How to Buy Contact Lenses in Lithuania

Related to my previous post The Optometry Racket with thanks and attribution to loyal reader David Siegel.


The image is not displaying right, but since I am from Lithuania, I can pretty much guess what it is: you can buy contact lenses from a vending machine in Lithuania. It's quite interesting that what seems normal depends so much on the context in which you grow up: imagine my horror when I was travelling in United Kingdom and I ran out of contact lenses: I didn't even think that it would cause a hassle since obviously I was expecting that the contact lenses should be sold by every optician or vending machine without prescription. In UK you also need a prescription, apparently. In Lithuania you can just say "-1.75 daily contact lenses please"

By the way, the vending machine looks like this:

Isn't this like reducing all food options to what is found in a single office snack vending machine?

The number of unique contacts must be in the thousands, with a hundred being commonly prescribed? A smaller number are probably good enough for more than half of wearers, just as "reading glasses" are good enough for most people, and require no prescription.

You are right that the number of unique lenses is huge when you take the sphere, cylinder and strength of the lens but vending machines really help, especially since optometrists aren't always right (e.g. suggesting stronger lenses when weaker ones would do). In Lithuania, you can also order lenses online or go to a pharmacy and buy them prescription-free.

Well, if you need more specialised lenses, you can always go to the opticians and they will sell you (or even order you custom made) whatever you need. But the prescription / mandatory annual checks are not required by law.

Should we then do the same thing with medicine? A vending machine for tetracycline or Oxycontin no prescription or pesky doctor visit required.

Well, quite a few drugs are sold over the counter. In some countries even in (shock! horror!) supermarkets instead of specialised drug stores!

That's true. But the question remains. Should we?

Could your inability to buy contact lenses in UK with prescription be the policy of the company that you went to? I buy on-line in the UK (for delivery overseas) and they have never asked me for a prescription from an optician, I just type it in myself.

Yes, possibly. I went to nearest Boots Opticians.

For UK readers - HEMA, the Netherlands cheap clothes/make-up/kitchen/stationery shop, now has several branches in London. It sells daily disposable lenses from minus 1 to minus 5, and maybe hard lenses too, off the shelf.

Regulatory capture by the professional class is as old as sin. Bankers got theirs. Defense industry got theirs. Farmers got theirs. Healthcare industry got theirs. No wonder the average person these days is a populist.

You mean business doesn't have our best interests at heart???

So add them to the list of everyone except your mom?

This is just an episode of a group of people with some common interest asking for favors from the government. No different than what unions, renters, pensioners, taxi drivers, poor people, etc do. The solution is to get rid of the ability of the government to bestow favors, benefits and privileges.

And don't assume that absent such pressure from interest groups that government bureaucrats would disinterestedly pursue the common good.

America, Land of the Free

America, Land of the fee*

There I fixed it for you!

Yes, even ex-Soviet states can teach America how free markets work. Or going the other way, America can teach ex-Soviet states how crony capitalism works.

It does not have to be that way. It can be fixed very easily. In France, your optometric exam has a 3-year validity.

The better easy fix is to abolish the requirement for a prescription. I should be able to buy a tiny piece of plastic to put over my eyes when and where I want. My body, my choice.

The image didn't come up on my browser. Apparently some others had the same issue, judging by the comments.

But if it is a picture of a vending machine selling contact lenses, I can tell you that this also happens in Russia. Whenever I needed another box of Acuvue lenses I would just go to a supermarket nearby and put 3000 rubles in the vending machine and I'd have them.

I can't see!! I can't see!!

"The image didn't come up on my browser."

I assumed that our blogger had suddenly developed a sense of humour. Then I saw that it was Mr Tabarrok, who may well have had a sense of humour since childhood for all I know.

FWIW, Lithuania has state-funded national health care.


Socialist bastards!

P.S. If you enquire carefully you'll probably find that it's the taxpayers who are funding it.


When my wife went to the state hospital for a weekend I had to bring her food, water, even toilet paper. I went one time with a lump on my hand and they told me to come back in six months to see if it grew. 6 months was the first available next visit option. I went to a private clinic instead.

is that in Lithuania or the USA?

In the USA they’ll provide all the TP you want.

at $2,500 per roll

If You need added sales, or You simply want to grow Your organisation

Our influencer platform is constructed for You.

We link You to the influencers whose objective is to get to a target market.
Promotion is based on making use of influencers one-of-a-kind web links or sharing material straight to social media.

Meeting Your business means a bit of investment providing growth.
It is all about partnership.

We take Your service to a whole brand-new degree, and more crucial is, we are doing that with You.

Together we can do more.
Learn more:

Sincerely yours,


Sent out from my apple iphone

bear in mind.
To Unsubscribe here:

-2624 Zj06-53277363

Join the racket. Optometrists could pay to advertise on this site.

Notice that the vending machine says: "Bausch and Lomb" If you do some research you will find that you can also buy the same contact lenses online.

As mentioned earlier, technology changes (perhaps for contacts) but regulations are slow to change.

If it is simply regulatory capture, Bausch and Lomb probably has just as much voice as the local optometrist.

Notwithstanding all of the above comments, apparently you can buy these soft contact lenses in the mail from the manufacturer:

Do you want to go to a vending machine or your mailbox?

Am I the only one who thinks it would be amusing if unlicensed Lithuanian contact lenses were later discovered to make people cross-eyed, like in "The Jerk"?

What about astigmatism?

I usually order my astigmatic lenses online in Lithuania. You just have to enter the specific lense parameters. Alternatively, if I can't get wait a day or so for delivery, I can go to any opticians, and they usually have something close enough.

You pompous people want everything for Free or deregulated because of your disregard for your own personal health in place of vanity and money.
Contacts Lenses are Class III medical devices that can do permanent damage to your eyes and in some cases leave you blind!
In America people have lawyers, and they would love to sue the manufacturer or the prescribing doctor for a bad fit or a "close enough power" or whomever has the deepest pockets.
The annual exam is a necessity to make sure the patient is not abusing their contact lens wear schedule and doing damage to their eyes that cannot be reversed.
I had to read an article that claimed Eye Exams were a scam, and that because they were born with an eye condition, the exams and glasses should be free.
I was born identifying myself as a billionaire, not my fault I was born that way, where's my 💰?!
This sense of "entitlement" is eating away at the reality of things in the Real World (not the show). You are not entitled to anything, especially if it has to be customized for your particular needs and unique anatomical features (somethings you cannot get online), we study hard to have the ability to create, measure, diagnose and prescribe contact lenses and glasses.
Perhaps I'm biased because I had to go to college and pass two national exams, State Boards as well as running a practice down here in Miami, nevertheless the fact that people are putting price before health and quality gets under my skin.
Give up your daily vanilla mocha almond milk latte with coconut milk whipped cream and invest in the health of your eyes before you need a service dog to guide you around and read those coffee menues for you! There's an old Cuban saying:
"Lo que se compra barato hoy, se paga caro mañana!"
English translation:
"What you buy cheap today, will cost you a lot more tomorrow!"

BREAKING: Cartel member unsurprisingly supports the cartel.

You can report violators here:

Comments for this post are closed