1-800 Contacts Review (My Personal Experience)
I’ve had astigmatism and myopia since I was 4. (I had big round frames with thick lenses before Harry Potter made them cool).
My prescription used to change constantly. This meant multiple exams every year. I spent countless hours of my childhood in my local optometrist’s chair.
Luckily, around age 24, my vision started “settling.” Now, at age 31, my prescription has remained stable.
I still get an annual eye exam to check my overall eye health and make sure my prescription is up to date. But now I order all my prescription eyewear online.
Consumers can now enjoy the convenience and reduced prices of online shopping for their vision correction needs.
1-800 Contacts has been an industry leader in online contact sales since 1995. Here I’ll share my personal experience with ordering from them, as well as any information you need to place an order.
Where to Buy Glasses + Contacts
Best Overall: Warby Parker
Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect
Also Great: Liingo
- 1-800 Contacts is our number one recommendation for buying contact lenses online
- Their price match guarantee ensures you get the best price on the internet
- Their free lens returns policy allows you to exchange any unopened lenses
- Free lens replacement for any torn lenses
- Their customer service is 24/7 and completely live, meaning you will always get a real person helping you
- If you don’t have a current contact lens prescription, or if this is your first time getting contacts, schedule a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting with your doctor. Once you have a prescription, you can then order lenses online.
1-800 Contacts: A Quick Summary
1-800 Contacts is the oldest direct-to-consumer prescription eyewear mail service still in business. Back in the day, you could call them (guess what their phone number was) and place an order to be shipped to your house.
Now their sales take place online. They have an excellent selection, great customer service, and fast shipping times. These are the top categories I consider when shopping for contacts online. (But I’ll cover all possible considerations in this review).
Here’s what you need to place an order with 1-800 Contacts:
- A current contacts prescription from an eye doctor
- A credit/debit card
*IMPORTANT: To order lenses from 1-800 Contacts or any other online retailer, you need to have a professional contact lens fitting and exam from an eye doctor. They will provide you with a prescription, along with a brand recommendation.
However, you don’t need to buy your contacts or glasses from the eye doctor. You can take the prescription with you and order online.
You will upload this prescription at the time of purchase. 1-800 Contacts will then verify its authenticity.
Unfortunately, online retailers cannot provide you with a new prescription or contact lens fitting. That still needs to take place in person. However, once you have your prescription, you can save time and money by ordering your lenses online. 1-800 Contacts also provides an online vision exam option to renew your contact lens prescription.
Pros & Cons
- Huge selection of all major contact lens brands
- Price match guarantee
- Easy checkout process & fast shipping
- Great return policy that covers defective, torn, and unused lenses due to prescription changes
- Excellent customer service (real people answer phone calls and online chat messages)
- 25+ years of experience
- They can’t provide comprehensive contact lens fittings or eye exams
- Eye doctors help teach you about your contact lenses, so for people looking for their first pair, it’s better to get a trial pair from your eye doctor
- Sometimes lenses are unavailable, meaning you have to wait for your order (however, this is less common with 1800 contacts because of their large warehouses)
- 1800 Contacts doesn't always have the best prices, however, you can use their price match guarantee (message them via the online chat, email, or call them, and they'll beat any competitor's price by $1)
Ordering Process & Delivery
Overall, 1-800 Contacts provides a great service. If you are an experienced contact lens wearer looking for convenience or better prices, look no further.
If it's your first time getting contacts, we recommend going to your eye doctor to learn how to care for your contacts. Once you feel comfortable on your own, then you can start ordering online.
The ordering process at 1-800 Contacts is straightforward. All you need is your current contact lens prescription and a credit card.
Here’s what the process looks like:
- Add your lenses to your cart
- Create an account
- Upload your prescription
- Fill out your shipping and billing information
- Check your email
Shortly after you place your order, 1-800 Contacts will send you an email confirming your order. They will then verify your contact prescription is accurate and up to date.
1-800 Contacts processing and shipping time is faster than most other online retailers.
Once your prescription is confirmed, they will process and ship your order. Shipping options are:
- Standard — Free: 5-7 business days
- Ridiculously Fast — $14.99: 2-3 business days
- Teleported (Basically) — $19.99: 1 business day
I placed my order on Thursday with standard shipping, and my contacts arrived Sunday. (With a free contact case included).
1-800 Contacts has one of the best selections of contact lenses on the internet. They carry all major brands, including:
- Air Optix
- & More
Costs & Returns
1-800 Contacts list prices can be higher than the competition. However, as a part of their “Gajillion Percent Promise,” they have a price match guarantee.
You can take advantage of their price match guarantee by contacting their live customer support via online chat (on their website), email, or phone call.
All you have to do is tell them where you found a better price. They will then confirm the competitor pricing and reduce your cost to $1 less than the competition.
Another great feature of 1-800 Contacts is that there are no hidden fees. The price listed on their website (or a competitor's website) is the exact price you will pay. You will only pay an additional fee if you choose to expedite your shipping.
1-800 Contacts has a very generous return policy:
- They let you return any unopened lenses for store credit
- If a contact lens rips, they will send you a replacement for free
- If your prescription changes, you can return or exchange your old lenses
To start the return process, contact 1-800 Contacts via chat, email, or phone. Their live customer support will be happy to help you through the process.
What Is Their “Gajillion Percent Promise”?
1-800 Contacts’ main selling point is their Gajillion Percent Promise. There are six main components of this promise:
- Millions of contacts in stock. They own a few giant warehouses. This allows them to keep millions of contact lenses in stock and ship them quickly.
- Best-price guarantee. They will beat any competitor’s prices.
- No hidden fees. The price you see on the website is the price you pay.
- Free returns and exchanges. Any unopened contact lenses can be exchanged for free (including shipping).
- Torn lens replacement. If your lens rips, they will send you a replacement for free.
- Online prescription renewal. If your prescription expires, you can renew your prescription with their online vision exam. It costs $20, takes 10 minutes, and a licensed doctor will renew your prescription within 24 hours.
Subscription Service & Insurance Information
1-800 Contacts offers a subscription service for added convenience. You can set the delivery schedule, and they will deliver your lenses on schedule with free shipping every time.
You'll save 5% on your lenses, and you can delay, skip, or cancel your subscription at any time.
1-800 Contacts takes all types of vision insurance. They are considered in-network for:
- Anthem (EyeMed)
- Blue View Vision (EyeMed)
- Davis Vision
- Superior Vision
- United Healthcare Vision
You can use their benefit finder to check your vision insurance options.1-800 Contacts helps you save money even if they are considered out-of-network. They claim customers save an average of $105 with out-of-network benefits. They will provide a claims form for reimbursement after checkout.
1-800 Contacts Online Vision Exam
1-800 Contacts online vision exam service allows you to renew your current contact lens prescription. This is a convenient service in case your subscription expires.
This does not replace a comprehensive eye exam. It does not check for general or eye health issues. You should still schedule an annual eye exam with your eye doctor.
The process to renew your subscription is very easy. All you need is a computer or cell phone and 10 feet of space.
Read More: Types of Contact Lenses
In this article
Best Places to Buy Contacts
1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.
GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.
Best Places to Buy Glasses
Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.
Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.
Best on a Budget
EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.