Choosing the best contact lenses online is easier than ever, giving you access to a huge range of trusted contact lens brands at significantly cheaper prices than what you’d pay in store or at an eye doctor’s office. When buying online contact lenses, you can make significant savings on a range of different contact lens types, including colored contacts, lenses designed for astigmatism, disposables, and a host of prescription contact lenses (a popular form of corrective vision wear).
The best contact lenses online are made by brands including Acuvue, Clariti, Bioinfinity, Proclear and Air Optix, with the top-rated online contact lens retailers including 1800 Contacts, GlassesUSA, and budget brand AC Lens. If you’ve been researching the best eyeglasses online too, you may already be familiar with some of those names, and happily many of those companies sell contact lenses and frames, so you can order both with the one company.
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1800 Contacts is our pick of the Top 10 best contact lenses online retailers thanks to its large product range, affordable prices, significant discounts and well-rated customer service. Another bonus: if you already own one of the best vision insurance plans, 1800 Contacts will work with your insurer, saving you the hassle. GlassesUSA is also worth consideration, especially considering how it regularly offers 25% off a variety of online contact lenses.
For those looking to buy prescription contact lenses, we’d recommend going with a trusted eyewear retailer that has proven experience with prescription orders. Many of the best contact lenses online companies have this experience, plus the majority of them offer a prescription checking service so you can be doubly sure your order is correct. Some even offer digital eye exams, though the American Academy of Optometry recommends having an in-person eye exam every two years.
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
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.
- Read our 1800 Contacts review
2. AC Lens: Best contact lenses online on a budget
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.
- Read our AC Lens review
3. GlassesUSA: Best for online contact lenses and frames
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.
- Read our GlassesUSA review
4. Discount Contact Lenses: Best contact lenses online for a wide selection
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.
- Read our Discount Contact Lenses review
5. Web Eye Care: Best contact lenses online from big-name brands
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.
- Read our Web Eye Care review
6. Coastal: Best contact lenses online for customer service
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.
- Read our Coastal Contact Lens review
7. Contacts Direct: Best contact lenses online to buy with insurance
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.
- Read our Contacts Direct review
8. Lenscrafters: Best contact lenses online for in-person care too
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.
- Read our Lenscrafters review
9. Walgreens: Best for color contact lenses online
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.
- Read our Walgreens Contacts review
10. Walmart Contacts: Best for disposable contact lenses
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."
- Read our Walmart Contacts review
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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.
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
Which brand of contact lenses are the best?
This is subjective, as the best online contact lenses for your eye health needs will be different to the next persons. That said, there are a few brands that stand out from the rest, thanks to the superior fit, moisture content and comfort of the contact lenses they make. In our experience, the best contact lens brand is Acuvue by Johnson & Johnson. The brand 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 to 90, depending on the type of lens you need. They are pricier than cheaper contact lens brands though, but we highly recommend them for quality, comfort and accuracy.
The best contact lenses prices online are usually found at the cheaper retailers, such as AC Lens. This site offers deep discounts, so you can usually find very low prices on big name contact lenses here. Another place to look is the aptly named Discount Contact Lenses Online, but it only offers free shipping on orders over $99, so this is a place to buy contact lenses in bulk, rather than a box a month.
Where to find the best contact lenses online
There are also many things to take into consideration when buying new contact lenses. Some sites have options to help you with keeping your optical prescription up-to-date but others leave you to it so how much hand-holding do you need? Some sites have detailed and educational information on what you’re putting in your eye, while others maximize their efforts on providing a wide range or low prices instead.
And there is an increasing number of contact lens suppliers on the market so it’s more important than ever to do your homework to make sure you’re really going with the best option.
As always, price pays a key part in any decision. How much are you willing to invest (especially if it’s a regular outgoing rather than a one-off glasses purchase)? How much do you value customer service? Some sites are happy to replace torn lenses or exchange if your subscription changes, others not so much.
And, as with other purchases, ease of transaction is crucial. Do you really care about a slick and stylish website? Do you care more about speed and efficiency? Does shipping time make a difference? Do you want to spend all day reading about the history of contact lenses?
Ultimately, whichever contact lens provider you choose will come down to which of these is the biggest selling point for you. When it comes to contact lenses please do your research carefully. Get to know your own needs and preferences and read a lot of reviews. Speak to your eye doctor too and make sure you’re getting the right deal and choosing a provider for the right reasons.
How much do the best contact lenses online cost?
How much you pay for contacts online is going to vary depending on your prescription. Customized RGP lenses, for instance, can cost upwards of $40 per lens while a 30-pack more commonly prescribed lenses are about $1 per lens. What you pay out of pocket depends on your eye insurance plan as well, so you’ll need to have that information handy when placing your first order. Many websites will also note whether you can use an HSA or FSA account to buy certain 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.
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 protocol when handling them – including taking them out. To prevent any problems, don’t wear contact lenses for longer than recommended by your eye doctor, don't sleep in them, and don't share your contact lenses with another person.
If you do wear dailies, dispose of them properly and use a new pair of disposable contact lenses every day, as these types of lenses are not designed for multiple days of wear. If you're experiencing dry eyes, they are easier to scratch with contact lenses, so talk to your eye doctor if you're having 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, and regularly wash the storage case your contacts sit in if you wear reusable prescription contact lenses. Additionally, before you swim or take a shower, remove your contact lenses to prevent chemicals and bacteria from getting trapped against your eyes.
What should you do if contact lenses sting your eyes or get stuck?
If your contact lenses feel in any way uncomfortable then remove them as soon as you can. If you have something in your eye, the lens can be rinsed with its solution and put in again. If however, the discomfort or soreness persists, then you should visit your eye doctor who will be able to tell you if there is an underlying problem.
If your soft contact lens gets stuck in your eye, don’t panic! This will happen from time to time, especially if you have fallen asleep while wearing them. It is easy to sort out by using eye drops or multipurpose 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, once you have washed your hands, try gently pressing on its edge, as this may be enough to dislodge it. Because of the nature of hard lenses, you should avoid massaging it if it doesn’t budge. Another option is to use a small hard contact lens suction tool to gently remove the lens.
If the contact lens just isn’t shifting, then you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
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.
Do contacts lenses make your eyes worse?
If you go in for a checkup and discover your vision has declined, you might want to ask if your contacts are the root of the problem. In the majority of cases, myopic changes are natural and would have occurred whether or not you wore contacts. In some rare occasions, usually when using contacts incorrectly, injuries can occur.
This leads us to another common question: Can contact lenses make you go blind? In very rare instances, usually when using poor hygiene practices, an eye ulcer can develop. Left untreated, this obstruction can cause permanent vision loss. Even when treated, scar tissue can sometimes result in reduced vision. But once again, this is very rare and only affects a small portion of the population.
To prevent complications, follow your doctor’s instructions as well as the instructions on the contact lens box and solution bottle. If you start to experience any discomfort or develop red eyes, consult your doctor right away. Read this WebMD article if you want to learn more about corneal ulcers.
How many hours a day can you wear contact lenses?
The unsatisfying but true answer is, it depends. Some people’s eyes can handle contacts for longer periods without needing a break, while others are more at risk of infection when contacts are worn for extended periods. Some lenses are made to be worn longer than others, so it also depends on the type of contacts you use. An absolute certainty is that for most people, wearing contacts overnight increases the chances of an eye infection.
According to All About Vision, our eyes need oxygen to remain healthy. Wearing contacts too often can lead to oxygen deprivation, so make sure you take your contacts out regularly, especially before going to bed. Most people can wear contacts every day without a problem, but it really depends on your doctor’s diagnosis and directions. To prevent any complications, some doctors ask that you take your contacts out an hour or two before bed every night. To be safe, always follow your doctor’s instructions for proper contact use, and replace your lenses as directed.
The best contact lenses online for Amblyopia
It’s not uncommon for young children to develop a vision disorder where nerve pathways between the brain and eyes are disrupted, making it so the burden of vision falls on just one eye. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), the most visible symptom of amblyopia is a lazy eye, but you may also notice your child has poor depth perception and eyes that don’t seem to work together.
Your child might also get frequent headaches or have loss of vision in one eye. This can, in turn, cause them to squint or strain their good eye. If not corrected in childhood, this disorder can cause permanent vision problems.
There are corrective glasses that can help children overcome or lessen amblyopia, as well as eye drops. You can also correct this problem with special contact lenses. Contact lenses draw less attention to your child and their condition, which could help their self-esteem.
You need to check with each contact delivery service to see if it offers corrective lenses specifically for amblyopia. As with any other contact order, you need a prescription from a doctor to purchase these lenses.
The best contact lenses online for astigmatism
Toric contact lenses are designed specifically 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 very common, affecting more than 3 million people in the U.S. 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, which make them harder. Some toric lenses are weighted at the bottom to make sure 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 and breed bacteria. A single pair can even last a full year if you take care of them properly.
You’ll find that most contact lens companies sell corrective toric lenses in both soft and GP form. Talk with your doctor to determine which option is right for you. If you want to fully correct astigmatism, discuss LASIK with your doctor to see if it’s an option for your eyes.
Dry eye remedies
If you wear contacts regularly, you might be one of the thousands who suffer from irritated, red eyes. To get help, make an appointment with your eye doctor to see what the best remedy for your situation is. It might be something as simple as getting prescribed eye drops or changing the lens solution you’re using. There are also specialty lenses that help with irritated eyes.
According to All About Vision, there are at least five different types of contacts to help with dry eye: Bausch + Lomb Ultra, Dailies Total 1, CooperVision Proclear, Extreme H2O and Scleral Lenses. Speak with your doctor to determine if one of these contacts is a good solution for you.
There have been rumors going around that consuming Omega-3 from fish oil supplements will help with dry eye. However, a recent National Eye Institute funded study found that these capsules are nothing but a placebo when it comes to dry eye. To get actual help, consult your eye doctor.
What is computer vision syndrome?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), prolonged screen use causes several eye and vision problems, and viewing a backlit screen, whether that be on a tablet, computer or smartphone, puts strain on your eyes. Most commonly, symptoms of computer vision syndrome (also called digital eye strain) include headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck and shoulder strain, and eye strain. Typically, these symptoms are caused by poor lighting, uncorrected vision problems, poor posture and screen glare.
To get help with digital eye strain, you need to consult your eye doctor. He or she will evaluate your eyes’ ability to focus and check for vision problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness. Your eye doctor can prescribe treatments based on what they find. Seeing your eye doctor regularly and adopting healthy screen-viewing habits should benefit your overall eye health.
Keratoconus contacts and treatments
Unlike astigmatism, which is an eye deformity, keratoconus (KC) is an eye disease that gets worse over time. Symptoms include blurred and distorted vision, progressive nearsightedness, and a sensitivity to glares and light. Physically, the cornea develops into an irregular cone shape. According to All About Vision, the first sign of KC for many people is needing to change their eyeglass or contact lens prescription every time they see their eye doctor.
When the disease first starts, it can be treated with special contacts and eyewear. The contacts must be fitted to your eye, which takes time and several visits to your ophthalmologist. If soft lenses don’t do the trick, then GP lenses are often used. However, as the disease grows, these lenses become less effective until they no longer work.
Scleral and semi-scleral lenses are another option. These larger GS contacts cover portions of the white part of the eye. Because of their shape, they put less pressure on the cornea, making them more comfortable to wear.
Prosthetic lenses treat advanced cases of KC. As with other contacts, you must get a prescription from a doctor for these custom-shape lenses. While they have proven to help healing and reduce symptoms, prosthetic lenses are very expensive – you’ll pay several thousand dollars for a fitting with a certified doctor.
When you reach a stage where contacts and eyewear no longer help your KC, it might be time to talk to your doctor about Intacs. The National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF) states that Intacs were approved in 2004 for treating KC. They are plastic inserts surgically placed beneath the eye’s surface to help reshape the cornea. The foundation further states that the procedure usually takes only 15 to 20 minutes, and you will need to come back for follow-up visits. There are risks with this procedure, including infection and blurry vision. For more information, discuss this treatment thoroughly with your doctor.
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 users usually experience hazy or shadowed vision during the transition. These lenses also happen to be very expensive since they are more complex than others.
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, see your doctor to discuss surgical procedures or lens implants.
How to choose the best online contact lens store
You can shop around at contact lens websites all you want, but to place an order you’ll need a prescription from your eye doctor. Most websites offer several ways to verify your prescription, including uploading an image of the prescription or even getting in touch with your optometrist’s office.
This even applies to zanier colored contacts or ones with a Halloween theme to really put your zombie or monster costume over the top. According to 1-800 Contacts, contacts can’t legally be sold without a prescription because the Food and Drug Administration categorizes them as a medical device.
If you don’t need vision correction but want to have some fun with your eye color, Walmart Contacts recommends talking to your eye doctor about getting a prescription for 0.00 or plano contacts.
On a similar note, keep in mind that many Halloween and novelty stores sell unlicensed colored contacts, both at physical locations and online. Health Canada, a medical association, has stated that novelty stores’ contacts usually haven’t passed safety regulations and often contain toxins and harmful materials that could damage or infect your eyes.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists says that even prescribed novelty lenses are often used incorrectly and result in vision complications, for example, scratching or cutting your cornea, which can cause an allergic reaction or infection. Of course, the most common problem with novelty lenses is vision obstruction, which can lead to accidents.
If you’re still determined to get novelty lenses to complete your costume, make an appointment with an eye doctor. To prevent complications, clean the lenses properly before putting them in, never sleep with them in and never share them with others. Above all, listen to your eye doctor's instructions for proper care, use and cleaning.
If color contacts sound like something you're interested in, there are two basic types. Prescription color contacts correct your vision while having a colored layer to change the appearance of your eye. Plano color contacts are purely for cosmetic purposes and don't correct your vision. Either way, you'll need a prescription from an eye doctor.
The cost of colored lenses varies, but generally speaking they're more expensive than regular corrective lenses. For example, a box of Air Optix Colors cost about $70 (as of March 2019) while contacts for astigmatism, night and day and several other kinds all cost around $50. Still, the Air Optix multifocal contact lenses also cost about $70, so not all clear lenses are less expensive than colored lenses
When shopping for colored contacts you'll have the choice between colored or tinted lenses. Colored lenses are typically more vibrant in color and will totally change the look of your eye. Costume lenses are also in the colored lens category, though these tend to be less opaque and very decorative.Tinted lenses are meant to be more subtle and only slightly change your eyes. These are ideal if, for example, you have very light blue eyes but want them to be slightly deeper in color.
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 is a multitude of plans available from numerous companies, and each one is different. But generally, insurance covers all or part of the cost of your contacts as well as a fraction or all of the cost of the doctor's office visit, as long as you're within your plan's network.
You should check ahead of time to make sure the eye doctor you're visiting is covered by your plan. Most plans cover an annual eye exam, and if you go more than that, you might have to pay some out-of-pocket costs. Coverage also usually covers part of some eye surgeries, including LASIK. If you need unique lenses, such as photochromic lenses, your insurance will also 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 instead. This isn’t viable long term or for those who often need new contact lenses, but it can work for those who are between jobs or 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.