Why Your Contact Lens Order is Delayed

We live in the age of Amazon, where our orders can be delivered within hours of when we place them. That’s why it can be frustrating to wait days (or sometimes weeks!) for your contact lens order. Here are some common reasons your order may be delayed, and what you can do.

Waiting for your contact lenses can be such a drag!

Your prescription is expired or your doctor denied your order

US law requires a doctor’s prescription for all contact lens orders. If you don’t provide one during checkout, the contact lens retailer is required to check with your eye doctor. Usually this process only takes one business day, but long holiday weekends or issues contacting your eye doctor can add delays.

If you have a copy of your unexpired contact lens prescription, make sure to provide it during checkout. If your prescription is expired, you could try an online vision test to get a new prescription without ever leaving home.

You wear a custom contact lens

Some contact lenses, like toric multifocal lenses, must be custom made according to your prescription. The benefit of a custom contact lens is crystal clear vision, because the product is made just for you. The downside is that it can sometimes take several weeks to make and ship your contacts.

If possible, always order when you have a few lenses left so you are covered in case you lose a lens. If the manufacturing time doesn’t work with your schedule or lifestyle, consider asking your doctor to change you to a non-custom contact lens.

Toric Multifocal Contacts for Astigmatism
Toric for Presbyopia style lenses are almost always custom made, which can cause delays

The retailer is out of stock

Contact lenses may seem simple, but some popular products have tens of thousands of prescription options. When you consider how many brands there are, it means that a contact lens retailer needs to have a huge inventory to fill every order.

Sometimes a particular store will be out of your particular prescription, which means they’ll need to order it from the manufacturer. Depending on the situation, this could add a long delay to your order. If you have an unusual prescription, make sure to ask the store if they have it in stock before you order. Knowing ahead of time can save you a lot of hassle!

The manufacturer has supply chain issues

The pandemic seems to have permanently messed up supply chains, and contact lenses are no exception. Basically every major contact lens manufacturer has had some supply chain issues over the last few years.

For example, Acuvue has discontinued it’s popular TruEyes product and significantly cut back on Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism options because of raw material issues. Bausch & Lomb has ran into huge delays making their special Silsoft lenses, and Alcon has had consistent delays in producing many of their color and toric lenses. Clerio Vision went months without making new lenses.

If the manufacturer is facing production delays, there isn’t much you can do. You can check with other stores if they have it in stock, but you may be out of luck. If you find yourself in that situation, try some of these ideas.

What else can you do about a contact lens delay?

Get your doctor to add a second brand to your prescription.

Most people don’t realize their contact lens prescription is only valid for the brand written on it. You cannot legally use it to purchase any other brand of contact lenses. This can create a huge problem when your prescribed brand is delayed. It’s always a good practice to ask your doctor to add a second brand as a backup, or even completely remove the brand from your prescription so you can use it for any brand.

Try to get a free contact lens trial to hold you over

If you really just need a few lenses to hold you over, try to get a free trial. Your local eye doctor has trial lenses from the manufacturers. There are also some website that offer free trials of their products. We made a guide to getting free contact lenses. You can find that here.

Buy your lenses from a store that offers next day shipping

Some contact lens stores offer free next day shipping. These sites are usually a little more expensive, but that price includes next day shipping. Make sure to contact them to ensure they have your product in stock. If you are in a bind, these stores may come in handy!

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