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

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) Do I need a separate prescription for contact lenses?

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) Contact Lenses for Beginners | How to Put in Contacts

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) Glasses vs Contacts - Which is Better?


Do I need a valid prescription for contact lenses? ›

In addition to the numbers on your glasses prescription, your optician will need to make some additional measurements if you're planning to wear contact lenses. Your contact lens prescription will contain two numbers called the 'base curve' and 'diameter' , which determine the fit of the contact lens on your eye.

Is it OK to wear contacts with a weaker prescription? ›

Blurry Vision

However, vision will not be clear. Wearing the incorrect vision prescription will not cause vision to worsen, but a person may experience eye strain and headaches as an effect of the wrong prescription.

What happens if you wear contacts with the wrong prescription? ›

Wearing the wrong prescription can cause blurry vision, discomfort and headaches. Whilst blurry vision will not cause your vision to worsen permanently, corneal ulcers can.

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.

Can you walk in and buy contact lenses? ›

You can't simply walk into a department store and try on a few pair and decide what works best for you. Contact lenses are medical devices, which require wearers to follow a prescribed process to get them.

Can your eyesight worsen with contacts? ›

No, contacts do not make your eyes worse. This is a common concern because many contact lens wearers are nearsighted children or teenagers whose eyes are still changing.

What is the weakest contact prescription? ›

On an eye prescription, 0.00 represents vision that doesn't need correction. The numbers indicate the level of severity of your nearsightedness or farsightedness. The further away from zero (+ or -), the worse the eyesight.

Will it worsen my eyesight if I wear contact lenses lower? ›

The answer to this question is a pretty simple no. Contact lenses are a perfectly healthy option for those suffering from all kinds of visual impairments, no matter how old or young they might be.

Why is my vision blurry with contacts? ›

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.

Is glasses prescription stronger than contacts? ›

Because eyeglasses sit some distance away from your eyes, the prescription for glasses is typically a bit stronger than for contact lenses. This is the primary difference between the two prescriptions.

Why would an optometrist say someone Cannot wear contacts? ›

Don't Wear Contacts to Routine Eye Exams

For a routine eye exam to be effective, your eye doctor needs to be able to see how your eyes function by themselves. Having your lenses in during the exam can make it harder for them to determine the prescription you need.

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.

Do I need a separate prescription for glasses and contacts? ›

Unfortunately, you can't use your current glasses prescription for contact lenses. While both can correct your vision, your prescription for glasses differs from a contact lens prescription in many ways.

How do optometrists determine contact lens prescription? ›

Your prescription is primarily measured through refraction tests. This can be done manually or with the use of technology such as autorefractors or autokeratometers. A refraction test is a test that your eye doctor uses to determine your exact eyeglass prescription.

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.

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.

Can you get contact lenses 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.

At what age should you stop wearing contacts? ›

There is no maximum age limit to when you have to stop wearing contact lenses. You'll find, however, that your prescription requirements may change. There are certain age-related eye conditions such as presbyopia that will require you to wear multifocal contact lenses to be able to read and see.

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.

Can your eyes reject contacts? ›

Simply put, Contact Lens Intolerance (CLI) is when your eyes start to reject contact lenses, causing a number of uncomfortable side effects. Symptoms of CLI include: Dry eyes. Itchy, irritated red eyes.

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

Do contacts hurt the first time? ›

Contact lenses sometimes cause mild eye irritation during the first few days of use as you get used to the new sensation. You may feel uncomfortable that there is something in your eye or notice when your contact lenses begin to dry out. After a day or two, these symptoms typically go away.

Is it better to wear daily contacts or monthly? ›

Monthly lenses are more cost-effective than dailies if you wear contacts every day. It's also ideal for people who switch between glasses and contacts multiple times a day. You can clean and place them back again when needed, unlike with disposable lenses that must be discarded after use.

What happens if you wear contacts that are too strong? ›

Wearing a prescription that is too weak or too strong can cause: Blurry vision. Eyestrain. Fatigue.

What is the highest contact prescription? ›

The highest level of corrective power for monthly soft contact lenses is about -12 Dioptres (bear in mind that the average prescription for short sighted people is -2.00 Dioptres), and is available from both Purevision 2HD and Biofinity.

What is legally blind vision? ›

Legal blindness occurs when a person has central visual acuity (vision that allows a person to see straight ahead of them) of 20/200 or less in his or her better eye with correction. With 20/200 visual acuity, a person can see at 20 feet, what a person with 20/20 vision sees at 200 feet.

Can I shower with contacts? ›

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.

How long does it take your eyes to get used to contacts? ›

Before you leave your eye care practitioner's office, he or she will give you instructions for use and care of your new contacts. It can take between 10 to 12 days to fully adjust to your lenses. Once you begin using the lenses on your own, watch for these # side effects during the adjustment period.

Why do my contacts move when I blink? ›

Does your contact lens feel like it's moving around in your eye? It may mean your lens does not fit your eye properly. If your lens is too loose on your eye, or if the diameter or base curve is not accurate, it can cause an increased awareness of your lenses, especially when you blink.

Can contacts give you better than 20 20 vision? ›

Can contact lenses give you better than 20/20 vision? Contact lenses, like eyeglasses, can improve visual acuity beyond 20/20, with some contact lens wearers reporting acuities of 20/10 when wearing their contacts.

Why can't people with astigmatism get contacts? ›

Due to the irregular curvature of the corneas, people with astigmatism cannot use traditional spherical soft contact lenses to correct their vision, as contact lenses tend to rotate slightly with each blink. Spherical lenses on astigmatic eyes would thus shift in an out of focus each time the user blinks.

Can I wear contact lenses with lower degree? ›

It is fine to undercorrect your degree if you have reading issues. This will not affect the health of the eye. However, you may need a separate pair of contact lenses or glasses for distance if you are unable to see well for distance. It is important to have your eyes checked to see what is the problem.

Is it better to wear stronger or weaker contacts? ›

It's always better to go weaker. A bit weaker won't bother you but a bit stronger can cause eyestrain .

What can you not do while wearing contacts? ›

12 Things You Should Never Ever Do with Your Contacts
  • Sleep While Wearing Lenses. ...
  • Not Keeping The Case Clean. ...
  • Rub Your Eyes. ...
  • Touch Contacts With Dirty Hands. ...
  • Shower While Wearing Lenses. ...
  • Keeping Them On Even When Eyes Itch. ...
  • Exposing The Storage Case To A Dirty Environment. ...
  • Reuse The Solution.

Do and don'ts of contact lenses? ›

Always wash and rinse your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses or touching your eye. Use a mild non-cosmetic (oil and fragrance free) soap, and dry your hands with a lint-free cloth or tissues. Clean your lenses after removal as indicated by your eyecare practitioner. Use only the recommended solutions.

Why do my glasses feel stronger than my contacts? ›

Because eyeglasses sit some distance away from your eyes, the prescription for glasses is typically a bit stronger than for contact lenses. This is the primary difference between the two prescriptions.

Do you see better with glasses or contacts? ›

Neither glasses nor contacts are better than the other. They're two tools designed to meet the needs of different people with different preferences. You just have to consider your personal preferences and comfort levels, your lifestyle, your budget, and your aesthetics.

Which is healthier glasses or contacts? ›

Wearing glasses reduces the need to touch your eyes, which in turn reduces the likelihood of irritating your eyes or developing an eye infection. If you have dry or sensitive eyes, glasses won't exacerbate the problem like contact lenses can. Eyeglasses generally are cheaper than contact lenses over the long term.

Is it more attractive to wear glasses or contacts? ›

Several studies show that people who wear contact lenses are seen as more attractive and likable than those who wear spectacles. In one 2008 study published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychology, juries were more lenient with defendants who didn't wear glasses.


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