Best Places to Buy Contact Lenses Online (and Save Money)

0
25

In years past, scrounging together enough money to cover even a six-month supply of my contact lenses was a struggle. Many times I considered just wearing my glasses full-time because spending a few hundred dollars was too rich for my bank account. 

If you wear contacts, you know how expensive they can be, even with vision benefits. And if you buy them from your eye doctor or local optical shop, you’ll likely pay the full retail value, which, again, can set you back a few hundred bucks.

Luckily, there are many online stores that offer every contact lens brand you can think of, often at discounted prices or with rebates to help you save some cash. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to buy contacts online below. I wouldn’t say that any one of them is better than the other, but by shopping around, you can get the most savings and find a store that lets you use your insurance to help offset the cost.

Note that before you shop, you’ll first need to get an eye health and contact lens exam from your optician or optometrist. An eye doctor can help you determine the best prescription lenses for your specific needs, whether that’s daily contacts, soft lenses, hard lenses, lenses for astigmatism or multifocal lenses. All of the stores on this list require a valid vision prescription from an eye doctor to dispense your contact lenses, and they won’t ship your order without one.

So, ready to ditch the frames and dive in? Here is where you can find contacts at an affordable price. 

Scout by Warby Parker

Warby Parker doesn’t just sell affordable and stylish eyeglasses — the company sells contact lenses too. You can pick from Scout, Warby Parker’s own contact lens brand, or get contacts from Acuvue, Biotrue, Air Optix, Dailies and other major brands.

A three-month supply of Scout daily contacts (a total of 90 lenses) starts at $47, which is a good deal for daily contact lenses. Depending on where you shop and the brand you use, prices online can vary from $60 to $200. You can get a six-day trial pack of Scout contact lenses to see if you like them before committing to a full supply.

Depending on your vision insurance, you may be able to use your benefits to pay for your Warby Parker contacts purchase. If your insurance company doesn’t directly work with Warby Parker, you can instead file a claim with your insurance to be reimbursed for any qualified orders.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Personal story time: I found Lens.com too many years ago to remember now, and it has been my go-to for cheap contacts since. I keep coming back because its customer service is great and the prices are usually the lowest I can find on prescription contact lenses. It has an impressive selection of brands — including Acuvue, Air Optix, Dailies and Biofinity Toric for astigmatism — plus it takes returns and covers the cost of shipping unopened boxes back. ‘Nuff said.

Lens.com is an out-of-network provider for vision insurance, so you can’t use your benefits to directly pay for your order. However, you can submit the receipt to your insurance company for reimbursement (and always check with your insurance company to see what it covers).

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

As one of the best-known contacts stores, 1800Contacts stocks all of the most popular brands, and you can even get hard contacts through its call center. One CNET editor praised the company for providing customer service that went above and beyond.

1800Contacts price-matches any competitor, so if you find a better price, you can let the company know and it will do its best to match it (with some restrictions).

Like Lens.com, you can text or email your contact lens prescription, which speeds up the ordering process. 1800Contacts also offers discount contact lenses for students and free shipping on all orders, and allows you to update your prescription through an online test (only available for adults between 18 and 55 years old). You can also buy colored contact lenses from 1800Contacts. If you need to exchange your unopened lenses for any reason, 1800Contacts will cover the shipping cost. 

Accepts vision insurance with a valid prescription.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

A popular source for contacts among my fellow CNET editors is ContactsDirect, because it often sends out coupon codes to customers. It has a wide selection of lens type options, including multifocal lenses, colored contacts, soft contact lenses for dry eyes and toric lenses for astigmatism. 

ContactsDirect offers returns on products that were purchased within one year if your eye vision changes and you need a vision correction from your doctor. ContactsDirect (and 1800Contacts) also sells contact lens solution.

Accepts vision insurance.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Eyeconic has a wide array of contact lens brands to choose from, including Acuvue, Air Optix, Biotrue by Bausch and Lomb and Extreme H2O. Like others on this list, it offers free shipping and free returns.

Accepts VSP, MetLife and Cigna Vision vision insurance.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Last but not least is GlassesUSA.com, which sells both contact lenses and glasses and will price-match other sellers. Like every other retailer on this list, GlassesUSA.com has all of the popular lens brands, including Acuvue, Biofinity and more, and offers free returns and free shipping on prescription lenses.

Accepts select insurance providers.

Are contacts expensive?

For the most part, yes. Disposable contacts will cost you more money in the long run over a pair of glasses. I’ve worn Acuvue Oasys for many years, and they average around $25-$40 for a box of 12 lenses. That box of 12 lasts me for three months (one lens per eye, and I toss those lenses every two weeks). That means I typically spend around $160 per year for contacts.

Depending on the brand your doctor prescribes, your contacts might cost less or more than that.

You can easily get a pair of glasses for around $100, and if you don’t need to change your prescription every year, you can wear those same glasses for as long as they work for you. Regardless if my vision changes or not, I still need to buy more contacts every year. 

How to save money on contact lenses

Pro tip: Right after your contact lens exam, it’s almost always worth it to get a year’s supply of your current prescription. Regardless of whether you’re buying daily disposable contacts, monthly lenses or even multifocal contacts, buying in bulk will help you save money.

If your prescription changes sometime during that year, many of the retailers above will allow you to exchange unopened boxes with a new prescription. You don’t have much to lose by buying a full year supply. Though it can be a higher up-front cost, you’ll save money over buying one box at a time. 

More health and wellness recommendations

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Go to Publisher: CNET News
Author: Sarah Mitroff