Contact Lenses are often the number one choice for people with vision correction needs. Besides offering flexibility and convenience, contact lenses come with a variety of types and features, catering to consumer's needs.
There are a great many reasons why people choose to wear contact lenses over traditional eyeglasses. Some of these reasons include:
They allow a natural field of view, unobstructed by eyeglass frames
They do not fog up or get splattered by rain
They generally offer better sight correction than eyeglasses
Many people feel they look better and more natural in contacts than in eyeglasses
So which kind of contact lenses are right for you? Many people are surprised by the large variety of contact lenses that are available. From soft contact lenses, to extended wear lenses, to disposables, each type of contact lens has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. For your convenience, we've put together this contact lens cheat sheet that describes some of the different
types of contact lenses and what you should expect from each one.
In addition to deciding which type of contact lens is right for you, there are a number of factors to consider when deciding where to purchase your contact lenses. Some of these factors include:
Variety. Does the store offer the type of contact lens you need, with the features you want?
Cost. Does the store consistently offer competitive rates for the contact lenses they sell?
Guarantee. If you aren't happy with the product, can you return it for a refund?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best contact lens stores available today. We hope this information helps you save time and money when purchasing your next set of contact lenses!
Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.
Consistently low. Plus, their Lowest Price Guarantee ensures you get the lowest price available.
Free Priority Ground (3-5 days) on all orders over $99.00
With a motto of Best price, Best service, Best shopping experience, Coastal Contacts sets the bar pretty high for themselves. Perhaps surprisingly, we found they deliver on their promise - and more.
The Coastal Contacts website is extremely easy to navigate. You can search by brand, type of lens, most popular contacts or view their offerings alphabetically. With so many options, we easily found what we were looking for. For each brand of lenses, Coastal Contacts guides you through a step-by-step process of how to order the contacts. From
questions as basic as where to find your prescription on the box, they walk you through each option when placing your order.
One feature we especially like is Coastal Contact's Lowest Price Guarantee. While their prices were consistently low across the board on all brands of contacts, the guarantee means that you will always receive the lowest price for any contact lens. This is an extremely consumer-friendly feature and one that we found unique to Coastal Contacts.
When placing your order, Coastal Contacts offers several payment options - including a convenient Buy Now / Pay Later option available to all consumers. You can also pay in several other ways, such as online with a credit card, ePay, by phone, or by check.
Coastal Contacts boasts the second largest on-hand inventory of contact lenses, which speaks volumes for their dedication and explains why they're able to offer such low prices. You can expect to receive your order in a timely manner, because of a high volume of inventory stored in their personal warehouses.
A toll-free customer service phone number is provided so you can easily get in touch with a live person if necessary. Alternatively, you can e-mail your questions or concerns to their support area. We found their service people to be knowledgeable and friendly when answering our questions.
Do you often forget to order more contact lenses before its too late? Coastal Contacts offers a very convenient refill reminder option. If selected, Coastal Contacts will e-mail you a reminder with plenty of time to order and receive your contacts before that last pair runs dry. Initiating the refill is as easy as clicking on the "Refill my Contacts" button. You then simply fill out their e-mail address
and zip code for confirmation. For people on the go (and who isn't?), we found this feature invaluable.
Coastal Contacts has a very consumer-friendly return policy - one of the best in our review. They offer refunds or exchanges on unopened boxes that are returned within 30 days of delivery.
In addition to contact lenses, Coastal Contacts also offers a complete line of accessories including lens cases, solution, sunglasses, and more. They are your one stop shop for all of your eyecare needs.
With a huge inventory to choose from, a low price guarantee, easy ordering procedure, and valuable reminder service, Coastal Contacts sets the standard for contact lens stores and earns our highest rating.
Contact Lens King has been in the business of providing quality contact lenses direct to the door since 2003. Some of their popular brands include Acuvue, Proclear, Soflens, Biofinity, Focus and more. This company maintains over 5 million lens in stock to make sure your order goes out the door quickly. Contact Lens King also provide some of the most competitive pricing but their website is not as user friendly as those
companies ranked higher.
For those that are most focused on finding affordable contact lens, Contact Lens King is definitely worth a look. Their prices are very competitive with many of the companies reviewed, especially when buying several boxes at once. Unlike other companies reviewed, this contact lens retailer provides a decent discount when you purchase 4 boxes and sometimes an even larger discount when that purchase is 8 or more boxes at
once. However, the additional discount on large orders does not apply to all contact lens brands sold at this website.
Shoppers will find all of the major manufactures of contact lens available today. Unfortunately, the website organization is not the best layout that we've seen. Shoppers may feel momentarily confused when they arrive at Contact Lens King. To the left hand side of the website, customers may sort by the most popular brands, type of lenses, manufacturers and more. Once you've narrowed down your search, you may input the
prescription information and name to proceed forward.
This website provides customers free shipping on all orders as well as a 30 day return policy on any unused and unopened packages. For questions, shoppers may call Contact Lens King Monday through Friday 8:30 to 6:00 EST to speak to a representative. These hours are a bit limited especially for those that work Monday through Friday and are too busy to call during normal business hours.
Contact Lens King offers a huge selection of in stock contact lens with some of the best prices around. Shoppers will also like the free shipping and 30 day return policy but may find the website marginally confusing at first glance. If you’re in the market for contact lenses, and want to save some money, Contact Lens King is worth a look.
AC Lens started back in 1995 when the Internet was growing in popularity. This retailer has grown dramatically since their inception and continues to service customers with pride. Shoppers will find a decent contact lens, eyeglasses, reading and sunglass selection. AC Lens concentrates on providing customers the most popular contact lens today. Their inventory is made up of the top 15 brands from 4 different manufacturers
including Acuvue, Proclear, PureVision, SofLens, Biofinity and more.
In our comparison of AC Lens' contact lens prices to those of the other companies we reviewed we found, with a large order, the prices were about middle of the road for those brands sampled. Customers buying 6 boxes or more are able to save a few dollars per box in most cases. The website is busy but easy to navigate. Shoppers can find what they are looking for by choosing contact lens brand, type, or manufacturer. The
results do require some sorting through by popularity. Once you've found the contact brand and type in question you may update the prescription details, quantity and checkout.
AC Lens provides ordering tracking per their website as well as free ground shipping on orders of $99 or more. Customers may return their unopened and unused products within 30 days for a full refund minus any shipping. If questions arise, the company offers assistance via phone 7 days a week.
While the prices at AC Lens are not the most competitive, customers will appreciate the long history this company has under their belt as well as an easy shopping and ordering process. We liked that AC Lens staffs customer service representatives 7 days a week for assistance. While the selection is more limited than some of the other companies reviewed shoppers will find the most popular brands sold today.
1-800-Get-Lens delivers a positive shopping experience with a variety of products. Visitors can shop by brand, type of lens, or alphabetically. The website features cool, calming colors which helps the consumer to be patient when looking through their many options in contact lenses.
On the very first webpage, shoppers are given the option of searching by most popular contacts, top lens types or top brands. This helpful feature allows consumers to quickly choose from a variety of ways to search, meeting a wide range of needs. Additionally, you can easily search by most popular lenses or by the quick links at the bottom of the webpage, which narrows down the search by type of contact lens. Visitors
that are unsure of what they are looking for can easily search by top brands to help narrow their focus to match their specific needs.
1-800-Get-Lens advertises that they are the most affordable and convenient source for contact lenses. We found that consumers can save up to 70% from retail prices on brand-name contact lenses, including top brands from Acuvue, Focus, Freshlook, and Biomedics. However, many of the other companies in our review also matched 1-800-Get-Lens prices.
1-800-Get-Lens guarantees that consumers will receive their contact lenses and that the lenses will be sealed in the manufacturers sterile packaging, or your order will be refunded. Additionally, if you find that their product is unsatisfactory, you have 30 days to obtain a refund. Only unopened boxes can be returned for a full refund. Like many sites, custom lenses, including novelty and made-to-order lenses, cannot be
canceled, returned, or exchanged.
We found the Frequently Asked Questions section very detailed and helpful in answering our shopper's questions. Customer service is available 6 days a week, with a live person answering consumer questions. 1-800-Get-Lens even offers an international toll free phone number for calls originating overseas.
At 1-800-Get-Lens, you can expect to find all of the most popular brands of contact lenses, offered at prices competitive with their competition.
Discount Contact Lenses is a division of AC Lens that started back in 1995, and solely focuses on selling contacts to online shoppers. Shoppers will find today’s most popular selection of contact lenses and accessories at this website from Acuvue, Air Optix, PureVision, Proclear, Biomedics and more. Discount Contact Lenses provides contact lens from four different manufactures including Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, Cooper
Vision, and Johnson & Johnson.
Much like other companies we've reviewed, our price comparison of Discount Contact Lenses, with some of the competition, identified about an average savings opportunity. With a large order discount, the prices were still middle of the road for those brands sampled. Customers buying 6 boxes or more are able to save a few dollars per box in most cases but the prices are still not lower than some of the higher ranked companies.
The Discount Contact Lenses website allows shoppers to choose from brand, type, or manufacturer. From there the results must then be further sorted to find what you’re looking for. Generally the shopper must scroll through each product to find the exact lens they are looking for. Once you've located the right product you may update the prescription details, quantity and proceed to checkout.
Discount Contact Lenses allows customers to track their orders online, as well as receive free shipping on orders of $99 or more. Customers may return their unopened and unused products within 30 days for a full refund minus any shipping. If questions arise, the company offers assistance via phone 6 days a week.
Discount Contact Lenses does not provide the deepest discount contact lenses but does offer a long history of doing business in the market place. The ordering process and customer service at Discount Contact Lenses are pluses when shopping here. While the selection is less abundant than some of the other companies reviewed, shoppers will find the most popular brands sold today.
Lens Direct has been in the business of selling contact lenses for over 25 years. The brands available at this online contact lens company include 13 of the top choices including Acuvue, Proclear, Focus, FreshLook, Air Optix, Biofinity, SofLens, Pure Vision and a few more. Lens Direct offers customers an impressive return policy and free shipping but bring your patience with their search engine.
The first feature that stood out at Lens Direct was the selection. While shoppers will find the most popular brands at Lens Direct the list is rather short. In fact, Lens Direct appears to have the smallest selection of any companies reviewed. We also struggled a bit with the search engine. The best way to peruse their offerings is to “See All Brands”. From there, customers can choose from 13 different brands to find the
contacts they may be looking for. However, if you aren't currently wearing one of the most popular brands than it’s unlikely they will have what you’re looking for.
Lens Direct does provide the most impressive return policy of the companies reviewed. Return your unopened, undamaged, in original packaging products within 365 days of purchase for a full refund. If any questions come up during the ordering process this company provides phone, email and chat support to assist.
The prices at Lens Direct are competitive compared to other companies reviewed. They don’t offer the lowest prices but they are not far off. However, we did see that they don’t require a multi-box purchase to save at this website. But, if you do, you'll find a marginally better price for purchases of 8 boxes or more, per order.
Lens Direct has established a rather simple, straightforward company model. Their selection is small yet includes the most popular brands. Their prices are competitive and you don’t have to buy large quantities to save. Also, their extended return policy and free shipping are a bonus for shoppers. For those that use contact lenses made by only the top brands, Lens Direct is worth a look.
Just Lenses claims to be the most convenient and affordable choice for refilling a contact lens prescription. Unfortunately, when we took a look under the covers, we found an average site with prices that could be bested by their competition.
While the Just Lenses website appears clean and easy to navigate at first, the bland yellow color bars used to feature certain popular products proves unsuccessful in attracting attention and is uninviting to the user.
Search functions are comparable to other sites. Visitors can shop by lens type, manufacturer, most popular lenses and other products (for example, reading glasses). In addition, average customer product ratings are featured to give shoppers a better understanding of the product and the experiences of others.
Unfortunately, Just Lenses has a rather high handling fee on all orders placed. They state that they are working on ways to eliminate this cost to their consumers, but the handling fee to consumers currently stands at 6.5% of the product value. This fee is added automatically to your purchase and will be included in the itemized invoice of any order.
If problems occur when you receive your order through Just Lenses, they ask that you contact their customer service department immediately and they promise to make things right. They do not offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee however, which is something we place a high importance on when ordering products over the internet.
With middle of the road prices and a bland website, the experience offered by Just Lenses lags behind the top-rated companies in our review.
Lens Mart, a division of DrugStore, provides contact lens customers a no frills shopping experience. Some of the brands available at Lens Mart includes Acuvue, Biofinity, FreshLook, ProClear, PureVision, SofLens and many more. The history behind Lens Mart and years of experience in the contact lens business were unavailable online.
Most contact lens shoppers want both an easy shopping experience and great pricing. Lens Mart does an OK job in both areas. While the prices weren't as competitive as some of the other companies reviewed we did see that they offer a 105% price match guarantee. However, that applies to only the currently advertised standard price. What we found is that the sale price at many online contact lens stores is more competitive
than Lens Mart but wouldn't qualify for a price match guarantee. We just didn't see the savings they promised from the price comparisons we performed.
Shopping at Lens mart is not as easy to navigate as some of the other companies ranked higher. We were able to narrow our search quickly by brand and lens type. We then had to weed through the results to find what we were looking for. The website has a decent selection of most of the popular brands today. Shoppers will find an interesting collection of theatrical contact lens at Lens Mart not typically found at many retailers.
Lens Mart does offer 24 hour customer service 7 days a week as well as free shopping on orders totaling $50 or more. Unfortunately, we were concerned when we couldn't find a stated return policy at Lens Mart should a customer change their mind. This might present some serious concern for shoppers, especially if an error occurs on their part. Like most contact lens retailers, Lens Mart also offers an auto-ship program that
saves the time and hassle of remembering to refill the prescription.
Lens Mart failed to wow us with their current contact lens website. The selection was decent but the pricing and some of their policies were lacking. We noted the missing return policy and not so impressive pricing as two of the biggest factors in our lower rating for this company.
Lens fails to offer their consumers a friendly and inviting website. With bright red featured as a predominant color, our reviewers were looking for opportunities to turn away and shop elsewhere. This is unfortunate because their search options are easy to use and their prices are competitive.
As the fastest growing direct-to-consumer contact lens supplier in the world, Lens is doing something right. One feature we liked was their helpful customer product reviews, located at the bottom of each product screen. These can help shoppers can get a better idea of the products they are browsing, by reading about the experiences of others. Lens also offers a convenient reorder service and refer-a-friend program.
Lens prides themselves on their high quality of customer service and order fulfillment. All of their orders are shipped either by USPS or FedEx. Most orders are processed and are ready to ship within 48-hours and should arrive within three to five business days. Orders can be placed either online or over the phone.
Lens promises to supply all of the major brands and types of contact lenses at up to 70% below retail. While this might be true, the navigation issues and strain on the eyes makes it a chore to shop. You can find deals that are just as good, and a far better shopping experience, with one of our top-rated selections.
America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses is a pretty familiar name for most of us. Plentiful commercials and marketing efforts have been engraved in our minds for years. This company sells eyeglasses as well as contact lenses and typically markets themselves as a discount store where value may supersede customer service, in some cases. America’s Best has moved their mall presences to the Internet and offers customers a chance
to shop online, from the comfort of their home.
Shoppers will find only a handful of contact brands at America’s Best. Acuvue, Air Optix, SofLens, Focus, Proclear and more are the most popular brands today and are sold at this online retailer. Navigating the website and their smaller selection is pretty standard. Shoppers may choose from 1 of their 11 contact brands or they may shop by type of lens.
Our sample price comparison between America’s Best and the competition presented some interesting results. The standard pricing at America’s Best was much higher than the discount stores we had found. However, a savings opportunity exists at America’s Best in their membership options. A 3 year membership for $99.00 or a 5 year for $139 provides shoppers the option to save typically $5 to $7 per box of contacts. But, the
discounted membership prices still didn't provide a savings over other companies we reviewed.
America’s Best does offer a 30 day money back return policy for unopened and unused items in original packaging. Standard ground shipping is available for orders totaling $50 or more. This website also offers customer service assistance via phone call but only Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 6:00 EST which may not meet the needs of most employed shoppers.
America’s Best ranked low due to their pricing. The website provides a smaller selection than most companies reviewed and they really lack the value they claim to focus on. After spending nearly $100 for membership pricing, the contact lenses are more expensive than most companies reviewed. Customers will actually pay more here and never recoup the membership fees. If you’re looking for an extensive selection of contact
lenses at great prices we recommend you shopper higher on our list.
With a promise of over 1,000,000 lenses in stock, one would think that Contacts America could deliver on all your contact lens needs. Contacts America claims they carry all major brands such as Acuvue, Biomedics, Focus, and Freshlook - but so do all of their competitors. Contacts America also promises to carry hard-to-find specialty lenses such as toric contact lenses, colored lenses, bifocal lenses, and multifocal
lenses - but again, so do their competitors.
While carrying so many lenses is helpful, Contacts America's website features colors that are harsh and flashy. The choice in colors might have been chosen to keep with an American theme, but as presented on this website they are overwhelming and unappealing to someone shopping for something as delicate as contact lenses.
During our repeated testing efforts, the website exhibited numerous technical issues that affected the display and usability of the site. Certain elements slid right off the visible area of the webpage. This proved to be aggravating at the least and confusing to potential shoppers.
While Contacts America does provide a side-by-side chart showing consumers their price compared to other contact lens providers, it just wasn't enough to receive a higher rating. Aside from the issues with where the chart was displayed, the information in the chart itself was somewhat misleading. It features Contacts America's lowest price only when you order a minimum of 4 boxes per eye. This high volume of contacts may
not appeal to consumers who don't want to buy contacts in large quantities, or whose prescription needs change more rapidly.
Contacts America offers to refund or exchange unopened lenses within 30 days of delivery.
Although Contacts America is a simple site, it is difficult to navigate due to the bright colors and technical difficulties. They need to spend time improving the shopper experience if they hope to be a competitive player in this market.
The Latest Trends in Contact Lenses
Contact lenses have come a long way since the earliest blown-glass creations in the late 1880's. It was not until the 1950's that lenses were crafted that could be worn all day. Even so, lenses were fragile and expensive, and contact lens insurance was common.
The cornea in the eye does not contain blood vessels, so oxygen must be directly absorbed by the cornea from the air. In the late 1970's, doctors developed rigid gas permeable lenses that allow oxygen to pass through the lens material. Also in the 1970's, chemists developed contact lenses made from soft, flexible material, and these have become the most popular types.
Current contact lens research is involved in finding ways to increase oxygen transference to the cornea. Scientists are also working on ways to include antimicrobial ingredients in the lenses themselves. This helps with the identification and prevention of conditions resulting from contamination by foreign organisms and reduces bacterial infection.
Contact lenses must be periodically cleaned, then rinsed and disinfected before reuse. Lenses must also be stored in a liquid solution when not being used, for example overnight. In the past, each of these functions was performed by a separate formulation. More recently, multipurpose cleaning solutions have been developed that perform all these functions. There are even devices that clean and disinfect lenses
using ultrasonic, ultraviolet, or vibration. The latest multipurpose solutions are effective against bacterial and fungal growth, and include ingredients to increase surface moisture and provide greater comfort to lens wearers.
Other areas of patient compliance also present a challenge. For example, if lenses designed for daily wear are worn overnight, there is an increased risk of corneal infection. The use of daily disposable lenses helps reduce contamination by inadequate cleaning or improper storage. A lens case lined with silver has been developed to help eliminate germs that might come in contact with the lens case.
Perhaps the most radical and exciting development in contact lenses is the work being done to create "bionic lenses". Still in the testing stage, these lenses include electronic circuits and infrared lights incorporated into the lens material itself to create a virtual display similar to a heads-up display in modern aircraft. Scientists are experimenting with using radio signals to power the lenses instead of
conventional power sources, like batteries. With a built-in antenna, these lenses could communicate with a personal computer or other electronic device and be used for playing video games, education, training, or perhaps to provide warnings to people who are hearing-impaired.
Google Smart Lenses Get Boost From Alcon Owner Novartis Google Inc. (GOOG) is teaming up with Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (NOVN) to develop smart contact lenses with embedded electronics to improve vision and monitor health. Novartis's Alcon unit will work with Google's secretive Google X division on lenses with non-invasive sensors, microchips and embedded miniaturized electronics to monitor insulin levels for people with diabetes, or to restore the ... Publ.Date : Tue, 15 Jul 2014 04:45:47 -0700
Decorative Contact Lenses Get 'Horror Story' Warning from FDA The gruesome eye injuries depicted on the TV show "American Horror Story" are being used to warn consumers about the dangers of wearing decorative contact lenses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today (June 26). Decorative contact lenses can cause eye injuries, including tears on the eye's surface, which may lead to infection, serious eye damage and even blindness. In a ... Publ.Date : Thu, 26 Jun 2014 14:49:15 -0700
Google?s smart contact lenses will soon become a reality Remember Google?s interesting diabetes-detecting smart contact lens project the company unveiled in early 2014? The smart lens technology that would offer users a simpler, non-invasive way of measuring blood sugar while also improving eyesight is certainly interesting to Novartis, with the company on Tuesday announcing a partnership between its eye care division Alcon and Google?s X division to ... Publ.Date : Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:34:07 -0700
Novartis to license Google "smart lens" technology Innovative technology offers potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon`s leadership in contact lenses and intraocular lenses Agreement is a first step for Novartis to evolve technology ... Publ.Date : Mon, 14 Jul 2014 22:17:01 -0700
Dangers of Contact Lenses: Amoeba Eye Infection Blinds Woman A student in Taiwan who left contact lenses in her eyes for six months straight developed a rare and serious eye infection that ultimately took her vision, according to a news report. While this particular case has not been verified by Live Science, eye infections from microscopic amoebas can occur. The condition is known as Acanthamoeba keratitis, and is most common among people who wear ... Publ.Date : Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:07:16 -0700
What Happens When You Leave Your Contact Lenses In For Months? This Lady Went Blind Ever considered making your contact lenses last just one more day ? Watch this video and you won't ever consider cutting contact corners again. A woman recently went blind after she left her contacts in for six months straight. But even leaving your contacts in slightly over the prescribed time can be dangerous. So, why is it so bad to leave your contacts in for a long period of time? Bacteria ... Publ.Date : Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:11:01 -0700
What Else Could Smart Contact Lenses Do? Besides health tracking, contact lens technology under development could enable drug delivery, night vision, and augmented reality. Last week Google and Novartis announced that they?re teaming up to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels and automatically adjust their focus. But these could be just the start of a clever new product category. From cancer detection and drug delivery to ... Publ.Date : Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:28:01 -0700