Dangers of ordering contact lenses online

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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) -- Scheduling an appointment with an eye doctor may take longer than many hope, if they are booked.

So instead of waiting, some people use their computers to shop for contacts online with hopes of saving time and money.

But in reality, they are putting their eyes in danger, because some online contact lens companies are not well-regulated.

Contacts are a medical device regulated by the FDA and require a valid prescription.

Doctors at Hastings Vision Clinic in Hastings, Nebraska said some online companies may not follow health requirements and the contacts you order might not be stored in a temperature-controlled environment. They could be expired, or worse.

All of these could cause serious health concerns and if you get the wrong prescription when ordering contacts online, you can experience eye discomfort, blurred vision, headaches and more.

"If it's not verified correctly from the company, if you get them wrong, if the contacts are too tight or too loose or depending on what type of temperature they were stored in, maybe you can get some kind of infection if it's stored in way too hot of an environment or things like that," Hastings Vision Clinic Optometrist Eric Arneson said. "When it comes to your eyes, you only get two and you know one thing can go wrong and that could end up really bad for your eyes."

Some people say they are scared to order contacts online.

"It's one of those things that you don't even know if it's a trustworthy source, you don't know where the contacts were," said Valerie Bren, a Hastings resident. "It's just peace of mind that the contacts that you are putting in your eye that allows you to see is coming from a trustworthy source."

Sometimes, the online prices may look more appealing, but doctors said that's not always the case.

"There's rebates that the contact lens companies only give private practice offices that the online don't get, so a lot of time in the end, what we found is that when we show a patient side-by-side what the price is comparatively, it's similar and a lot of times it's actually a better deal though us," Arneson said.

Officials said if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is, and it is best to make a smart choice to protect your eyes and avoid any complications.

Contact lens prescriptions usually expire on a yearly basis, so it's recommended to visit your doctor once a year.

Read the original version of this article at nbcneb.com.