About 45 million Americans wear contact lenses, with women accounting for over 65% of wearers. With such demand, it’s no surprise that there is a variety of online vendors offering to supply you with contacts.
Lens.com is one of the oldest online vision stores in the United States. In fact, it was the first to devote itself exclusively to contact lenses. Although it now has many competitors, Lens.com continues to offer some of the lowest sticker prices online.
But how is the company keeping up on the customer service front? Does the service compare as favorably as the prices? We thoroughly tested Lens.com in 2020 and will share all of the details so you can decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
- Low per-box prices and a price-matching guarantee mean you can’t beat the affordability.
- A wide range of contact brands, models and prescription powers.
- A good return policy.
- Attentive customer service.
- Several communication channels, such as toll-free lines, emails, and live chat.
- Accepts HSA/FSA payments.
- Potential for pricing confusion with rebates as well as processing and shipping fees.
- Help chat pop-ups on the website can become an annoyance.
- Some have experienced delays in shipping and order fulfillment.
Lens.com offers unmatched, low prices for prescription contact lenses. It’s particularly economical if you buy large quantities of the lenses you love. The website of this venerable company is showing its age a bit and lacks some of the newer, faster navigation options that other online sellers now use. But the customer service is excellent. We can recommend Lens.com for anyone who needs affordable contacts. As you look for maximum savings, however, just be mindful about the potential for processing fees and the difference between a discount and a rebate.
Lens.com has a wide selection of contact lenses, with very impressive prices particularly for large quantities. Great customer service.
With the strength of its customer service, it’s no wonder how Lens.com has thrived for so long even in an increasingly competitive industry. You can find great deals here. Just make sure you understand the rebate structure.
- Why you should trust us
- What does Lens.com offer?
- Disposable or soft contact lenses
- Gas permeable contact lenses
- Aphakic contact lenses
- Online vision test
- How to Buy from Lens.com
- Shipping with Lens.com
- How you can pay - insurance, HSA, and FSA eligibility
- How we evaluate health services and products
Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally this review of Lens.com, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Lens.com was founded in 1995 as an alternative for contact lens wearers who wanted long-term savings and reliable supply. When the company first began, the market was still largely dominated by independent optometrist stores, which offered discounted or free vision tests and personable relationships, but simultaneously added big markups for contact lenses or eyeglasses.
At a time when putting your credit card details online was still considered a gamble, Lens.com opted for holding large stocks of contact lenses from all major brands. It would then mail its clients 3-month, 6-month or even yearly supplies.
As basic a service as this is now, the company was also among the first to allow its clients to set up automatic subscriptions and referral programs. Over the last decade, however, the company resisted expanding its product catalogue. Last year, it began offering online vision tests in select states.
Available products from Lens.com
Contact lenses at Lens.com fall into four categories:
Disposable (soft gel) contact lenses
Gas permeable contact lenses
Aphakic contact lenses
Online vision tests
At Lens.com, you’ll find a very extensive selection of all of the familiar and popular contact lens brands, including (among many others):
- Air Optix
Disposable contact lenses are the most widely used type of contacts in the U.S. 90% of contact lens wearers use soft contacts, so they are logically also the biggest-selling product at Lens.com. Made from soft gel or silicon, these lenses are softer on the cornea and provide better oxygenation for the eyes.
The Lens.com collection of soft contact lenses includes:
Prescription single-use contacts
Also known as “dailies”, these are contact lenses meant to be used once and discarded, rather than stored in a small case with a sterile solution. They are considered the gold standard when it comes to comfort and hygiene. Since you don’t have to manipulate them, dailies leave very slim chances of getting contaminated or infecting your eye.
However, they’re also known for being relatively expensive over time, typically sold in boxes of 30 to 60 individually packaged lenses.
Prices for Lens.com dailies range from $50 to $65 for 60 lenses (a one-month supply).
Prescription one-week, two-week or monthly disposables
Typically made from similar, but slightly more resilient materials as dailies, the monthly disposable contacts and weekly/bi-weekly contact lenses usually need to be removed every night and stored in a sterile solution while you sleep.
Since you still must regularly discard them, these lenses are quite safe and comfortable to use, provided you’re strict about washing your hands before putting them on. Over the long term, they tend to be slightly cheaper than single-use contacts. These contacts usually come in boxes of 6, which will last you 3-6 months depending on the model.
Prices on Lens.com range from $25 to $45 per box.
Novelty or cosmetic contact lenses
Lens.com’s cosmetic contact lenses are useful if you want to change your look for a couple of weeks, even if you don’t have any vision problems.
If you do need vision correction, Lens.com sells a wide variety of “natural” cosmetic contact lenses, which offer traditional eye colors such as hazel, blue, or gray. These are often bi-weekly or monthly disposable lenses and will require a prescription.
If you just want a radical change for one night (such as completely red eyes to go with a Halloween costume), you can also choose from Lens.com’s novelty selection, where you’ll find over 50 different color combinations. Many of them are inspired by anime, superheroes, and horror movie tropes.
Prices range from $25 to $150 per pair.
Toric contact lenses
Most contact lenses offer standardized base curvatures and prescription powers designed specifically for near- and farsightedness. However, a large number of people with these conditions also suffer from astigmatism, which impairs the ability of standard contact lenses to fully correct blurry or fuzzy vision. Toric lenses add Axis and cylinder modifications meant to address this problem.
You can find toric lenses in either single-use or monthly versions. Single-use contact lenses are available in boxes of 30, with prices starting at $35 per box. Meanwhile the monthly toric contact lenses come in boxes of 6 and cost between $28 and $50 per box.
Far more rigid than their soft gel cousins, gas permeable contact lenses remain in use because they can handle stronger prescriptions. They’re also great for people who have unusual eye sizes and may not be able to find the right base curvature or diameters from commercial brands.
Gas permeable contact lenses are typically made to order, which also means they are not disposable. Instead, you’ll need to maintain them and have them professionally cleaned on a regular basis. With good care, they can last up to 2 to 5 years.
Since they last so much longer, prices for gas permeable contact lenses start at $80 per pair.
Aphakic contact lenses are a special type of lens meant for people with aphakia (people who have had their natural eye lens removed, usually due to cataract surgery).
Just like gas permeable contact lenses, aphakic contact lenses last much longer than disposable lenses and come with maintenance requirements:
- You store them at night in a special solution.
- They require professional sanitizing every 4 to 6 months.
Lens.com’s aphakic contact lenses for adults start at $150 per lens. A pair can last for 2 to 3 years.
Through most of its history, Lens.com has limited its business to “contact lens replacement”. It sold new contacts for people who already had a valid prescription. Lens.com has always provided a wide selection in order for these customers to find the brand they prefer.
Now, for a variety of reasons, Lens.com has broadened its services, partnering with Visibly to offer online vision tests in order for people to get or renew a prescription for corrective eyewear.
All you need for an online vision test are:
- A steady internet connection
- A tablet or computer
- A quiet space that’s at least 10 feet wide
- $30 to $40 – the price of this online vision test
The test itself takes about 15 minutes, including the necessary time to open an account, read the instructions, and adjust your lights a bit. The test helps you set up the room to ensure the most accurate results possible and then guides you through a series of screens. At this point, the nature of the vision test becomes recognizable – you will identify figures and letters while standing at different distances from the screen, similar to the letter chart process you’d use in a traditional optician’s office.
After an ophthalmologist reviews your test results, this doctor will issue you a prescription within 24 hours. You can either download that prescription and print it out, or upload it to your Lens.com account. Opting for the latter option allows you to use it to buy contact lenses on the site.
This test costs $30 for a contact lenses prescription and $40 for a traditional eyeglass prescription.
If you already have a prescription and your doctor’s contact information, Lens.com provides a straightforward experience:
Choose your contacts
Select your prescription power
Add the contacts to your cart
During checkout, you will have the option to upload a scanned copy of your prescription or to give Lens.com your optician’s contact information – if you choose the latter option, you may have to wait an extra workday while the company verifies your prescription.
The shopping experience
Though Lens.com’s website is not the prettiest, it does its job quite well. You can search your model by brand, manufacturer, and type. However, we would love to see Lens.com introduce the ability to sort results by popularity, rating or price.
If you browse around for three pages or more, you may discover a mildly intrusive pop-up offering help through Lens.com’s live chat option. If you need help, of course, this feature is fantastic – our testers found service reps to be courteous, patient, and very prompt. But if you don’t need assistance, the pop-ups tend to become annoying because the “X” to close the feature isn’t very easy to find.
Prices are competitive, but in order to see them, you must click on the product. You may need to play around with the different bundling options to see exactly how much you will be paying per box.
When shopping, keep an eye out for two things:
Lens.com often presents you with the option of a “one-month supply” or a “three-month supply” by default (which may include 2 to 6 boxes).
Read the prices or savings carefully. Almost any 3- or 6-month supplies yield a lower per-box price – a discount Lens.com always prominently displays next to the product’s picture. However, some of the products feature an additional discount box displaying the final price “after rebate”.
A rebate is not the same as a discount. Both are very valuable for customers, but when it comes to a rebate, just remember you pay the full price up-front and then will receive the aforementioned rebate later (up to 10 weeks later) as a prepaid VISA card mailed to you.
This rebate is also subject to additional terms and conditions. For instance, if you live in Puerto Rico or some overseas territories, you won’t receive it.
One of the drawbacks of Lens.com is the occasionally surprising difference between the product price and what you end up paying. In addition to above-average shipping prices, they also add an unpredictable “processing fee” that can make your final bill bulkier. Keep an eye out for that.
Lens.com keeps its shipping options transparent and flexible. Depending on your location (United States, Canada, or International), you will have several carriers and priorities from which to choose.
Within the continental United States, standard shipping starts at $7.95 and uses USPS Priority Mail. You can also choose FedEx 2nd Day or FedEx Next Day delivery for $14.95 or $20.95 respectively.
For Canadian clients, Lens.com offers:
- Standard Shipping, which takes 4 to 9 business days, for $9.99
- Express Shipping, which takes 3 to 5 business days, for $17.99
International shipping options include:
- Standard shipping ($19.95), which takes up to 12 days to reach your country’s customs office
- International Express shipping ($35.95) through FedEx, which takes up to 5 business days to reach your country’s customs office
Naturally neither Lens.com nor FedEx can account for any additional importation fees or customs delays.
On the other hand, the processing fee is harder to justify or explain. You won’t know how much it will be until the end. In our testing, these fees seem to start at around $12, but can sometimes be as high as $45 to $50. How Lens.com calculates this amount – whether it’s influenced by the size of your order, your choice to subscribe or other details – isn’t totally clear.
Lens.com accepts all major credit cards as well as mailed money orders, but doesn’t accept PayPal.
Contact lenses are eligible for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) purchases. Lens.com lets you use them directly on its checkout page, as long as they are tied to a major debit card company. Otherwise, you should apply for a refund separately.
If you have a Vision Health plan, you can also claim a refund from your insurance provider. Most companies list Lens.com as “out of network”, which means it will not take direct credit from your insurance. Instead, the company’s customer service agents send you an itemized bill at your request.
Returns, refunds, and customer care
By all accounts, Lens.com offers very good and personable customer service with quick response times. It also processes returns promptly and doesn’t put up unnecessary barriers to get off the hook. The company has been around for a long time in website-years; we suspect good customer service is one of its secrets to success.
You can return most of its disposable contact lenses at any point, as long as the package is still unopened and unexpired. Simply contact Lens.com via live chat, email or phone so that it can provide you with a Return Merchandise Authorization number. Lens.com will refund your original payment method in 3 to 5 business days.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For health-related products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) and product(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service and/or product high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?