Can You Buy Contacts in Store? Find Out Now!

Contacts, also known as contact lenses, are thin pieces of plastic that are placed directly on the surface of the eye to correct vision problems. Although many people purchase their contact lenses online, the question remains: can you buy contacts in store?

The answer is yes, you can buy contact lenses in store. In fact, purchasing contacts in store is a popular choice for many people because it allows them to have a professional fitting and consultation regarding their particular vision needs. In this article, we will explore the many options for buying contacts in store, as well as the benefits of doing so.

Types of Contact Lenses

Before you can purchase contact lenses, it is important to understand the different types available. There are two main categories of contact lenses: soft and rigid gas permeable.

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are made from a flexible plastic material that allows them to conform to the shape of the eye. They are comfortable and easy to wear, making them a popular choice for many contact lens wearers. There are several subcategories of soft contact lenses:

  • Daily disposable lenses
  • Bi-weekly lenses
  • Monthly lenses
  • Extended wear lenses
  • Colored lenses

Each of these subcategories has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to consult with an eye care professional before making a decision on which type to purchase.

Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses are made from a firm plastic material that allows them to retain their shape on the eye. They provide sharper vision than soft contact lenses, but may be less comfortable to wear. They also require a longer period of adjustment because they are not as flexible as soft contacts.

Where to Buy Contact Lenses in Store

There are several options for purchasing contact lenses in store:

Optometrists and Ophthalmologists

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are trained professionals who specialize in eye care. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine the prescription needed for contact lenses, as well as fit and prescribe contact lenses. They can also offer advice and guidance on the best type of contact lenses for your particular needs. Many optometrists and ophthalmologists also have a selection of contact lenses available for purchase in their offices.

Retail Stores

Retail stores that specialize in eyewear, such as LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, also offer contact lenses for sale. They may have a limited selection compared to an optometrist or ophthalmologist’s office, but they can still provide a prescription and fitting for contact lenses.

Online Retailers

In addition to in-store options, there are also online retailers that offer contact lenses for sale. However, it is important to exercise caution when ordering contact lenses online. Federal law requires that you have a valid prescription in order to purchase contact lenses, so be wary of any online retailers that do not require a prescription.

The Benefits of Buying Contacts in Store

There are several benefits to purchasing contact lenses in store, including:

Professional Fitting and Consultation

One of the biggest benefits of purchasing contact lenses in store is the ability to receive a professional fitting and consultation from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. This ensures that your contact lenses fit properly and are tailored to your specific vision needs.

Immediate Availability

If you need contact lenses immediately, purchasing them in store allows you to walk out with your new lenses the same day. This is particularly beneficial if you have lost or damaged your current pair of contact lenses and need a replacement right away.

Ability to Try On Lenses

Purchasing contact lenses in store allows you to try on different types of lenses to see which ones are most comfortable and provide the best vision. This can be extremely helpful in determining which type of contact lenses to purchase.


While it is possible to purchase contact lenses online, buying them in store provides several benefits, including professional fitting and consultation, immediate availability, and the ability to try on lenses. Whether you choose to purchase your contact lenses from an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or retail store, be sure to consult with a professional to determine the best type of contact lenses for your particular vision needs.

Common Questions

  • Can you wear contact lenses if you have astigmatism? Yes, there are contact lenses specifically designed for individuals with astigmatism.
  • What is the difference between daily disposable lenses and monthly lenses? Daily disposable lenses are designed to be worn for one day and then disposed of, while monthly lenses can be worn for up to a month before they need to be replaced.
  • Do I need a prescription to purchase contact lenses in store? Yes, federal law requires that you have a valid prescription in order to purchase contact lenses.
  • Can I wear contact lenses while swimming? While it is not recommended to wear contact lenses while swimming, if you choose to do so, it is important to wear waterproof lenses and to avoid opening your eyes underwater.


American Academy of Ophthalmology. (n.d.). Contact Lenses. Retrieved from

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015). Consumer Update: 5 Tips for Buying Contact Lenses. Retrieved from

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