The Food and Drug Administration- FDA for short- regulates which medicines, medical devices and drugs can be distributed legally in the U.S. This includes all contact lenses, whether they are prescription or non-prescription, and the consequences of buying contacts illegally can be damaging to your health.
In some cases, “off-label” or un-prescribed, over-the-counter contacts have caused serious eye diseases, infections and even blindness. Go getting contact lenses for the first time should follow the same procedure as with eye glasses- they must be prescribed by an eye doctor and the lenses themselves must be FDA approved.
Doctors can use approved lenses in an unapproved fashion, but they can’t prescribe unapproved lenses by law and the sale and distribution of the lenses must be according to FDA regulations.