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1-800 Contacts offers a wide variety of contact brands and options, plus eye exams to renew prescriptions and order new contacts. However, it may not be suitable for everyone.

This article discusses 1-800 Contacts, how to use its eye exam, and the benefits and drawbacks of this service.

1-800 Contacts offers a digital eye exam called “Express Exam.” People can take this eye exam in any location using the company website. 1-800 Contacts claims it takes 10 minutes to complete.

It also states a person can save $130 compared to visiting a doctor’s office for an eye exam.

Individuals who find accessing in-person eye exams difficult due to finances, time, or location, may find this service more suitable.

However, this is not a comprehensive eye exam, and it should not entirely replace in-person eye exams with an eye doctor.

The 1-800 Contacts eye exam is a service the company offers to people with expired contacts prescriptions or individuals requiring an updated prescription. It is not possible to use this service without a previous prescription.

In addition, it is not suitable for people who only wear glasses, have eye conditions, or individuals who have had laser eye surgery.

Learn more about the difference between glasses and contact lenses.

1-800 Contacts has accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which gives the company an A+ grade. Reviewers on the BBB website rate 1-800 Contacts 1.96 stars out of 5.

Several customers stated they received the wrong order and had to return their purchases. However, most users reported that 1-800 Contacts offered to correct the errors and, in some cases, provided discounts on future purchases.

Positive reviews state that the service is fast and efficient and that the customer service team is friendly.

The company also has mixed reviews on TrustPilot, with almost equal numbers of five- and one-star ratings. Positive reviews mention that 1-800 Contacts offers good service and a convenient way to shop for contacts at a lower price.

However, negative reviews state that its service is inconvenient, shipping is slow, and customers have received incorrect orders.

Learn more about 1-800 Contacts.

1-800 Contacts sells a large selection of contact lenses from different brands online. To order, a person needs a valid contact lens prescription.

Once individuals select the brand and type of contacts they require, they need to upload their prescription and health insurance information. The company then processes the customer’s health insurance and provides any available discounts at the checkout stage.

Finally, a person needs to enter their billing and shipping information, where they can use their Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for their items.

Below, we explain how the 1-800 Contacts eye exam works in detail.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Overview

The 1-800 Contacts eye exam involves a licensed optometrist to assess a person’s sight. However, this service is not a comprehensive exam — individuals requiring a full eye exam should schedule one with an eye doctor.

Taking the test requires a person to go through several small steps, including:

  1. Understanding the requirements to make sure they have everything ready for the exam.
  2. Checking their eligibility to determine if the exam is right for the person’s needs.
  3. Taking the test.
  4. Receiving the test results and contacts prescription, if necessary.

The company claims the overall process should not take longer than 10 minutes.

At the time of publishing, the service costs $20.

Requirements

To use the online exam, a person needs to wear their contact lenses and have the following items ready:

  • a computer or smartphone
  • driver’s license or credit card to calibrate the screen
  • their previous prescription

Eligibility

Before taking the test, a person needs to answer a series of eye health-related questions, which help determine if they are eligible for the service’s eye exam. If 1-800 Contacts states this service is unsuitable, individuals should contact an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

If a person is eligible for the company’s eye exam, they will need to take pictures of their eyes. The doctor assessing the exam will use the images to look for signs of eye irritation.

Taking the test

The vision test requires an individual to stand 10 feet away from their device. Similar to an in-person examination, the device will display letters for them to read aloud.

The doctor takes note of the answers and briefs the individual on their results.

Results and prescriptions

The final step involves a person entering information from their current contact lens prescription. This information should be about the contact lenses a person wore during the exam.

The company states it makes new prescriptions available within 24 hours.

The following are some potential advantages and disadvantages of the eye exam service from 1-800 Contacts.

Pros

  • The service is convenient. A person can take the test anywhere.
  • The test takes 10 minutes.
  • Customers do not need to make an appointment to take the test.
  • The test is affordable at $20.
  • The company sends new contact lens prescriptions within 24 hours.
  • A wide range of contact lens brands is available.

Cons

  • The test is not a comprehensive eye health exam.
  • A person needs to have an existing contact lens prescription to take the test.
  • It is unsuitable for people who wear glasses.
  • People with eye conditions should not take this test.
  • A person needs to have a smartphone or computer with a microphone and camera.
  • The test is not a suitable replacement for in-person eye exams with an eye doctor.

The table below shows how 1-800 Contacts compares to some of its top competitors.

Offers contactsOffers glass lensesOffers digital eye examsDigital eye exam costAccepts vision insurance
1-800 Contactsyesnoyes$20yes
Lensablyesyesyes$25no
Lens.comyesnoyes$30no
Costcoyesnonoservice not availableyes

People looking for an online prescription renewal service may wish to consider offerings from similar companies. The following are other online eye exams that can check a person’s vision, but note that they do not replace comprehensive exams:

  • Lensabl: This company uses Visibly to test a person’s eyesight and provide a renewed prescription in 24 hours.
  • CVS: The pharmacy’s website offers a similar online prescription renewal service that allows people to update their current prescriptions.
  • ContactsDirect: Offers a similar eye exam service to 1-800 Contacts. However, only people in certain states are eligible for the service.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 11 million people over the age of 12 years in the United States need corrective lenses. The eye exam service from 1-800 Contacts may offer a suitable solution for those with basic prescription needs and not at risk of developing more severe eye conditions.

However, one of the main disadvantages of this service is that it cannot detect early signs of conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts. A comprehensive vision examination can check for eye conditions that can lead to blindness, including:

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends all people undergo regular comprehensive eye examinations. Adults aged up to 64 years should have a thorough eye examination at least once every 2 years or yearly if they are at high risk of eye conditions. Those aged 65 years and older should have an exam at least once a year or sooner.

People who wear contact lenses are at higher risk of developing eye conditions. The CDC states that individuals who wear their contact lenses for too long or do not care for their lenses correctly are at higher risk of keratitis, a painful condition where the cornea becomes inflamed. In severe cases, this condition can lead to blindness or the need for a corneal transplant.

The AOA states that, in addition to wearing contact lenses, the following are signs that a person is at high risk of developing eye conditions that can lead to blindness:

  • having other underlying health conditions
  • belonging to certain ethnicities
  • having a personal or family history of eye conditions
  • having functional vision in one eye only
  • high or progressive refractive errors
  • injury or surgery to the eyes
  • other eye-related health concerns

Individuals should not use the 1-800 Contacts test service to replace a comprehensive eye examination. The company’s eye exam can only update a contact lens prescription and cannot diagnose any eye conditions.

Protecting eye and vision health

The CDC recommends people take the following measures to maintain their eye health:

  • eating a nutritious diet
  • wearing sunglasses when outdoors
  • reviewing their family eye history with their doctor
  • resting eyes regularly when using computers, phones, or tablets
  • having regular eye exams
  • touching their contacts with clean hands only
  • wearing eye protection
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • maintaining safe blood sugar levels

Additionally, individuals can reduce the risk of developing eye infections with the following steps when looking after their contact lenses:

  • never sleeping with contact lenses in the eyes
  • thoroughly washing hands before and after touching the eyes or contact lenses
  • keeping contact lenses away from water
  • cleaning contact lenses with fresh solution each day

If a person believes their eyesight may have changed, they should see an eye doctor for an examination as soon as possible.

1-800 Contacts eye exams can be advantageous for people who wear contact lenses.

However, there are many reasons why any individual would want to consult a doctor, particularly an optometrist or ophthalmologist, on a regular basis.

In particular, digital eye exams are not comprehensive and cannot detect eye diseases. They cannot perform tests that require eye drops, and they do not use equipment that can magnify the retina and other parts of the eye to help detect serious eye conditions such as glaucoma or cancer.

If a person experiences any of the following symptoms due to their contact lenses, they should stop using them and contact a doctor. These symptoms include:

Below, we answer some common questions about 1-800 Contacts.

Does 1-800 Contacts check with your doctor?

1-800 Contacts uses its own doctors to check a person’s prescription and its validity. It also offers an online eye exam for existing contact wearers.

How long does 1-800 Contacts take to review an exam?

1-800 Contacts writes that it reviews and provides prescriptions within 24 hours.

Is 1-800 Contacts prescription-free?

A person needs a prescription to order contact lenses from 1-800 Contacts. Anyone who wants an eye exam from 1-800 Contacts also needs a current prescription.

Does 1-800 Contacts give prescriptions?

A licensed 1-800 Contacts optometrist can provide prescriptions if necessary after a person submits results from their 1-800 Contacts eye exam.

1-800 Contacts offers an online eye exam for people to renew their contacts prescription. The service takes 10 minutes and provides results within 24 hours from a licensed optometrist. Once individuals receive their updated prescriptions, they can purchase new contacts.

Although this service from 1-800 Contacts is convenient, people should not use this exam to replace a comprehensive eye examination. The test cannot check a person’s eye health or diagnose any eye conditions.