I've recently started ordering lenses from Contact Lens King and AC lens. US law classifies contacts as medical devices, and as such one must have a current valid prescription to order. Some people are surprised to find that even for simple color lenses (planos) you must have a prescription. Of course there are always people willing to disregard the law in order to make a buck. My twelve year old son (at the time) bought himself some very cool red contacts at an Anime convention. When he got home and showed them to me, I immediately confiscated them and gave my dh what for. What was he thinking? So as usual, I get to be the fun-sucker, and break the news that even though he had bought the lenses with his own money, he had to take them back. That was a year and a half ago.
Last week, we found out my son has a huge astigmatism that he didn't have last year. I have no idea what those contacts could have done to his eyes, and I am so glad we never had to find out. I think he has finally forgiven me, though.
I started this thread thinking about mail order contacts, but I'm interested in the topic of vision care in general. First of all, why is it so expensive? How many people don't have the money or insurance to afford annual visits to an eye specialist? I know I "cheat" a little by stocking up on lenses so I can delay my exams by a year or two. The doctor always slaps me on the wrist. But who can really do this $400/year on eyes thing?