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Buying contacts online can be convenient, but many companies have mixed reputations online. The best rated places to order online include WebEyeCare and ContactLensKing.
This article looks at various brands that sell contact lenses. It also discusses the safety and risks of buying contact lenses online and what a person can do to save money on their purchase.
- Best overall: WebEyeCare | Skip to review
- Best for single orders: Warby Parker | Skip to review
- Best for specialty contacts: 1-800 Contacts | Skip to review
- Best for flexible delivery: ContactsDirect | Skip to review
- Best for discounts: ContactLensKing | Skip to review
- Best for free shipping: Walmart Contacts | Skip to review
- Best for positive online reviews: GlassesUSA | Skip to review
To purchase contacts online, a person needs to:
- Get an up-to-date prescription from an eye doctor. In some cases, individuals can use an online retailer’s doctor finder service or complete an online eye exam. The
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)emphasizes that it is important to have an up-to-date prescription and that people should not use lenses from older prescriptions. Online eye exams do not replace in-person eye tests.
- Visit an online retailer offering contacts. In some cases, a person may want to choose a retailer that offers specialty contacts that help with certain conditions. Alternatively, they may want to select generic contacts, as they are often cheaper than name brands.
- Select the contacts to purchase. Typically, a person will have a prescription that specifies a particular type or brand of contact lens. While purchasing online, people should select the appropriate brand and lens type and provide their prescription information.
- Complete the online purchase and upload a copy of the prescription. Some companies allow people to pay with insurance or payment plans. Others provide an invoice that an individual would then use to submit a claim with their insurance company.
Buyers should note that the number of contacts per box, price, subscription services, and financing options vary greatly between brands and retailers.
Learn about whether Medicare covers contact lenses.
There are many considerations for those looking to buy contacts online. These factors include:
Prices will vary greatly between brands and online retailers. A person should review the costs of lenses via different sites to see if they can find a price that suits their budget.
There are many different types of contact lenses. Daily lenses are lenses that people use and discard every day, while a person wears long-term lenses for longer periods, for example, every 2 weeks or monthly. The lenses someone selects can affect the price and the number of boxes they need to order.
With some companies, such as Warby Parker, a person can choose a subscription service that delivers a set supply every month. Other retailers may offer a 1-year or 6-month up-front service and send the whole supply at once.
A contact lens prescription usually specifies a specific brand or fit, so people may wish to speak with their doctor about choosing lenses from a different brand.
A person needs to consider two main factors regarding brand reputation. The first focuses on the contact lens brand: Does it generally receive good or bad reviews from other customers? An individual may wish to explore reviews of individual brands, many of which feature on sellers’ websites.
The second consideration is the retailer. People can find out more information about lens retailers with the following questions:
- Do they provide the contacts at a reasonable price?
- Do they have good customer service?
- Are reviews generally positive?
- Are they in good standing with third-party organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
Also, people should be wary of any firm that supplies contact lenses that do not exactly match the customer’s prescription.
A doctor may be able to offer specific recommendations for reliable brands and products.
A person can work with their eye doctor to choose an option that is safe and works best for their prescription and eye health.
For some, disposable contacts may work best, while others can use long-term contacts with no issues. People should look for contacts that will best fit their needs.
A note on who should not use contact lenses
It is important to note that contacts are not for everyone. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAOO), a person should reconsider using them if they are:
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.
The table below compares each of the brands in this article.
|Price||Types||BBB rating||Trustpilot rating|
|$37–$169.99||daily, 1–2 weekly, monthly, color, astigmatism, bifocal and multifocal||4.41 out of 5 stars||4 out of 5 stars|
|Warby Parker||$55–$156 per pack of 90 lenses||daily, biweekly, monthly, toric, multifocal and bifocal, color||1.49 out of 5 stars||2.4 out of 5 stars|
|1-800 Contacts||$28.99–$179.98||disposable-daily, disposable 1–2 weekly, monthly, soft and vial, toric, multifocal and bifocal, color enhancing||1.79 out of 5 stars||2.9 out of 5 stars|
|$31.99–$163.99||daily, biweekly, monthly, single vision, toric, bifocal and multifocal, color||1.19 out of 5 stars||4 out of 5 stars|
|ContactLensKing||$23.75–$139.95||toric, silicone hydrogel, monthly, daily, color, bifocal, 1–2 weekly, gas permeable, novelty, vials||4.8 out of 5 stars||4.6 out of 5 stars|
|Walmart Contacts||$14–$165 per box||daily, 1–2 weeks disposable, 1–3 months disposable, vial, toric, colored and tinted, bifocal and multifocal||no profile||no profile|
|GlassesUSA||$30–$185.54||daily, monthly, weekly, colored, toric, multifocal||1.63 out of 5||4.4 out of 5 stars|
Medical News Today chooses contact lens retailers based on the following factors, where possible:
- Prescription: MNT chooses companies that require a valid prescription to order contact lenses.
- Duration of wear: MNT chooses companies that offer a range of contact lenses suitable for daily, weekly, or monthly wear.
- Brands: MNT selects contacts retailers that offer a wide selection of popular brands.
- Price: MNT chooses brands that offer contact lenses at prices suitable for various budgets.
- Reputation: MNT chooses brands with positive reputations online based on Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau (BBB) review scores.
Below, we look at how people can save money on their contact lenses.
- Bulk buying: Buying a lot of contact lenses at once may help reduce some costs. People may opt to use a company’s membership or subscription service that offers regular delivery, discounts, or free shipping.
- Getting insurance coverage: Individuals working with a low budget may want to buy their contact lenses from a provider that accepts insurance. If a company does not accept insurance payments directly, they can forward their invoice to their health insurance company for reimbursement. In some cases, customers may also choose to pay with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
- Using coupons: Shopping browser extensions or coupons from a company directly may open up opportunities to use coupon codes or receive cash-back rewards.
Is it cheaper to buy contact lenses online?
Buying contact lenses online can be cheaper than buying them from a doctor’s office, but it may not always be the most affordable option.
Many companies offer discounts, coupons, or subscriptions, allowing customers to save money and benefit from free shipping if they order regularly.
However, eye care professionals state that a person may have to consider some disadvantages to ordering contacts online. For instance, there is a risk that people will order from unreputable online retailers that may offer the opportunity to purchase eyewear products without consulting a doctor. They may also sell damaged products.
Additionally, a person may not be able to take advantage of the “open box policy” that many eye doctors offer if they buy online. This means a person can exchange open and closed boxes of lenses for free if their prescription changes.
Routine eye exams can help a person identify any eye conditions early, help them maintain their eyesight, and even improve their overall health.
People should also keep up with routine eye exams to ensure that their lenses fit properly, as improperly fitting lenses can pose a risk to the eyes. They may cause scratches or blood vessels to grow into the corneas.
The table below outlines how often a person should have their eyes tested based on their age.
|Age||Eye test frequency|
|0–2||once at 6–12 months|
|3–5||at least once|
|6–17||once a year at ages 8, 10, 12, and 15|
|18–39||at least once every 2 years|
|40–64||at least once every 2 years|
|65 and over||at least once a year|
A person should have more frequent eye exams if they are at risk of vision issues, such as people with a family history of eye disease, people who use contact lenses, people with diabetes, or people who have had eye injuries or surgery.
If a person has eye pain, blurred vision, floaters, or other changes to their vision, they should schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. They should also contact a doctor if their contact lenses irritate their eyes or cause pain.
Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about buying contact lenses online.
What is the best place to buy contacts online?
The best place to buy contacts online will depend on the type of lenses a person needs, their budget, and whether they would like to use health insurance. The most highly rated online contact lens retailers include WebEyeCare and ContactLensKing.
Is 1-800 Contacts safe?
BBB gives 1-800 Contacts an A+ grade and an average customer rating of 1.84 out of 5 stars. The company sells legitimate contacts from popular brands. To make sure the company is right for them, people can read online reviews before using 1-800 Contacts.
Is it a good idea to order contacts online?
It can be safe and convenient to buy prescription contact lenses online. However, there is a risk of receiving incorrect orders, having orders get lost in the mail, and mistakes occurring during the prescription reading process.
People ordering contacts online must have a current prescription and ensure the company has a high customer rating from Trustpilot and BBB. People should not use companies that do not require individuals to have a current prescription.
Can I trust online contact lenses?
Generally, purchasing contact lenses online is safe. However, there may be some companies selling fake contact lenses.
- purchases from a supplier they are familiar with and know is reliable
- requests the written patient information from the manufacturer
- is aware of any attempts to substitute a different brand from their regular one
- ensures the company provides details such as brand name, lens name, power (sphere, cylinder, axis), diameter, base curve, and peripheral curves
A person should not accept a substituted brand unless it has approval from an eye doctor.
Buying contacts online can be convenient, although many retailers have a mixed reputation online.
Insurance coverage, price, and a person’s vision needs are important factors to consider when purchasing contact lenses online.