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Around 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses to improve their vision. In 2018, approximately 22 to 30 percent of adults in the United States bought lenses online instead of directly from healthcare professionals or in stores.

The reasons for this vary but include:

Are contact lenses medical devices?

Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers contact lenses 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.

Best for accepting insurance

1-800 Contacts

  • Insurance accepted? yes
  • Free shipping and returns? yes

1-800 Contacts was an early entry into the online contact lens market. They’re still one of the largest sellers, offering an extensive selection of brands and contact lens types, including dailies and trifocals.

1-800 Contacts offers a best price guarantee for any of their U.S.-based competitors. If you see a better price elsewhere, initiate an online chat on their website. They’ll verify the lower price, and reduce their cost accordingly.

Once your order is on file, your contacts will ship on the day you order them. Standard shipping is free and takes 5 to 7 business days. If you need them sooner, rush shipping is available.

They accept vision insurance. Their in-network insurance partners include:

  • Anthem
  • United Healthcare Vision
  • Davis Vision
  • Spectera

If you have an expired prescription, you can update it by taking an online vision exam for $20. Note that this vision exam doesn’t take the place of an annual comprehensive exam, however.

1-800 Contacts also offers 24/7 online support, plus free returns and exchanges.

The 1-800 Contacts app for iOS, which features an express prescription renewal exam, consistently gets 5-star ratings from users.

Pros

  • best price guarantee
  • low cost online vision exam is available
  • 24/7 online support
  • free returns and exchanges
  • accepts vision insurance

Cons

  • many negative reviews on BBB and Trustpilot
  • negative reviews often mention unprofessional customer service

Best for specialized lenses

ContactsDirect

  • Insurance accepted?yes
  • Free shipping and returns?yes

ContactsDirect gets high marks from consumers for running sales on a regular basis. They also send out coupons regularly to existing customers, and offer discounts on contacts purchased as an annual supply. A 90-day 1-pack of Acuvue Moist drops from $76.99 to $67.61 with the annual supply option.

They accept most major vision insurance plans, including:

  • Aetna
  • Blue View Vision
  • EyeMed
  • Humana
  • Superior Vision

ContactsDirect carries specialized lenses, including:

They make it super easy for you to shop by brand or by lens type.

Once your order is verified, your contacts will ship out free via standard delivery, to arrive within 7 to 10 business days. Rush deliveries range from 3to 5 days for $11.99, or 1 to 2 days for $19.99.

Pros

  • offers a wide range of specialized lenses
  • standard shipping is free
  • takes most major vision insurance plans

Cons

  • doesn’t ship internationally
  • have to buy in bulk to get the best price

Best full line of eyewear

GlassesUSA.com

  • Insurance accepted?yes
  • Free shipping and returns?yes

GlassesUSA.com carries a full line of eyewear, including contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses, and blue-light-blocking glasses.

Their contact lens category includes your choice of:

  • dailies
  • weeklies
  • monthlies
  • bifocals
  • multifocals
  • single vision lenses

They offer a price-match guarantee, 100 percent money-back guarantee, plus free shipping and returns. If cost is an issue, you can pay for your contacts in three interest-free installments.

GlassesUSA.com works with a limited number of in-network vision insurance companies, including United Healthcare.

Standard shipping is free and takes 5 to 10 business days. If you need your contacts yesterday, express shipping will get them to you in 1 business day for $12.95.

Pros

  • large selection of glasses and major contact lens brands
  • offers a price-match guarantee
  • has a money-back guarantee
  • free shipping is available
  • has lots of positive reviews for customer service and affordability

Cons

  • doesn’t carry every major brand of contact lenses
  • has a limited number of in-network insurers

Best for quality customer service

Lens.com

  • Insurance accepted?no
  • Free shipping and returns?yes

Lens.com was established in 1995 and is currently known for having an extensive selection of contact lens brands at wholesale or near wholesale prices. To get the best price on contacts here, you’ll have to log into the Lens.com rebate center to print out and mail in a rebate form. Visa rebate cards are mailed back.

Some brands they sell include:

  • Acuvue
  • Bausch + Lomb
  • Biofinity
  • SofLens
  • Vertex

You can purchase weekly disposables or monthly disposables in single packs or in bulk. Lens.com prices are structured so that the more you buy, the lower the cost.

The company tends to get high marks for customer service, an easy return process, and delivery speed. However, shipping isn’t free. You’ll pay $9.95 for standard shipping of up to 5 to 7 business days, and $24.95 for FedEx Next Day. International shipping is available for $24.95 to $39.95

There have been complaints, but mostly about their gift card rebate program and higher than expected service charge fees.

Pros

  • carries a large selection of contact lenses
  • online vision test is available
  • discounts available for bulk purchases
  • ships internationally

Cons

  • customer complaints note hidden fees, shipping and processing costs, and the Visa card rebate program

Best for reusable contact lenses

LensCrafters

  • Insurance accepted?yes
  • Free shipping and returns?yes

LensCrafters carries disposable lenses and is one of the only online retailers with conventional contact lenses, which are contacts designed for reuse for several months. Keep in mind that LensCrafters offers only one conventional lens: Optima 38/SP by Bausch & Lomb.

You can buy eyeglasses and sunglasses here as well.

They carry a broad range of products from the leading brands of contact lenses, including specialty lenses. These include:

  • MyDay Toric
  • SofLens Daily for Astigmatism
  • 1-Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal

They offer discounts for AAA members and for AARP members. They also accept vision insurance from most major plans, including:

  • Humana
  • Aetna
  • EyeMed

One thing that sets LensCrafters apart is their 1,000-plus brick-and-mortar stores. If you live near a LensCrafters store, you can shop online and pick up your lenses as soon as your prescription is verified. You can also go to a LensCrafters store for free eyewear fittings or adjustments.

LensCrafters offers a free green shipping option. Green shipping is designed around eco-friendly technologies and policies geared toward reducing the environmental impact of global trade. Green shipping takes 7 days.

LensCrafters also offer free ground shipping, which takes 7 business days, and 1-day shipping for $9.99. All shipping types require an additional 1 to 2 days of processing for contact lenses.

Pros

  • carries conventional and specialty lenses
  • offers an eco-friendly shipping option
  • combines in-person experience with online shopping for maximum convenience

Cons

  • only sells one style of conventional contact lenses

Best for stylish glasses and sunglasses

Warby Parker

  • Insurance accepted?yes
  • Free shipping and returns?yes

Warby Parker is best known for selling stylish eyeglasses and sunglasses online and in retail stores at very cost-effective price points.

They also carry a nice selection of contact lenses online, including their own brand of low cost daily lenses: Scout by Warby Parker. Scout costs $46.95 for a box of 90 daily lenses. A comparably sized box of Acuvue Oasys 1-Day goes for $82.45 here.

If you’re interested in Scout, it’s best to get your eye exam done at Warby Parker to ensure that the prescription is done correctly for the brand.

Warby Parker sells daily, biweekly, and monthly lenses from brands such as:

  • Acuvue
  • Bausch + Lomb
  • Air Optix

Contact lenses ship free.

If cost is an issue, you can set up interest-free monthly payments for your lenses by selecting Affirm at checkout.

You can also use the highly rated Warby Parker app for iOS to shop for contacts and eyeglasses.

With Warby Parker, shipping is free.

Pros

  • offers trendy, low cost eyewear
  • free shipping
  • interest-free monthly payment plan is available

Cons

  • doesn’t carry a full range of contact lens brands

15% off your first purchase.

Best for discounted pricing

ContactLensKing.com

  • Insurance accepted?no
  • Free shipping and returns?yes

ContactLensKing.com carries popular brands of contact lenses from manufacturers, such as:

  • Alcon
  • Bausch + Lomb
  • CooperVision

Popular brands of daily disposable lenses start as low as $32.95

They get superior marks from users for customer service, their 100 percent money-back guarantee, and everyday discounted pricing.

They carry specialty lenses, including multifocals for astigmatism, plus daily, weekly, or monthly disposables.

ContactLensKing.com will ship to foreign and domestic addressees. However, shipping isn’t free, and they don’t provide a ballpark shipping time for orders on their website. If you fax them your prescription, they’ll be able to speed up your order.

A prescription for contact lenses involves more than simply knowing the optical power that corrects for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Knowing the right contact lens material and size for your eyes can help prevent eye discomfort and other eye concerns.

Pros

  • ships worldwide
  • offers discounted pricing
  • has a 100 percent money-back guarantee
  • gets high marks for customer service

Cons

  • doesn’t provide clarity around estimated shipping times
  • some customers complain about high shipping and processing fees

Best for a large selection

Walmart Contacts

  • Insurance accepted? no
  • Free shipping and returns? yes

Walmart carries a fairly full range of contact lens brands, including:

  • Acuvue
  • Biofinity
  • UltraFlex

Contact lenses are comparably priced to most other large online retailers. A 90-day supply of 1-day Acuvue Moist retails for $64.86.

Standard shipping is free and takes 5 to 7 days, based on the prescription verification process. Expedited 3- to 4-day shipping is available for $11.95.

A subscription service is available with the interval and shipping schedule of your choice.

Pros

  • carries a large selection of brand-name contacts
  • includes free shipping

Cons

  • doesn’t accept vision insurance

Online retailerFree standard shippingDiscounted pricing/low cost options availableAccepts vision insurance
1-800 Contactsyesyesyes
ContactsDirectyesyesyes
GlassesUSA.comyesyesyes
Lens.comnoyesno
LensCraftersyesyesyes
Warby Parkeryesyesyes
ContactLensKing.comnoyesno
Walmart Contactsyesyesno

Check the seller’s reputation

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.

Buying in batches or subscriptions

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.

Do you need a prescription to order contacts?

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.

Learn some best practices for contact lens care.

What is the best website to order contacts from?

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.