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AC Lens Contact Lens review

AC Lens offers deep discounts and handy subscriptions on contact lenses.

AC Lens Contact Lens review
(Image: © AC Lens)

Our Verdict

AC Lens is a great budget contact lens site, with plenty of choice, and an easy-to-use site. It does have a few flaws, like the lack of an eye-exam app online.

For

  • Large volume, quick dispatch
  • Low prices

Against

  • No eye exam app
  • Free shipping has strings attached

AC Lens is an Ohio based online retailer of contact lenses and other eye wear. The company has been trading since 1995. There's a fairly broad range of eye wear and accessories, glasses included, and the choice of contacts is extensive. It focuses on deep discounts and subscriptions and handles both very well. The site offers limited free shipping, free returns and a range of offers. 

AC Lens is a well-established discount seller of contacts from a broad range of manufacturers. The prices are excellent, and we couldn’t find much lower, which is why it's our top budget pick of the best online contact lenses sites. It also offers a small range of glasses from a variety of designers as well as unbranded frames. The website Is plain and clear and easy to navigate. Shipping is free for orders over $99, as well as all subscriptions. 

The website offers an additional range of eye care accessories, including cosmetics, cases and goggles. They will contact your optometrist for your prescription, but you’re responsible for keeping it up to date and valid.

AC Lens review: Price and offers

The prices are most definitely low. All the lenses we checked were at or very close to the lowest price point around, and with subscriptions and free shipping (subs are a straight 10% off after your first order) you couldn’t do much better for price. Even Discount Contact Lenses struggles to match it. The glasses are well placed in the market too, with designer frames and a variety of lens options at very competitive prices. It has a complete range of lenses from all the manufacturers you’ll be looking for, including some more complicated orders like progressives that will need to be made to order. These are more expensive, obviously, but still competitive when lined up against other sites’ offerings.

There are always a good handful of coupons and offers online for AC Lens, and they’re not signposted well on the site. It’s worth Googling whether there are any general offers, or any time limited ones on the lenses you’re interested in buying. It’s worth noting there is a standing discount of 10% for veterans as a thanks for their service, though it’s not well advertised. The pricing is a little clearer on sites like Contacts Direct.

AC Lens does accept FSA and HSA cards for prescription lenses (not colors and cosmetics though) and it accepts PayPal as a nod to convenience. It doesn’t deal with insurance, but will provide you with the receipts you’ll need to claim money back from your insurer. If you use one of the best vision insurance companies for your contacts, and would rather not deal with them direct, we suggest going for someone like 1800 Contacts, who can do the work for you.

AC Lens

(Image credit: AC Lens)

AC Lens review: Features and website

Other sites have options to help you with keeping your optical prescription up-to-date, but AC Lens leaves you to it. It will contact your optometrist and check your prescription, but staying on top of vision checks will mean a trip to the doctor’s office and an afternoon staring at charts. Not the end of the world, but one little inconvenience that could have been avoided. 

The customer service department isn’t AC Lens’s first selling point, but there is a toll-free number for you to call should anything need clearing up. There is also a live web chat button on the site if that suits you better. If you want to go into an actual store for your contacts, or to set up an eye exam, you should try Lenscrafters. There are free, no-questions-asked returns on contacts, whether you have issues or you’ve just changed your mind. You can exchange glasses if your prescription changes but only for 30 days after purchase. But the free shipping policy isn’t the most generous, only kicking in at $99 or whenever you begin a subscription.

AC Lens’s biggest extra is the range of accessories and other eye care products it has available from its site. Everything eye related is here, from cosmetics and cosmetic friendly gadgets, to solutions and cleaners, cases and applicators. There’s even a good range of sports, ski and swimming goggles, as well as protective eye wear for kids and adults. A much broader range than is generally available, and a very welcome addition, although you'll find more choice over at Discount Contact Lenses.

Should I use AC Lens?

AC Lens lets its prices do the talking, and very impressive they are too. The site is unencumbered by tricks or gadgets and the subscription model is simple and provides yet deeper discounts. There aren’t many concessions to quality of life, and beyond phoning your doctor, it won’t help with renewing your vision prescription, and doesn’t deal with insurers direct. But it does take FSA and HAS cards, and accepts PayPal. It’s reliable, has a good reputation and ships quickly. If you can cope with a big website that offers minimal hand-holding, you’ll get the benefit of a really good deal.