, meaning the physiology of the eye is being altered and damaged.

Why can't I buy contacts without a current prescription? ›

All Contacts are Medical Devices

That means you need a valid prescription from a licensed eye care practitioner to buy them. Wearing decorative or vision-correcting contacts without a prescription can damage your site and even cause blindness.

Can you get contacts same day as exam? ›

In most cases, you'll have the opportunity to try lenses on the same day as your exam. You may even go home with a few samples before making a final decision.

How quickly can I get contact lenses? ›

It may take up to 48 hours to process your order. To speed up the prescription verification process, provide a copy of your prescription image when you place your order.

Are monthly contacts cheaper than daily? ›

Do daily lenses and monthly lenses cost the same? The expense is comparable. Note that dailies can be pricier if you're switching them more frequently than once a day, yet monthlies come along with the cost of cleaning solutions for sterilizing and storing your lenses.

Which is cheaper monthly or daily contact lenses? ›

If you wear your contact lenses every day, then yes, monthly lenses work out cheaper. However, if you use your lenses on a more occasional basis (for example, only during sports), then daily lenses will be cheaper in the long run.

How much is a 6 month supply of contacts? ›

The cost to replace monthly contacts can range between $60 to $180 for a six-pack box of lenses. Depending on the frequency of replacement, you will likely need between 6-10 boxes of contacts for the year.

Can you switch to contacts instead of glasses? ›

Contact lenses allow wearers to correct their vision without changing their appearance, making them an ideal choice for anyone who doesn't like the way they look in glasses. People can certainly switch between contacts and glasses, but they must be mindful of the maintenance required by each.

How do I get my eye prescription online? ›

When you're buying glasses online, all you need to do is make sure the numbers on your prescription match the numbers in the prescription field on your screen. In the sample below, the right eye is prescribed -2.50 sphere to correct nearsighted vision.

Is it cheaper to get contacts from doctor? ›

Wrong. The reality is that not only is ordering contacts from your local eye doctor usually cheaper than ordering online, there are a number of additional price benefits to ordering local – including higher rebates, better shipping, and better insurance coverage.

How many hours a day should you wear contact lenses? ›

Your optician will be able to discuss with you what is best in your individual case, but as a general point, it's recommended that you wear your contact lenses for a maximum of 10-12 hours per day. Wearing your lenses for longer may cause your eyes to become uncomfortable, red and prone to infection.

Are over the counter contacts safe? ›

Eye health complications caused by non-prescription colored contact lenses are not always temporary. It is very possible to suffer permanent vision problems or vision loss. In fact, bacterial infections of the eye progress rapidly. They can lead to ulcers on the eye and even blindness in as little as 24 hours.

Can I buy contact lens without consulting the doctor? ›

It's better to consult an eye doctor before going in for contact lenses. By doing so, you not only undergo comprehensive eye examination, you receive contact lens trial prior to the supply of actual contact lenses coupled with professional advice and training in the handling and after care of this medical aid.

How much do daily contact lenses cost UK? ›

Prices vary with the brand and type of lens. As a guideline, the cost typically ranges from £24 to £55 per month for 30 pairs. Multifocal and toric lenses tend to be a little more expensive than daily single-vision contacts. The annual cost of daily contact lenses ranges from £192 to £660 per year.

How expensive are contacts UK? ›

The Cost Of Daily Contact Lenses Compared To Glasses

If you were to wear a popular daily contact lenses such as 1 Day Acuvue TruEye then the cost is £23.99 per box, so that works out as £575.76 for 1 year, so £47.98 per month.

How much does a contact lens test cost UK? ›

How much does it cost for contact lens exam? The cost for a contact lens exam varies, depending on certain conditions and where you go to get the exam. The NHS provides free eye tests for those who qualify. Otherwise, the average cost of a contact lens exam is £25.

Can you get contact lenses on the same day? ›

If you have a popular prescription, you can expect your lenses to ship the day after you order them. If your prescription is uncommon, it may take some additional time to process your order.

Can I pick up contact lenses same day? ›

The specific lenses needed for a patient can be ordered and usually arrive quickly, this creates less waste as the exact lenses needed can be ordered in. You get your prescription the same day and I assume if you did the exam there they have contacts available for sale, so yes, you may buy them right away.

Can you buy same day contacts? ›

Same day contacts are available

As long as the patient has demonstrated to the Optometrist that the new wearer can comfortably insert and remove the lenses, the doctor will provide a pair to take home.

Can an eye doctor tell if you wear contacts? ›

Arriving at a contact lens follow-up exam with your lenses in will also let your eye doctor see whether or not you've been wearing them properly. If you haven't been, your eye doctor will be able to tell you what you can do to make the best possible use of your lenses.

How much should a contact lens exam cost? ›

Typically, the average cost of a contact lens exam ranges between $120-$250. The average cost of a regular eye exam will vary depending on where you live and the type of optometry office you visit. With that said, keep in mind these are averages. Contact lens fittings without insurance can start as low as $100.

How much do contact lenses cost on average? ›

Contact lenses can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500 a year, depending on the brand, type, and your insurance coverage. Generally, they cost between $20 and $30 a box. Most people with average prescriptions should be able to get a year's worth of contact lenses for $200 to $500.

How long can 1 day contacts last? ›

Daily disposable lenses are worn for one day only. They aren't designed to be resistant to germs, bacteria, or other buildup that collects on the lens throughout the day.

Are contacts blurry the first day? ›

Should contacts be blurry at first? When you first wear contacts, it may take a few seconds for the lens to settle into the right place. This can cause blurred vision for a short moment in time. If your new contacts are blurry, this could also indicate that you are wearing the wrong prescription.

What's the longest you can leave contacts in your eyes? ›

How many hours per day can you safely wear contacts? Most people can safely and comfortably wear contact lenses for 14 to 16 hours per day. It's always best to try to remove them as soon as possible before you go to bed at night to give your eyes a chance to breathe without lenses in.

How many hours a week should you wear contact lenses? ›

Your optician will be able to discuss with you what is best in your individual case, but as a general point, it's recommended that you wear your contact lenses for a maximum of 10-12 hours per day. Wearing your lenses for longer may cause your eyes to become uncomfortable, red and prone to infection.

How much does 2 week contacts cost? ›

How Much Do Biweekly Contacts Cost? Biweekly disposable contacts for both eyes cost approximately $20 to $35 per month, $270 to $360 per year, or $0.70 to $1.20 per day. These estimates apply to biweekly single-vision contacts that correct only nearsightedness or farsightedness, not astigmatism or presbyopia.

Can I wear 1 day contacts for 2 days? ›

Daily contact lenses that are disposable and single-use only should not be worn more than once after daily usage. Daily contacts that are old can scratch your eye and also cause more dangerous conditions to develop.


1. Glasses vs Contacts - Which is Better?
(Doctor Eye Health)
2. Monthly Contacts VS Daily - Which is better?
(Doctor Eye Health)
3. Cheap Contacts | How to Save MONEY on Contact Lenses (3-Tips) | Doctor Eye Health
(Doctor Eye Health)
4. Glasses and Contact Lens Prescription Explained | Eyes Explained
(Eyes Explained)
5. How to Order Contact Lenses During Quarantine (COVID 19)
(Doctor Eye Health)
6. How To Read Eye Prescriptions For Contact Lenses
(Contact Lens King)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated: 11/09/2022

Views: 6160

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.