The 1800 CONtacts Game
February 11, 2010
My Saturday visit to Park Slope Eye was my first trip to the eye doctor in seven years. I don’t have health insurance and my vision didn’t seem to change, so I didn’t see any reason to go until my glasses fell off my face and broke in half.
I wore my contacts to the appointment, and Dr. Bazan was astonished to learn that I have been buying disposable lenses online from 1800Contacts.com without a prescription for seven years. In fact, most people are surprised by this possibility, and most of my broke, uninsured, and vision-impaired friends were delighted with the news.
In fact, it’s not only possible to get contacts from 1800 without a valid rx, but also easy. I learned the secret from one of my crazier friends of all time, a guy who believed he was a reincarnation of the famously evil Aleister Crowley. This friend figured out that 1800Contacts.com is eager to ship your order quickly; they will call your doctor, but if they don’t get an immediate response they will give your prescription the benefit of the doubt and ship the contacts anyway.
For the doctor-less this means choosing a doctor from the convenient drop-down list on the website who sounds unlikely to answer their phone, or too busy to deal with the procedures of online corporations.
The first time I used this method, it worked like a charm and I was an immediate convert. The second time I switched doctors for some reason, choosing a university that I thought would fall into the too-busy category. The next day, a 1800Contacts representative called me and said that the university had no record of me as a patient. “I’m sorry, my mistake,” I said, “Please cancel that order.”
As soon as I got to a computer I re-ordered the lenses, this time choosing a doctor in the unlikely-to-answer category, a doctor with such an improbable name and address that I was cracking up as I placed the order, and I still laugh every time I log in and see his name on my account. I’ve been using this hilarious character ever since; all my order info is saved on the site so all I have to do is log-in, click “reorder,” and the contacts are at my door a few days later.
Sadly, I learned from Dr. Bazan that this mild con game came very close to doing serious harm to my health. I’ve been wearing the very first generation of Acuvue lenses. Made of plastic instead of silicone, these outdated lenses have been cutting off the oxygen to my corneas. If my glasses hadn’t broken when they did, I could have done myself serious damage. As it is, I have to stop wearing contacts altogether for at least 3 months, so I’ve ordered two new pairs of glasses (and one pair of Rx sunglasses) online for $8 each. When my time is up, I’ll finally get the long-overdue contact lens prescription and switch to a more up-to-date model of contacts. But as long as I’m uninsured, I’ll probably continue to let a few years go by between doctor visits. It’s just too cheap and easy.
I would like to thank Emily for her speaking frankly and openly about her experiences. This situation is more common than I would like to believe. Certainly more common than it has to be. A contact lens is a foreign object that can cause serious changes to your eyes, but leave your vision unaffected. Meaning you do not know if you are doing ok with your contacts unless you have an eye doc use his special equipment and expertise to determine so. An annual exam will help to ensure your eyes stay healthy.
How do you guys really feel about this situation? Have you ever been educated on why an annual contact lens exam is done? Let me hear your thoughts!
Park Slope Eye is located in Brooklyn, NY. For more info contact Justin Bazan, OD, the optometrist of Park Slope Eye, at Dr.Bazan@ParkSlopeEye.com or visit www.ParkSlopeEye.com Also, check us out on Yelp!, Twitter and FaceBook.