Coastal Eyewear is a brand now owned by international eyecare giant, Luxottica. The site is modern and attractive, without much clutter, and provides a good user experience from the start. While it does stock plenty of the best online contact lenses, the range is small compared to the much bigger retailers.
Coastal backs up its prices with a competitor matching scheme, but the rules and regulations are very complicated. The company advertises fast shipping, but as of today, free shipping is only available with a coupon code. While its overall offering is good, it isn't the biggest or cheapest range, as we'll explain further into our review.
Coastal is also one of the best eyeglasses online (opens in new tab) companies, and is perhaps better known for its stylish frames than a robust offering of contacts. Let's now take a look at what it offers in terms of range, prices, shipping and customer service.
Coastal contact lens review: Prices and offers
Prices are tight in the online contact lens world, and even with its reduced range, Coastal isn’t coming out looking particularly good value. There’s never a huge difference between sites, but factor in shipping and it starts to mount up.
It’s entirely possible that you’ll stumble onto a coupon or offer that makes all the difference, but the ticket prices are a little high. A subscription plan with a hefty discount would help, but it’s not offered here, more’s the pity. If you're on a budget, stick with the likes of AC Lens (opens in new tab) or Discount Contact Lenses (opens in new tab), as they offer a less slick service at a slightly cheaper price.
Coastal contact lens review: Features and website
Coastal is the model of a modern internet start-up. It’s proud of its mission, and the site itself looks fabulous. It was bought by worldwide optical giant Luxottica a while back, so its charming indie roots seem a little less adorable than they used to. However, it’s still committing to its charitable aims, giving eye exams and pairs of glasses to people that need them all over the world. The design and style that it’s known for is still present, but it’s not the same company it used to be.
Coastal Contact Lens doesn't just an internet presence: the customer service department has a toll-free number and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can't quite match 1800 Contacts (opens in new tab) for customer service, but it isn't poor either. Coastal offers to price match if you find your contacts any lower elsewhere, but as with some other sites there’s a list of rules and exclusions. Good clear site, backing up Coastal’s glasses offering.
The site looks really clear and uses the modern design technique of white space with big, bold, beautiful photos of glamorous, hip people. It’s as effective as it ever was, and the site definitely draws you in to the buying experience, and the story.
Coastal’s main retail concern is its glasses, and the contact side of the site is a smaller and slighter affair. There is a range of contacts that represents most of the big-name brands, but it’s a long way away from the most comprehensive out there. Shipping costs $5.95, but if you keep an eye out there are coupons for free shipping if you’re spending $99 or more.
Their huge blog is pretty and a great read, but it’s mainly concentrating on the glasses side of the business (again) although there are a few really good contact lens-related articles. Did you know contact lenses could freeze? Well, you do now. We prefer the range of articles on Web Eye Care (opens in new tab) for pure information, but Coastal does offer plenty of advice here.(opens in new tab)
Should you buy from Coastal?
Coastal feels modern and fashionable, but has lost touch with its indie, start-up roots and gone corporate. A lot of effort has gone into its glasses division, and the contacts can feel a bit neglected if that’s your main focus. Its range is clearly a shortlist of bestsellers, and doesn’t have the broad appeal of bigger, contacts specialists.
Prices aren’t as low as you’d hope, and shipping costs you money unless you spend the big bucks. There’s no subscription scheme with the discounts that would supply, although there is a path for returning customers with returning prescriptions. Coastal’s contact lens business feel like it’s an added bonus to its impressive glasses offering rather than a fully fleshed-out idea in its own right.
Remember, if you are signed up to one of the best vision insurance (opens in new tab) plans, ask them first what they will and won't cover before making an eyewear purchase.