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Best contact lenses online 2021: Where to buy online contact lenses

Best contact lenses online 2021: Where to buy online contact lenses
(Image credit: Getty)

The best contact lenses online are the same as the ones you’d buy in store or at your eye doctor’s office, but they’re much cheaper. That’s because online contact lens retailers have no bricks and mortar stores, so they can pass those savings on to you in the form of cheap contact lens prices. So, which type of lenses can you buy online? All sorts, from prescription contact lenses to disposables, corrective vision wear for astigmatism, and colored contacts.

Acuvue, Clariti, Bioinfinity, Proclear and Air Optix are just some of the brands behind the best contact lenses online. You’ll need a recent eye prescription to buy this way, but most retailers have a prescription checker to help you. Our top online contact lens retailer is 1800 Contacts because it carries a large range of well-known brands at affordable prices. The customer service is reliable and friendly too, and there’s free shipping.

GlassesUSA is another place to head for the best contact lenses online, and it offers a 25% saving on plenty of top-rated vision brands. If you wear both types of corrective eyewear, you can also stock up on the best eyeglasses online here too. More and more online contact lenses retailers are also set up to work directly with your vision insurance provider, saving you the hassle of going back and forth between them. 

When buying prescription contact lenses online, choose a trusted eyewear retailer with a proven track record of prescription orders. You need to know your custom order is in safe hands. If you haven't had a recent eye exam, you could get one online, depending on the online contact lens retailer you opt for. Just keep in mind that the American Academy of Optometry recommends having an in-person eye exam every two years. Ready to find the best contact lenses online for you? Then let’s take a closer look… 

 What to look for in a good online contact lenses retailer:

  • Good customer reviews
  • Clear pricing
  • Free delivery
  • Order tracking service
  • Good range of contact lenses
  • Straight-forward returns policy
  • Multiple ways to contact customer service

Top 10 best contact lenses online brands

1. 1800 Contacts: The best contact lenses online overall

Best contact lenses online: 1800 Contacts Online

(Image credit: 1800 Contacts)

1800 Contacts

Simply the best online contact lenses for most people

Free delivery: Yes | Returns policy: Unlimited refund time for unopened boxes of lenses

Good refund policy
Next day delivery
Top customer service
Prices can be confusing

Your search for the best contact lenses online may be a short one if you start with1800 Contacts, as this is one of the most trusted destinations for prescription contact lenses. 1800 Contacts has been in business for more than 20 years, providing good customer service, free shipping, free returns if your lenses are unopened and exchanges on broken lenses.

The site is well-known for its great discounts, and you can buy one-off boxes of lenses or set up a subscription, which automatically sends you new prescription contact lenses when you need them.

1800 Contacts also offers an online eye test service, which determines whether your current prescription is right for you. This test shouldn’t replace visits to your eye doctor entirely but could save you a trip if you don’t have any problems.

It's worth knowing that 1800 Contacts sells frames too, for those of you who mix up your vision wear. So if you like the experience and service of buying contact lenses online, you could grab a new pair of specs at the same time and save yourself the hassle of splitting your order. 

1800 Contacts user reviews and ratings

There are many happy reviews for 1800 Contacts, with customers frequently rating the brand 5 out of 5 stars for its online prescription contact lenses service. “I used 1-800 contacts for the first time recently and had a great experience! I had an eye exam on Friday and thought I’d try out an online contact delivery service for cheaper prices and convenience,” one customer wrote on TrustPilot.

Customers tend to mention the excellent service from 1800 Contacts’ eye doctors, the choice, fair price and speedy delivery.

However, not everyone is pleased. Some customers have flagged up issues with discounts and rebates, claiming they’re not dealt with quickly – if at all sometimes. Others also mentioned long wait times for order, but from our research that seems to be infrequent.


2. AC Lens: Best contact lenses online on a budget

Best contact lenses online: AC Lens is great for buying discount contact lenses

(Image credit: AC Lens)

AC Lens cheap contact lenses online

The best option for cheap prices and fast shipping

Free delivery: Yes, but you need to spend $99 | Returns policy: Return items up to 365 days from the shipping date for free (with exceptions)

Speedy delivery
Good discounts 
Free shipping only on orders of $99+

AC Lens is a simple online contact lenses site with quick service and plenty of discounts - first-time customers tend to get even more significant price reductions. You can make a one-off purchase or sign up for the company’s Lens Subscription, which currently brings you perks, like free shipping and 20 per cent off all future orders.

Like 1800 Contacts, an online eye test option is available to check your current prescription, which an eye doctor will review for you. There are many prescription contact lenses to choose from – more than 40 brands – when you’re shopping with AC Lens. But it’s also a one-stop shop for plenty of eye-related extras, including glasses, dry eye treatments and swimming goggles.

AC Lens does have a toll-free number to call if you have questions about a product or your order, and there's an online chat function. The brand also stocks a good range of contact lens accessories, including storage cases and cleaning fluids.

AC Lens user reviews and ratings

There’s a range of different reviews for the AC Lens prescription contact lenses service. Many are good, praising AC Lens for the quick, efficient services on offer, as well as affordable contact lens prices - some of which are significantly cheaper than what you’d find at an eye doctor’s office. 

In one online review, a customer wrote: “All together, from ordering online to receiving was about a week. Great! I saved a ton of money because my eye doctor was going to charge triple for the same contacts.”

However, some other customers were disappointed with the company, particularly those sharing stories of long wait times for their online contact lenses order. So if you're in a rush and need contacts urgently, you may want to try a different retailer that has a rush service option.


3. GlassesUSA: Best for online contact lenses and frames

Best contact lenses online: GlassesUSA

(Image credit: GlassesUSA)

GlassesUSA Contact Lenses

Shopping for frames and contact lenses online? Head here

Free delivery: Yes | Returns policy: 14-day return policy

Good service
Regular promotions
Stocks contacts and glasses
Small returns window

Don’t let the name fool you. GlassesUSA might have lots of frames to choose from, but it also has some of the best contact lenses online. The site has a wide range of both prescription contact lenses and frames available, so if you move between the two, this is your chance to stock up.

Many of the online contact lenses on GlassesUSA are significantly cheaper than other online services and come with free shipping. You’ll also find an express shipping option, which is ideal if you’ve left your lens order right up to the last minute. 

The only drawback is there aren’t quite as many lens options as other retailers that focus solely on lenses. However, you’ll find most of the best contact lens brands in a variety of sizes, as well as color contact lenses. There’s no subscription needed, so you don’t have to commit to regular orders if you don’t want to.

GlassesUSA user reviews and ratings

There are more than 20,000 reviews of GlassesUSA on Trust Pilot at the time of writing. The vast majority of them are excellent, with a high number of reviews awarding the company 5 out of 5 stars. Users commented on the easy, fast and efficient online contact lenses service on offer, as well as the fantastic customer service team. 

One customer wrote: “This is the third time I’ve purchased my glasses from Glasses USA. I am quite pleased with the ease of the ordering process and the online chat help is fantastic.”

There aren’t many negative reviews, but the few we did find during our review process mentioned that the website can be challenging to navigate at times, depending on what eye health products you are looking for. 

A few customers also complained about discounts and coupons that appeared to be live, but they couldn’t use them on their order. So be sure to double-check the small print if you’re hoping to snag a deal.


4. Discount Contact Lenses: Best contact lenses online for a wide selection

Best contact lenses online: Discount Contact Lenses has a great selection on offer

(Image credit: Discount Contact Lenses)

Discount Contact Lenses Online

It has cheap contact lenses aplenty, but watch the shipping fees

Free delivery: Only on orders worth over $99 | Returns policy: 365 days

Great website
Good selection of lenses
Subscription gets you a discount
Free shipping only on orders of $99+

The Discount Contact Lenses site features a vast range of prescription contact lenses from different manufacturers and color contact lenses. There are lots of low prices and further reductions on offer regularly. The site is easy to use and straightforward. Choose your brand, select how many lenses you need and then input your prescription. 

You can return prescription contact lenses within a whole year of ordering them, which is a fantastic policy that puts customers first. There’s also a friendly customer service team. If you need assistance, call the 1800 number. 

There are other good options on this list, but Discount Contact Lenses online is one of our favorite choices for people who want quick, efficient service and low prices for their contact lenses online without anything getting in the way. 

Discount Contact Lenses user reviews and ratings

There aren’t as many online reviews for Discount Contact Lenses as some of the other online contact lenses services on this list, but the few we could find suggested customers had a mixture of experiences. 

On Trust Pilot, one customer wrote: “I have been ordering from them for years. AMAZING customer service!” Another says: “Love the process and will purchase from them again!”

However, some customers were less impressed. One claimed that they received defective lenses, and another said that some of the discounts could be misleading at times. If you’re shopping through Discount Contact Lenses, make sure you read up on any promotions you’re hoping to get before you hit checkout to ensure they're still live and applicable to the contact lenses you are buying.


5. Web Eye Care: Best contact lenses online from big-name brands

Best contact lenses online: Web Eye Care

(Image credit: WebEyeCare)

Web Eye Care

The best online contact lenses store for eye health advice

Free delivery: Yes | Returns policy: 60 days

Great customer service
Quick and efficient
Good discounts
Some discounts can be confusing

Web Eye Care stocks a vast selection of online prescription contact lenses, color contact lenses and frames. There’s a wide range of choice of big-name contact lens brands, the customer experience is simple, and there are several different payment options available.

Web Eye Care says it provides 24/7 customer service. You can schedule a call with a customer service rep, or there’s an online chat feature too, which is handy if you can’t step away from your desk at work to take a call. 

A subscription allows you to pick the number of boxes of contact lenses you’d like to order and how often you’d like them. You can pause at any time, and you get 10% off with your subscription, which is excellent news if you’ve found a brand you love and don’t intend to find another.

There’s an option to renew your subscription with an online vision test, which is helpful if you’re happy with your contact lens prescription or don’t have any significant issues that would require a visit to an eye doctor. 

Web Eye Care user reviews and ratings

There are many great reviews of Web Eye Care on Trustpilot. 70% of the reviews rate the prescription contact lenses service as “excellent”, making it one of the top-rated on our list. 

Many customers mention the quick and easy contact lenses online ordering process and the affordable prices. One reviewer wrote: “WebEyeCare had the best pricing, easy shopping experience, quick support response, fast shipping, and thorough follow-up to make sure my order was correct. I’m very pleased with my experience and will definitely be ordering my contacts from them in the future. Highly recommend!”

There were only a few negative reviews in which people were disappointed with shipping times and discounts. However, the brand has been replying to people who aren’t happy and offering alternative solutions and explanations, which is good to see. 


6. Coastal: Best contact lenses online for customer service

Best contact lenses online: Coastal

(Image credit: Coastal)

Coastal Contact Lenses

High quality lenses, and an overall great buyer's experience

Free delivery: No, but on-site coupons can get you free shipping over $99 | Returns policy: 30-day return policy

Good site 
Price match scheme
Some restrictions on returns
Prices aren’t the cheapest

When buying contact lenses online from the Coastal site, if you’re anything like us, you’ll find the simple and stylish design easy to navigate and refreshing – especially compared to other brands on this list. 

Coastal stocks prescription contact lenses, frames and sunglasses too. There’s a decent range of contact lenses on offer, and you can choose between daily contact lenses, weekly contacts, color contact lenses and more to get started, or you can shop by brand.

However, you won’t find every brand or type of contact lens here. There’s a streamlined offering, but you’ll find most of the notable names are available. Coastal stocks online contact lenses from Acuvue, Soflens, PureVision, Focus, Air Optix, Proclear, and Biomedics, catering to a range of prescription types from single vision to bifocal and astigmatism

There’s a customer service team on hand 24/7 to offer help and advice. There are discounts across the site if you spend more than $99 and an on-site coupon page that provides customers with $15 savings on orders over $99. There’s also a contact lens price match policy, but we recommend reading the small print as there are a few conditions.

Coastal contact lenses user reviews and ratings

There are thousands of Coastal reviews on Trustpilot, and more than 80% of them rate the online contact lenses service as “excellent”. Many customers mention the excellent customer service offered by Coastal and the efficient returns process, which makes this prescription contact lenses service stand out above the rest.

“Coastal has always done a great job, appreciate the ease of ordering, helpful with processing insurance, on time delivery, plus pricing is great,” writes one customer.

We took a look at some of the negative reviews, and it seems that many of the less-than-satisfied customers had particular problems. For example, one customer writes that the frames weren’t the color they expected or the team at Coastal had made a mistake with a prescription. These aren’t ideal but felt more like one-off issues than problems with the service as a whole.


7. Contacts Direct: Best contact lenses online to buy with insurance

Best contact lenses online: Contacts Direct

(Image credit: Contacts Direct)

Contacts Direct

A simple site that makes buying online contact lenses a breeze

Free delivery: Yes, on standard shipping (7 to 10 business days) | Returns policy: 6 months

Great prices
Good customer service
Not much info on site
Browsing experience isn’t always easy

There's a massive range of online contact lenses on offer at Contacts Direct, including all the most popular brands, as well as others that are only a few clicks away. The site can get confusing, but it's mostly because there's so much choice and many different banners detailing discounts. 

Contacts Direct offers free shipping, and there's a range of discounts, sales and on-site coupons. There's also a price match service, as well as discounts if you buy an entire year's worth of contact lenses in one go.

Contacts Direct is one of the best options on this list for contacts lens insurance. It deals with your insurer directly and takes payment from them, which leaves you to cover any excess. This is a straightforward way to buy online contact lenses.

Contacts Direct user reviews and ratings

There are many great reviews of the service offered by Contacts Direct on Trustpilot. Customers mention the excellent prices, as well as quick service and delivery times. One user wrote: “Easy and cheap! Got my lenses quickly. Will definitely use again.” 

Many of the negative reviews on Trustpilot have been addressed by Contacts Direct, which is good to see. A few customers even edited their thoughts after receiving good customer service later. This isn’t ideal, but it’s positive to note that if you do have a problem, there’s a good chance Contacts Direct will rectify it for you. 

One customer wrote that they received an order, but one box was missing, so Contacts Direct sent it as a super fast delivery, and it got to them the next day.


8. Lenscrafters: Best contact lenses online for in-person care too

Best contact lenses online: LensCrafters

(Image credit: LensCrafters)

Lenscrafters

Ideal if you need prescription contact lenses and regular eye exams

Free delivery: Yes | Returns policy: Three days

The world’s biggest eyewear supplier
Lots of eye health advice
Trusted service
Prices are higher than others

Lenscrafters is a little different to the other brands in our best contact lenses online guide because it’s a huge eyewear retailer with brick and mortar stores, as well as an online contact lenses service. 

This means the service is generally excellent, as the brand has long-standing experience and a solid reputation. The choice of online contact lenses at Lenscrafters is good, but you might notice a mark-up in terms of price because there’s much more for the business to consider.

However, there are plenty of different discounts and offers. There are no subscriptions available here, but there are discounts on annual supplies of contact lenses, so it pays to buy in bulk. 

Because Lenscrafters has been around for so long, it’s also trusted in eye health advice and experience. So if you’re looking for a truly reliable service, Lenscrafters should be your first port of call.

1800 Contacts user reviews and ratings

There are many different reviews online for Lenscrafters, with many people reviewing both their experience in-store and online. The majority are positive, with people saying they trust the brand, there’s a lot of choice and the eye doctors who work there know what they’re doing. 

One reviewer wrote: “Great selection. Very pricey though. Good if you need some name brand glasses. They’re very helpful and big on contact lenses.”

This is the main negative point customers make. Lenscrafters is quite expensive compared to other services, especially if you factor in online contact lenses discounts and subscription reductions that you might find elsewhere.


9. Walgreens: Best for color contact lenses online

Best contact lenses online: Walgreens Online Contact Lenses

(Image credit: Walgreens)

Walgreens Contact Lenses

The best contact lenses online for multiple vision needs

Free delivery: Yes | Returns policy: 30 days with exceptions

Backed up by nearly 10,000 stores 
Free shipping
Lots of big contact lens brands
No subscriptions available

The Walgreens Contact Lenses services are part of the bigger Walgreens brand. It’s a simple site with information for those who might be new to wearing contact lenses and need more advice about what to look for, what to expect, and how to choose the best contact lenses online for them.

There’s a massive range of lenses to choose from and advice about finding the best ones for you. We like the simple but extensive FAQ section on the site, including how to wear contact lenses, how to take them out, how long they last and much more.

At the time of writing, there are some good discounts available on selected prescription contact lenses, including 20% off all contact lenses, as well as 30% off eyeglasses and sunglasses. There are also regular reductions on specific online contact lenses.

You’ll also find other accessories available to buy, including contact lens cleaning solution and contact lens cases. 

Walgreens Contact Lenses user reviews and ratings

It’s tricky to find reviews online specifically for the contact lenses service offered by Walgreens. Some reviews we did find were quite negative, citing problems with the lenses themselves and flagging up that it can be difficult to get refunds, as well as shipping issues.

However, there are many good reviews for the Walgreens Multi-Purpose Contact Lens Solution if you’re looking for some cleaning products, too, with customers saying it’s better than branded options.


10. Walmart Contacts: Best for disposable contact lenses

Best contact lenses online: Walmart Contacts Lenses

(Image credit: Walmart)

Walmart Contacts

Stock up on contact lenses online... while ordering some groceries

Free delivery: Yes | Returns policy: 365 days

Large, well-known brand
Well designed site
Not the cheapest prices
No subscription options

Walmart is a massive brand with lots to offer, but it also has a good range of contact lenses online and a service to help you find the right ones for you. You’ll find everything you need for optimum eye health on the Walmart Contacts website, like a vast range of lenses, including color contact lenses, frames, contact lens solution and eye drops for all kinds of problems.

Prices are reasonable, but they aren’t the lowest on this list. You’ll find better discounts from online retailers that specialize in contact lenses online and don’t have real-life stores too. While there's a 365-day returns policy for ripped or defective contacts, lenses manufactured by Johnson & Johnson VisionCare, Inc., Alcon, and Bausch + Lomb have a separate defective lens return policy.

Shipping is always free, and if your order climbs above $35, you’ll be upgraded to next-day delivery status, which is good to know if you’re in a rush. Walmart also offers some other deals on multiple purchases of prescription contact lenses but doesn’t provide subscriptions.

Walmart Contacts user reviews and ratings

Consumers Advocate.org has a current rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars for Walmart Contacts, which it describes as "very good". The Wal-Mart Vision Center has a rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars on ConsumerAffairs.

Online reviews of Walmart Contacts Lenses are mostly good. Many people comment on the range of brands available, the fast delivery, and the customer service if a contact lens arrived with the wrong prescription or torn. One reviewer explained how, "Delivery is timely. When wrong prescription was delivered I received an immediate refund. Their prices and discounts are very good. I would order from them again."

Other people weren’t happy with some slower delivery times and prescription errors, so it does depend on your personal experience. One customer complained that, "I have been waiting over a week for a reply. This is terrible customer service. I highly recommend shopping elsewhere."


Best contact lenses online FAQ

Choosing the best contact lenses online for you

This speaks very directly to what type of contact lenses you need, how often you wish to wear them, and whether they need to have any extra features. Some contact lenses are designed to be disposable, so you’d wear them once and then throw them away. 

Other contact lenses are designed for longer wear, and come offer colored lenses for various reasons – both medical and fashion. For these types, it's important to learn how to clean contact lenses properly. 

Generally speaking, contact lenses come in the following varieties:

  • Soft contact lenses
  • Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses
  • Extended wear contact lenses
  • Disposable contact lenses

What are the best online contact lens brands?

This is subjective, as the best contact lenses online for your eye health needs will be different to the next person. That said, there are a few brands that stand out thanks to the superior fit, moisture content and comfort of the lenses they make. 

In our experience, the best contact lens brand is Acuvue by Johnson & Johnson. Acuvue makes contact lenses for astigmatism, as well as multifocals, transition lenses (UV blocking), contact lenses for dry eyes, and lenses for overnight use. 

You can buy Acuvue contact lenses online in packs of 12 through 90, depending on the type of lens you need. They are pricier than cheaper contact lens brands though, but we trust them for quality, comfort and accuracy. 

Best contact lenses: Acuvue Moist

(Image credit: Acuvue by Johnson & Johnson)

Where to find the best contact lenses online

The best contact lenses prices online are usually found at the cheaper retailers, such as AC Lens. This site offers big discounts, so you can usually find very low prices on top-rated contact lenses here.

Another place to look is Discount Contact Lenses Online, but it only offers free shipping on orders over $99. Clearly this is a place to buy online contact lenses in bulk, rather than one box a month.

There are more online contact lens brands than ever before too, so it’s important to do your research. Price pays a key part in any decision. How much are you wiling to spend on contact lenses each month? Some sites are happy to replace torn contact lenses or exchange unopened boxes if your subscription changes, while others won't. 

Ultimately, the online contact lens provider you choose comes down to whether you want the cheapest prices and biggest brands, or you value high levels of customer services and member exclusives.

Best contact lenses online: An image of two soft contact lenses sat on a blue surface

(Image credit: Getty)

How much do the best contact lenses online cost?

How much you pay for contacts lenses online varies depending on your prescription. Customized RGP lenses, for instance, can cost upwards of $40 per lens. While a 30-pack of more commonly prescribed contact lenses cost around $1 per lens. 

What you pay out of pocket depends on your eye insurance plan, so you’ll need to have that information handy when placing an order. The best contact lenses online retailers will usually state whether you can use HSA or FSA dollars to buy contacts.


Can you use vision insurance to buy online contact lenses?

With regards to vision insurance and contact lenses, if a plan is nationwide, you should double-check that it works in your area or with your provider of choice. Most sites should allow you to enter your ZIP code to review coverage areas. Some plans may offer only some benefits in certain locations, so review the details very carefully before committing. 

Once you find what you believe to be the best contact lenses for you, determine what (if any) insurance the site accepts. Lastly, there’s the monthly premium to consider. A lower monthly premium typically means you’ll spend more on whatever services you end up needing, and the reverse is also generally true. 

A woman puts in contact lenses that she bought online

(Image credit: Getty)

Is it safe to wear contact lenses?

Many people ask are contact lenses safe, and they are as long as you wear them correctly, they are prescribed by a doctor, and you follow proper care and hygiene. To prevent any issues, don’t wear contact lenses for longer than recommended by your eye doctor. Don't sleep in them and don't share lenses with another person.

If you wear dailies, use a new pair of disposable contact lenses every day, as these lenses aren't designed for multiple days of wear. Dry eyes are easier to scratch with contact lenses, so talk to your eye doctor if you have ongoing trouble.

You also need to practice good hand hygiene to prevent bacteria from finding its way into your eyes. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before placing or removing contact lenses. Also, regularly wash the storage case your contacts sit in.


What to do if contact lenses sting your eyes or get stuck

If your contact lenses feel uncomfortable, remove them as soon as you can. If you have something in your eye, the lens can be rinsed with solution and put in again. If the discomfort or soreness persists, visit your eye doctor to see if there's an underlying problem.

If your soft contact lens gets stuck in your eye, don’t panic. This happens from time to time, especially if you have fallen asleep while wearing them. It is easy to sort out by using eye drops or multi-purpose contact lens solution on the eye, then blinking until the lens is more hydrated and can move again. 

If your hard contact lens is stuck, wash your hands then gently press on its edge, as this may be enough to dislodge it. Because of the nature of hard lenses, you should avoid massaging it if the lens doesn’t budge. No luck? Then see your eye doctor as soon as possible.

A person uses solution to clean a contact lens

(Image credit: Getty)

How to store contact lenses, including dailies and reusable contact lenses

Your contact lenses will come with clear instructions on how to use them, and this includes how to store and clean them.

  • The easiest contact lenses to store are daily disposable lenses. These single-use contact lenses are used straight from the packet, where they are already stored in solution. When you are done wearing them for the day, simply dispose of them. While the lenses themselves are too small to be recycled, the packaging can often be recycled.
  • Reusable contact lenses come with a case that are clearly marked with two compartments for your left and right lens, and provide a leak-proof way to keep your contact lenses safely stored in solution until it is time to wear them again.
  • Hard lenses are stored in the same way as soft lenses in a case with a solution, but in some instances, they can also be stored dry.

If you wear reusable lenses, they must be cleaned and stored properly after every use to avoid infection. You must also make sure the case is cleaned thoroughly too, and replaced after three months at the most.


How many hours a day can you wear contact lenses for?

Some people’s eyes can handle contact lenses for longer periods without needing a break, while others are more at risk of infection when contacts are worn for long periods. 

Some contact lenses are made to be worn longer than others, so it also depends on the type of contacts you use. Fr most people, wearing contact lenses overnight vastly increases the chances of eye infection.

According to All About Vision, our eyes need oxygen to remain healthy. Wearing contacts lenses too often can lead to oxygen deprivation. So take your contacts out regularly, especially before bed. 

Best contact lenses online: An image of a single contact lens placed upside down on a blue surface

(Image credit: Getty)

The best contact lenses online for astigmatism

Toric contact lenses are designed for people who have astigmatism. Astigmatism is an imperfection in the eye’s curvature, which causes distorted vision. This usually means the cornea is oblong like an egg instead of being spherical. Astigmatism is common, affecting more than three million people in America every year.

Toric lenses must stay in a specific position on the eye to correct astigmatism. They are usually made of soft materials like hydrogel, though some are made of Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP), also called Gas Permeable (GP) materials. 

Some toric lenses are weighted at the bottom to ensure they stay in the right location on your eye. This prevents them from rotating and only allows them to move vertically when you blink.

According to Foothill Optometric Group, GP lenses, while not as popular as soft lenses, don’t contain water and are therefore less likely to attract bacteria. A single pair can even last a full year if you take care of them properly.

Most online contact lens companies sell corrective toric lenses in soft and GP form. Talk with your doctor to determine which option is right for you.

A woman places a contact lens onto her hazel-colored eye

(Image credit: ShutterStock)

What are multifocal contact lenses?

Multifocal lenses may be the best option if you're dealing with presbyopia or age-related farsightedness. Also called near/far contact lenses, one lens has more than one prescription to help you see near and far. CooperVision explains there are pros and cons to using these lenses. 

"On the plus side, you can usually see without wearing glasses, your range of vision is better and the transition between prescriptions is smoother. On the other hand, the viewing experience is very different and might take some time to get used to."

New contact lens wearers usually experience hazy or shadowed vision during the transition. These lenses also happen to be expensive since they're more complex.

If multifocal lenses don’t sound appealing, there are other options. For example, you could wear contact lenses with reading glasses, or use monovision or bifocal contacts. If you’re willing to spend the money, you might also want to ask your eye doctor about lens implants.


How to buy online contact lenses with insurance

To get financial assistance for your eye care products, including contact lenses, you need insurance. Typically, regular medical insurance covers a visit to the optometrist but doesn't cover additional purchases such as glasses or lenses.

There are a multitude of plans available, and each one is different. Generally, insurance covers all or part of the cost of contact lenses, as well as a fraction or all of the cost of the doctor's visit as long as you're within your plan's network. Check ahead of time to ensure the eye doctor you're visiting is covered by your plan. 

Most plans cover an annual eye exam, so if you go more often you'll have to pay out-of-pocket costs. Coverage also usually covers part of some eye surgeries, including LASIK. If you need unique contact lenses, such as photochromic lenses, your insurance will cover part of that cost.

However, if you rarely go to the eye doctor, you can use a health savings account (HSA) to pay for the visit. This isn’t viable long term or for those who often need new contact lenses, but it can work for people between jobs or who are in school.

Contact lenses glossary

  • Astigmatism: A condition that means your cornea is irregularly shaped, which can cause distorted vision.
  • Bifocal: Contact lenses or glasses that have two different focal areas – one for close-up, another one for distance.
  • Cleaning solution: Many types of contact lenses need to be cleaned with a special saline solution.
  • Contact lenses: Thin, curved lenses that are placed on the surface of your eyes to correct vision or change eye color. 
  • Cornea: The clear tissue on the front of your eye that covers up your iris and pupil and lets light in.
  • Daily wear lenses: Contact lenses worn when you’re awake that you remove at the end of the day and clean.
  • Disposable contact lenses: Contact lenses that are worn only briefly, sometimes for just a day and sometimes for up to a fortnight.
  • Extended wear lenses: Contact lenses that aren’t removed for sleeping and can be worn continuously, often for a week and sometimes for a whole month.
  • Iris: This is the colored part of your eye, it helps with the opening and closing of your pupil.
  • Multifocal: Contact lenses or glasses that have two different focal areas – bifocal and trifocals are both multifocal. 
  • Pupil: The small and dark bit of your eye in the centre that opens and closes to let in light and determines the visual information your retina will receive. 
  • Retina: This is the tissue found at the back of your eye. It receives light and images, which it converts to electrical impulses that are carried by the optic nerve to the brain.
  • Soft contact lenses: Contact lenses made of soft plastic with a high water content. They tend to be more comfortable for those trying contact lenses for the first time.
  • Trifocal: Contact lenses or glasses that have three different focal areas – usually one for reading, another for mid-distance and a third for long distance.