"Free" Trial Pair?

Coupons for a "free" trial pair of disposable soft contacts can be found online and in newspapers and magazines. Is it an offer that’s too good to be true?

In short, the lenses may be free, but they must be fit by a licensed doctor, who will charge for his or her services (but not the product itself).

All contact lenses are classified as medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means they cannot be dispensed in the United States without a valid prescription from an eye doctor.

Though it's true you may receive a trial pair of contact lenses with your coupon, it will depend on whether your eye doctor feels you are an acceptable candidate for contact lens wear. Today, just about anyone can wear contacts. Even conditions like dry eyescan be overcome with certains brands of contacts that are especially good for dry eyes.

Also, in order for your eye doctor to issue a prescription for contact lenses, they must first perform a contact lens fitting that includes an initial visit and follow-up visits to make sure your eyes remain comfortable and healthy over a period of time of lens wear. These service are not free — you will be expected to pay your doctor's normal and customary fee for a contact lens fitting.

So be aware that though coupons for free trial contact lenses have some value, they typically cover the cost of the trial lenses only (not associated fitting fees), and only if your eye doctor believes you are an eligible candidate to wear them.