Best place to buy contacts online in 2020


There’s no escaping the reality that contact lenses are expensive. It doesn’t help that a lot of vision insurance plans will only pay for either contacts or glasses — not both — and restrict how often you can use your benefits. But if you’re paying out of pocket for eye care and you want the best price available when buying contacts, you can shop online. It’s typically cheaper than what your eye doctor or optical shop charges for any sort of vision prescription.

While you might not save hundreds of dollars when you buy contacts online, like you would buying glasses online, you’re still more likely to find a good deal at an affordable price. Another great way to save when you buy contacts online is to buy in bulk — you’ll usually get better discounts. If you don’t expect your contact lens prescription to change over the next year, get a full year’s supply. Most of these online stores also allow you to returned unopened boxes of lenses if you get an eye exam and your prescription changes.

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Below are our picks for the best place to buy contacts online. Note that you’ll need to get an eye test and contact lens exam from your optometrist or optician first — eye health is so important, even more so if you suffer from ailments like dry eye or astigmatism. As such, all of these shops require a valid vision prescription from an eye doctor to dispense contact lenses, and they can help with prescription verification during the online retailer checkout process. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please shout out your preferred place to order contact lenses online — especially when it comes to colored contact lenses — in the comments to help others find it.

Scout by Warby Parker

Warby Parker, the company that made a name for itself by offering affordable and stylish eyeglasses, has now launched its own contact lens brand, Scout. The company promises that these daily contacts are breathable and offer superior comfort because they are made of a material that is supposed to stay moist all day. The contacts also come in space-saving packaging that’s virtually flat and easy to transport.

A three-month supply of Scout daily contacts (a total of 90 lenses) costs $110, which isn’t the cheapest price you can find for daily contacts. Depending on where you shop and the brand of daily contacts you use, prices online can vary from $60 to $200. You can get a 6-day trial pack of Scout contact lenses for $5 to see if you like them before you commit to a full supply.

Warby Parker also sells name-brand contacts on its website and in its retail stores.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Personal story time: I found too many years ago to remember now and it has been my go-to choice to get cheap contacts. 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 even covers the cost of shipping unopened boxes back. ‘Nuff said.

Does not accept vision insurance, but you can submit your receipt to your insurance company to get reimbursed (and always check with your insurance company to see what it covers).

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

One of the best-known contacts stores, online retailer 1800Contacts, stocks all of the most popular brands, and you can even get hard contacts through its call center. One CNET editor praised it for the customer service for going above and beyond.

Like, you can text or email your contact lens prescription, which speeds up the ordering process. 1800Contacts also offers discounts for students, 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). Finally, you can sign up for a subscription, which sends you lenses when you need them.

Accepts vision insurance with a valid prescription.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

A popular choice to buy contacts among my fellow CNET editors is ContactsDirect because it accepts our company’s vision insurance and often sends out coupon codes to customers. It has a wide selection of lenses, including multifocal lenses, colored contacts, soft contact lenses for dry eye and toric lenses for astigmatism. And it 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

Coastal is a one-stop shop for both contact lenses and prescription glasses. What makes it so appealing is that it has a price match guarantee that includes the total cost of a purchase (including fees and shipping) from another authorized online contact lens retailer — some conditions apply. It has a wide selection of lenses, including non-prescription colored contact lenses, offers free returns and has a subscription program.

Does not accept vision insurance, but you can request reimbursement from your insurance company.

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. The site will help you find an eye doctor or clinic. Like others on this list, they offer free shipping and free returns. (Note that Eyeconic’s Chicago stores, previously available for walk-ins, are closed until further notice.) 

Accepts vision insurance.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Last, but not least is Like Coastal, you can order contact lenses and glasses through the site, and it offers deep discounts if you order both. Like every other retailer on this list, has all of the popular lens brands, offers free returns and free shipping on prescription lenses.

Does not accept vision insurance, but you can request a reimbursement from your insurance company.

Further health and wellness reading

Originally published in 2019 and updated periodically.

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.


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