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Waldo is a direct-to-consumer online eyewear retailer. They currently sell blue-light-filtering glasses, eye drops, as well as their brand of contact lenses.
Waldo claims to offer contacts that are of comparable quality to major, brands but at a cheaper price. We’ll break down these two claims, so you can decide if it’s really worth spending the money on Waldo contacts.
Waldo is advertised as a fresh and innovative way of purchasing contact lenses, contact lens accessories, and nonprescription blue-light-filtering glasses. But the company is probably best known for their contact lens subscription service, which uses their brand of contact lenses.
Waldo only offers their brand of prescription contact lenses, and the only contact lenses they make are daily disposables.
Waldo’s lenses go from -12.00 up to +4.00 magnification strengths.
Waldo contacts are made of etafilcon A, a material developed 30 years ago. It’s the most widely used material found in hydrogel contact lenses. According to a
Waldo contacts have a Dk/t of 25, which is a measurement of how breathable they are or how much oxygen they let through to your eyes.
Eye doctors point out that there are contacts available that have Dk/t measurements over 100 made with newer material. A higher number means more breathability, which is healthier for the eyes.
For the most part, customers don’t seem to have a lot of complaints about the materials that Waldo contacts are made of, and they seem to be comparable to bigger brands.
Waldo contacts can’t withstand repeated daily uses, but they’re not made to. Waldo contacts are designed to be worn for 1 day only. That means you can’t clean them or store them for later use after you’ve put them on your eyes.
Some people really like the convenience of daily contacts. It also makes it easier to maintain a hygienic contact lens routine, as you never have to worry about storing them overnight.
Others prefer to purchase weeklies, biweeklies, and monthly replacement contact lenses. But this is a matter of personal preference and eye health needs rather than a reflection of Waldo’s quality.
Waldo contacts are made in Taiwan. This might be part of the reason why the lenses are cheaper. Their manufacturing partner, Pegavision, has won awards for excellence and innovation.
Big name competitors, such as Bausch + Lomb and Johnson & Johnson, manufacture their lenses in the United States or the United Kingdom.
Waldo contacts will run between $18 and $19.50 per box of 30.
That means you’re paying a little less than $20 for 2 weeks of contacts. If your eyes need different magnification strengths (i.e., if you wear a left strength and a right strength), you’ll need to purchase two boxes at a time, which will increase your overall cost.
A 3-month supply of Waldo contacts — or 3 boxes at $18 per box — will run you $108.
Waldo contacts count vs competitors
Many of Waldo’s competitors (contacts from other manufacturers) come in 90-count boxes of daily disposable lenses.
Many of the major contacts brands also have rebate programs, which can get you some money back.
Waldo pricing vs competitors
As an example, to get 2 boxes of 90-count contact lenses from another website like 1-800 Contacts, it costs interestingly enough, $108 with free shipping.
This competitor also offers coupons, while Waldo doesn’t do special deals and promotions.
Does Waldo take insurance?
Waldo doesn’t work directly with vision insurance providers. If your insurance provider offers reimbursement, you can submit the receipt from your order.
You can also use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA) funds, provided it’s associated with a major credit card.
When you order from Waldo, you’ll need to order through their app or website.
You’ll start by entering your contact lens prescription into their site.
Next, you’ll be prompted to share your doctor’s name and contact information. Waldo provides a search tool that makes looking up your doctor by last name and location fast and easy.
Last, you’ll be asked to set up an account with Waldo. You’ll also need to provide payment information for your 10-day sample of their contacts.
Note that ordering this 10-day sample will automatically opt you into Waldo’s subscription program. You can pause the subscription or cancel it whenever you want, but it’s up to you to cancel the subscription if you don’t want to be charged automatically.
Contacts from Waldo seem to come reasonably quickly.
Your prescription will need to be verified before your contacts can ship. Depending on when you place your order, this can take 2 to 3 business days.
Your contacts should arrive 2 to 3 days after the prescription has been verified.
After your subscription boxes are shipped, it takes the same amount of time for them to arrive. However, you can pay extra for rush shipping.
You can return Waldo contact lenses within 30 days of when you received them. However, they’ll only offer you a credit on your account, and you’ll only get that credit if the box of contacts is unopened or none have been used.
If your contacts are defective, or if you need to return them, you can initiate the return via email or by calling Waldo’s customer service number.
Waldo has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot. That’s pretty impressive, considering there are over 13,000 customer reviews.
Waldo customers say that the fit and feel of the contacts are similar to competitors Acuvue and SofLens. Some reviews note that the contacts are a little thinner than they’re used to, making them harder to remove than other brands.
Many commenters observed that Waldo contacts appear to be of higher quality than their most direct competitor, Hubble.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates Waldo with a B. Their BBB listing only lists one customer interaction, a complaint that was resolved.
Waldo’s other major competitor is another direct-to-consumer retailer that only sells their contact lens brand, Hubble. Hubble contacts are also manufactured in Taiwan.
The American Optometrist Association has expressed concern about Hubble’s business practices, particularly the way they process and verify prescriptions. As of now, Waldo has not encountered the same type of criticism.
Other online retailers that provide contacts for regular shipments include:
- 1-800 Contacts. One of the oldest contacts-by-mail businesses, 1-800 Contacts has been operating since the 1990s. Read more about them here.
- Coastal. Coastal is known for selling contacts, but the retailer also sells prescription glasses and sunglasses. Read more about them here.
- GlassesUSA. GlassesUSA carry the gamut of eyewear, as their name may suggest, as well as the major contacts brands. Read more about them here.
- Warby Parker. Known for bringing eyeglass shopping online and direct to homes, Warby Parker is also a place to buy major brands of contacts as well as their own. Read more about them here.
Traditional in-store retailers that offer contact lenses include:
- Costco Optical
You can also order contacts through your eye doctor when you get your prescription. These contacts can typically be delivered to you by mail.
Some healthcare professionals say that buying contacts from online retailers, in general, isn’t advisable. Common concerns are:
- Contacts bought online don’t necessarily have an eye doctor vetting that the products are a good match for the customer.
- You might not know what you’re getting when you order from an online retailer, and manufacturing practices may not be ethical or hygienic.
- Ordering contacts and eyewear online isn’t a substitute for an annual or biannual eye exam, which is important for your overall health. If you can get contacts online, experts argue, people may skip their exams and could lose out on early detection of glaucoma, cataracts, and other health concerns.
All of these concerns are valid, of course. However, plenty of people shop online for contacts and feel completely comfortable with the process. It’s a matter of preference and priorities.
You can shop online safely for eyewear by:
- reading independent reviews, like this one, which vet the pros and cons of different online retailers
- researching manufacturing practices of retailers that you’re interested in, starting with what country the products are made in
- looking into lawsuits or recalls of products that the retailer sells
- reading the company website, including the FAQs and warranty information, looking for transparency and clear customer-oriented service policies
If you’re not comfortable with the unknowns of shopping online, you can always order contacts through an eye doctor.
Waldo offers an alternative to bigger name contact brands, using similar materials. However, the company offers more of a service than a product, since they use a subscription-only model.
For people who want to have a subscription service that delivers contacts to their homes, Waldo contacts are an affordable option.
But Waldo contacts aren’t necessarily more affordable than other contact lenses. While their per box price is low, each box only contains 30 contacts meant to be disposed of daily. For most people, it won’t add up to huge savings.
And for many contact lens wearers who have astigmatism or need multifocal lenses, Waldo doesn’t currently offer any contacts you can use.