Online Contact Lenses vs a Bespoke Service

31st August 2021
Glittery eye ball

Contact lenses you can trust 

At Dipple and Conway, we are expert hands when it comes to contact lenses.  We have been helping our clients to find the right lenses, for their particular needs, since the 1960s. That’s over 50 years of experience and technology has certainly changed over that time!

A brief history of contact lenses

The initial concept behind the contact lens was actually said to originate from Italian innovator Leonardo Da Vinci. His sketches dated 1508 named the “Codex of the Eye”, indicate that he believed it would be possible to correct vision by utilising the refraction of light, by placing the cornea in direct contact with water. Hence the name “contact” lens, as the lens makes direct contact with your eye.

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Following a few more attempts, including one that involved Scientist Thomas Young trying to attach a lens to his eye using wax (yes you read correctly!), British scientist, John Herschel created the concepts for the first glass contact lens, closer to those we recognise today. He suggested making moulds of the eye that could then be used to create individual lenses. It’s not clear who created the first glass contact lens as both FA Mueller and AE Flick have both been listed as inventors, having fabricated a glass lens that covered the full front of the eye.

Whilst rigid versions such as RGP lenses are still available, and still have an important role to play in correcting vision in certain cases, the original glass lenses were not the most practical of options as they were heavy and uncomfortable for the user.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the soft, comfortable lenses closer to those we now recognise were established. In the 1970s, Bausch and Lomb released the first commercially available soft hydrogel lenses, a material which contains up to 60% water. These provided more flexibility and comfort for the user and reduced dryness of the eye. 

Soon after, during the 1980s, daily disposable contact lenses were released. Thanks to their disposable nature, they offered a hygienic and comfortable eyewear solution.

Contact lenses of today

Today, of course, there is a huge range of contact lenses available, many created to specifically target specialist eye conditions.

Daily lenses take the majority share of the market, with those favouring the flexibility,  convenience and comfort they offer. Daily lenses are a great option for those who suffer with seasonal allergies and dry eyes as they are worn for a shorter periods, therefore there is less build up or allergens

Our team specialise in a range of contact lenses, including (but not exclusive to) Monovision lenses, Toric lenses, RGP which are tailormade, hard lenses for better optical performance and Dream Lenses which are worn as you sleep to help correct certain conditions over a period of time.

In recent years, contact lenses have become readily available online. Just like so many other products on the market, there is often a cheaper alternative available online. In many instances, this is all well and good. When it comes to your eyes however, as eye health professionals, we don’t believe this to be the case.

Online contacts, whilst appealing, are made cheaply in order to be able to reach their price point. That can come at a sacrifice, meaning the materials and quality are not up to scratch. 

You shouldn’t be putting anything less than perfect near your eyes, they are far too important. In addition to the quality of manufacture, ordering online means you have no one checking your eyes for current conditions or fitting requirements. We supply specialist lenses to suit your eyes and needs, despite public assumption, contact lenses are not one size fits all. 

So why visit us, over ordering your contact lenses online?

Experience and expertise guarantees that when you order contact lenses at one of our specialist eye care branches in Diss, Norwich or Swaffham, you can rest assured that thanks to our precision testing and fitting, you will leave knowing you’re wearing the right lens for you.

We will guide you through testing, choosing the right lenses and show you how to insert and remove your lenses safely and with ease.


One thing we have observed is that when ordering contact lenses online, many people don’t realise that your contact lens prescription actually varies from that of your glasses prescription. You need a separate test for contact lenses! So if you have already ordered contacts online using a glasses prescription it is time to see us for a contact lens test

During our contact lens testing, our optometrists will perform corneal mapping. We will capture a 3D image of your cornea which is sent to the lens manufacturer, allowing precise creation and fitting of the lens for each of your eyes.

Fitting and learning to insert your lenses 

Our team will take the time to ensure your new lenses are the perfect fit.

To prevent eye damage, you must have your lenses professionally fitted. Wearing ill fitting or bad quality lenses is detrimental to the future of your eyes and can cause long term issues such as ulcers or corneal conditions. Once your contacts are ready for collection, if you are a first time contact lens wearer, or would like some additional support we will guide you through how to insert and care for your lenses.

Remember, wearing them shouldn’t be painful or cause discomfort. If you are struggling to insert or wear contact lenses, contact your local Dipple and Conway branch. We are always happy to offer advice and guidance.


We take pride in offering the Dipple and Conway experience to all of our clients, which includes the highest level of client care, a full consultation experience and a personal touch, meaning that should you have any questions or problems we are always here for you.

Above all, the team here at Dipple and Conway love helping our existing clients and meeting new ones. You can book your appointment online today, over the phone or in person.

Posted by Dipple Conway

"I’m very impressed by the friendly and helpful attitude of the staff at Dipple and Conway, and by the very competent and professional service my optometrist provided. It really is a pleasure to ones eyes tested there."

Mike Lindsay
Optician Awards Finalist Investor in People The College of Optometrists British Contact Lens Association Association of Dispensing Opticians Best Family Business 2020

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