If you’re like most contact lens users, you don’t spend a ton of time thinking about eyecare. That’s one of the big advantages of contacts over glasses—until you’re putting them in or taking them out, you’re not really thinking about the tiny, flexible plastics you’ve got in your eyes.

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We typically visit our local optometrist’s office to renew our prescription, but this year, that changed. The online market for prescription lenses has improved dramatically over the last decade, and it’s now fairly easy to order safe, inexpensive contacts in a matter of minutes.

Here are a few reasons to order contact lenses online (and skip the local lens place).

1. Regularly ordering contacts will help you avoid one of the most common eyecare mistakes.

We try to make our contact lens supplies last as long as possible. We’re not alone; according to the CDC, about 82.3 percent of contact lens wearers admit to keeping their contact lens cases for longer than recommended.

That’s bad news since the practice raises your chances of contracting a serious eye infection. The CDC recommends removing lenses before sleeping, showering, or swimming.

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That’s all well and good, but when we’re on our last pack of lenses, we try to avoid taking them out for any reason, since we don’t want to rush to the optometrist’s office to renew our prescription. By keeping a steady supply of fresh lenses on hand, we can avoid that issue.

By the way…

2. You can get a completely valid prescription online.

This blew our minds.

These days, you can take a fairly inexpensive online vision test to renew your contact lens prescription. It takes about 15 minutes, it’s totally legal in the United States, and it’s medically valid—after completing the test, a physician looks over the results, so it’s pretty much the same thing as going to a physical optometrist’s office.

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Granted, there are some things that an online eye test can’t tell you (for instance, whether you have an eye disease like glaucoma), but if you just need a quick refill, you’re in luck. We tried the test on 1-800-Get-Lens and found it remarkably straightforward.

3. You’re saving money, and you can actually compare brands without feeling rushed.

We’ve used Acuvue 2 for well over a decade, simply because our optometrist recommended it. We’re pretty happy with the brand, but if you’re looking for an upgrade, online shopping can help you evaluate the differences between the various products on the market.

The aforementioned 1-800-Get-Lens (go here to check them out) provides user reviews, which helped us understand the advantages and disadvantages of various lenses. Yes, they’re all just tiny pieces of plastic, but that doesn’t mean they’re identical.

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The most important factor: Contact lenses cost quite a bit less online, simply because there’s more competition. For less than $20, you can easily find a three-month supply of most products.

Maybe we’re just stating what everyone else already knows, but there’s really no reason to buy contacts from a brick-and-mortar store. Just be sure to evaluate websites carefully and avoid any that don’t ask for your prescription first.

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