Finding the best contacts online comes down to factors like variety of selection, price, and customer service. See how we compare the top online retail brands like LensCrafters, Warby Parker, and others.
Around 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses to improve their vision. In 2018, approximately 22% to 30% of adults in the United States bought lenses online instead of directly from healthcare professionals or in stores.
Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers contact lenses as medical devices and regulates them for safety and effectiveness for vision correction. They should only be purchased from reputable sources and manufacturers. In this article, we’ll provide information on the top choices for online contact lens retailers.
Keep in mind that some eye doctors and people who wear contact lenses advise against using online retailers to buy contacts, citing experiences with incorrect contacts and low quality products.
Here’s what we looked for to find the best places to buy contacts online:
Solid reputations: We omitted retailers who have an extensive history of complaints across multiple areas, including customer service and product quality. We omitted those with low ratings or a history of fraudulent practices. We checked out consumer reports on sites such as Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Quality and selection: We chose sites that offer a wide variety of contact lens brands from trusted manufacturers using modern lens materials.
Ease of mind: We looked for those that offer money-back guarantees and price-match guarantees.
Even the best business is bound to have some bad reviews. However, if reviews are consistently negative, particularly about a specific issue, it can be a red flag. Also, try to look for the most recent reviews for a better picture of what to expect from the company now.
Check out sites like Trustpilot and BBB for user-submitted reviews.
Consider quality and cost
Price comparison shopping is a good idea, but some deeply discounted contact lens retailers also have bad reputations. Less expensive products can sometimes wind up costing you more in the long run, such as in contact lenses that come ripped, in unsealed boxes, or made of lower quality.
To avoid this, always choose to buy from a retailer that offers a money-back guarantee or a price-match guarantee.
It’s important to keep in mind that contact lens prescriptions are brand specific and can’t be substituted. Your eye doctor will include which brand they prescribe on your prescription.
On most sites, the best way to get a good deal is to buy in bulk. Using a monthly prescription service can be a viable way to save money on your current prescription. Choose a service that lets you opt out at any time without penalty.
Checking in with an eye doctor
Some online sites offer prescription checks. These are fine to use, if you wish to extend the time between your doctor’s visits. However, it’s very important to get your eyes checked regularly. An online prescription check doesn’t include overall eye health and won’t identify conditions such as macular degeneration or glaucoma.
Even sites with great chat features won’t offer much support when it comes to deciding what’s best for your eye health.
Buying online isn’t for everyone. If it’s not for you, consider purchasing directly through your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Some offices partner with suppliers to have your prescriptions mailed to you.
The American Optometric Society recommends an annual comprehensive eye exam for all contact lens wearers, so be sure to get checked out if you haven’t done so recently.
Buying where your vision insurance is accepted
Not every site accepts vision insurance. If you do have coverage, buy from a retailer that accepts it. This can wind up saving you hundreds of dollars annually.
Yes. When you get your eye exam, the prescriber is required to give you a copy of your contact lens prescription when the fitting is complete. It’s very important that you only use this prescription to order contacts, otherwise you can hurt your eyes.
How often should you replace your contacts?
If you aren’t wearing dailies, use fresh contact solution every night and replace your contacts every 3 months. Each type of contacts have their own guidelines, so be sure to follow them.
Is it illegal to buy contact lenses online?
No. But be sure to use your prescription when purchasing contact lenses online to ensure you’re getting the right fit for your eyes.
Is it bad to wear contacts every day?
No. But it’s important to take proper care of your contact lenses and your eyes.
There are many great websites to order contacts from, including 1-800 Contacts and ContactsDirect. When choosing the best online retailer for you, consider features like acceptance of vision insurance, selection, cost, and free shipping.
Can I order contacts online without a doctor?
A verified prescription is necessary to purchase contact lenses. You can get a prescription from an optometrist, rather than an ophthalmologist if you choose. Optometrists are vision professionals, but they’re not medical doctors. Some online retailers also supply their own opticians.
Is it safe to buy contacts online?
Yes. However, it’s important to choose a reputable retailer. You may also want to look for one that offers warranties and free returns to ensure it’s the right fit for you.
There are many online contact lens retailers, but many come up short when it comes to customer service and product guarantees.
The sites on this list have a consistent record of customer satisfaction. Many take vision insurance or offer monthly payment plans. Many also provide price-match guarantees and free shipping on returns.
Last medically reviewed on March 14, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
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