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1-800 CONTACTS review: Contact lenses, eye exams and insurance

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What to know before ordering from 1-800 CONTACTS

Ordering contacts can be a frustrating process. You have to update your prescription, find the right brand and research who will offer you the best price. There’s also the hassle of ordering and picking up your contacts at your eye doctor’s office. That’s where 1-800 CONTACTS comes in.

1-800 CONTACTS has been around for more than 25 years. The company provides customers with the convenience of ordering contacts online and delivering them straight to their door. Additionally, they claim to provide customer service that can help with the most challenging questions.

That said, trying to figure out where to start can still be confusing. So we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common concerns and helpful information for you to consider before ordering from 1-800 CONTACTS. 

What is 1-800 CONTACTS?

1-800 CONTACTS is an online contact lens supplier that allows you to place an order for prescription lenses without leaving home. The company was introduced in 1995 as a phone-order service for ordering prescription contacts. 

Before online marketplaces were introduced, you could call 1-800-266-8228, which spells out “1-800-CONTACT” on a keypad. From there, you would place an order for your next set of lenses. The phone number remains the same today for the company’s customer service.

Now, you can order contact lenses at the press of a button — after you’ve had your contact lens prescription verified, of course. Sound too good to be true? 

1-800 CONTACTS prides themselves on 24/7 customer service as well as price match guarantees to make your life a little easier when it comes to your vision care. 

SEE RELATED: ​​8 tips on how to buy contact lenses online 

What products does 1-800 CONTACTS sell?

1-800 CONTACTS sells prescription contact lenses, contact lens solutions and eye drops

The many brands of contact lenses they sell include:

Lenses are available in the following types:

Solutions and special eye drops, such as Lumify, are also available online. 

Does 1-800 CONTACTS offer eye exams?

Before you are able to place an order for contacts or glasses online, you need a valid prescription, which you can only get after an eye exam. 1-800 CONTACTS has that covered too.

With a program called ExpressExam, you can have your vision checked anywhere, any time. You just need to have a smartphone or computer and 10 feet of space between you and the screen. 

For the price of $20 and 10 minutes of your time, ExpressExam promises to virtually examine your vision, have it verified by a board-certified ophthalmologist and deliver a renewed prescription to you within a few hours. 

You can then use your new prescription to order contacts from 1-800 CONTACTS.

Note: Online eye exams are not the same as in-person comprehensive eye exams. If you need anything more than a prescription renewal and want to ensure the most accurate vision prescription possible, you should see an eye doctor.

READ MORE: Why an online eye test can't replace your eye doctor 

What do you need to place an order from 1-800 CONTACTS?

To place an order online, you’ll need to have your current contact lens prescription. This includes the power of your lenses as well as the brand as prescribed by your eye doctor.

When you’re ordering, you can either enter the information manually into the website or upload a photo of your prescription that you received from your eye care provider. 1-800 CONTACTS can also contact your eye doctor directly for this information.

After you’ve provided these specifics, the website’s customer service representatives will verify that your prescription is current and valid, and then the order will be shipped.

You can also text a picture of your prescription to a special number (41800) so that 1-800 CONTACTS receives it instantly, which can speed up the verification process.

Note: Although 1-800 CONTACTS has a wide selection of contact lens brands, you must order the one that is written on your prescription. If you wish to try a different brand or type of lens, ask your eye doctor which one would be best for you. Only your doctor can update the brand of lens for you.

Does 1-800 CONTACTS take insurance?

Yes, 1-800 CONTACTS accepts vision insurance from most providers. If your vision insurance provider is out of network, you can fill out a special form and send it to your provider along with your order invoice for reimbursement. 

1-800 CONTACTS in-network providers include:

1-800 CONTACTS covered out-of-network providers include:

Note that most insurance companies require you to spend your vision-related funds in one transaction. This would entail either contacts or glasses lenses (every year), eyeglass frames (every 2 years) or an eye exam (every year). 

READ MORE: Vision insurance: How it can save you money 

You can also use your HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account) benefits in combination with your insurance. However, you cannot use insurance with discounts or rebates. 

1-800 CONTACTS promotions and rebates

Speaking of discounts and rebates, 1-800 CONTACTS provides special discounts on the website. New customers can save up to $30 or 25% off their first order. Some contact lens brands may also offer a mail-in rebate that you can retrieve after you’ve made a purchase.

But as a reminder, these special offers cannot be used in combination with vision insurance. 

Does 1-800 CONTACTS price match? 

Yes, but there are some rules. If you find a lower price on another website, all you have to do is create a chat with a virtual customer service agent, ask them to verify the price, and then they’ll give you the best deal.

However, your request must fit the following criteria:

  • The competitor has to be located in the United States.

  • You can’t use both your vision insurance and a price match in a transaction.

  • Special deals must be available to the public. So you can’t present a special deal from a private doctor’s office or boutique optical shop.

  • Rebates are also matched. But you can’t use a rebate and a price match at the same time.

If you have other questions about prices, be sure to contact customer service before making a purchase.

What does it cost to order from 1-800 CONTACTS?

So what do the products from 1-800 CONTACTS cost? According to the website, contact lenses range from $30 to $70 per box. Each box contains a different quantity of lenses, depending on if they’re daily or weekly disposables or monthly lenses.

In the end, the cost of contact lenses from 1-800 CONTACTS all depends on the brand you buy, the size of the box you select and whether or not you choose to pay with insurance.

You may also be able to get a price reduction with a discount or rebate, so be sure to check the website for the latest coupons before ordering. There’s also the option of setting up a subscription for your lenses, which might also help you save money.

Standard shipping for your contacts is free.

How long does shipping take?

There are three shipping speeds offered from 1-800 CONTACTS: 5-7 business days, 2-3 business days and overnight shipping. This is what you can expect after your prescription has been verified. This can take up to one business day. 

Like other websites and other retailers in general, shipping can take longer if the product you ordered is out of stock. You can always check the status of your order online.

Product guarantees, reviews and customer service

The “Gajillion Percent Promise” offered by 1-800 CONTACTS offers top-of-the-line product guarantees, prices, returns, exchanges, customer service and more.

From price matching and a generous return policy to 24/7 customer service by phone, chat or email, 1-800 CONTACTS seems to have their bases covered. They will even contact your eye doctor for you to find a prescription if you have trouble locating yours.

But when it comes to customer reviews, not all customers offer rave reviews of the website and service. Various reviews on Better Business Bureau (BBB) mention issues with billing, brand representatives and additional complaints. 

It may be worth noting that 1-800 CONTACTS does respond to complaints. And they have been BBB accredited since their founding in 1995. 

1-800 CONTACTS’ return policy

1-800 CONTACTS accepts returns and exchanges at all times as part of their “Gajillion Percent Promise.” You can send back any contacts you have not worn, even if the box has been opened, and receive a credit toward your next order.

This is handy for those who receive a new prescription (whether power or brand). If the price points don’t match between your old and new contacts, you may have to pay the difference in price. Or you may be refunded the difference if your new lenses cost less.

It’s important to know that if you are returning contacts, the credit you receive for them is automatically applied to your next purchase. You won’t get actual money back.

Can you exchange lenses from another manufacturer? 

Yes, you can. 1-800 CONTACTS will exchange unopened boxes of contact lenses that you bought elsewhere. But they must not be damaged or marked. They also have to be at least one year from the expiration date, and the brand must be one that the website carries.

Does 1-800 CONTACTS sell glasses?

Recently, 1-800 CONTACTS partnered with Liingo Eyewear to provide customers with the option to order prescription eyeglasses in addition to contacts.

A drop-down menu on the main page of the 1-800 CONTACTS website has a link for eyeglasses. If you click on it, it will redirect you to the Liingo Eyewear website. There, you can pick out a pair of eyeglasses that includes the following benefits:

  • A “home try-on” that allows you to order up to five frames from the site and try them on at home before committing to a pair

  • A virtual try-on that allows you to “try on” glasses using your smartphone

  • Free prescription lenses in each frame

  • Free shipping on every order

  • Free returns within the first 60 days

  • Free glasses adjustments — get your glasses adjusted anywhere, and Liingo will cover the cost

  • A 60-day product guarantee that ensures you can get your glasses replaced for free if you break or scratch them in the first two months

Liingo offers a large selection of prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and blue light glasses for adults. Like 1-800 CONTACTS, you’ll need a valid prescription before you can place an order. Frames start at $55. 

The brand also guarantees your satisfaction (though the customer service line isn’t available 24/7).

Should you order from 1-800 CONTACTS?

Whether or not 1-800 CONTACTS is worth trying is entirely up to you. There are many advantages to the brand, but like its competitors, there are also some drawbacks.  

Pros of 1-800 CONTACTS:

  • The “Gajillion Percent Promise” for customer satisfaction

  • Low prices, discounts and price matching are available

  • Large selection of contact lenses

  • The overall convenience of online ordering

Cons of 1-800 CONTACTS:

  • Several customer reviews seem to be negative, with just a ~2-star out of 5-star average rating via the BBB

  • The virtual service doesn’t provide the same experience that a doctor’s office would

  • If your prescription changes, you can get store credit for new contacts, but not your money back

Some people prefer in-person guidance when it comes to browsing for and ordering contact lenses. Others are keen on the convenience of online services. Weigh out all of these pros and cons of 1-800 CONTACTS before you order. And don’t hesitate to ask for help (whether from a customer service representative or an eye care provider outside of the website). 

You need to see an eye doctor for things such as a comprehensive eye exam. You may also prefer to work with an eye care provider to help with physically handling your contact lenses or the comfort and knowledge that an in-person professional can bring. 

If you have any of these (or any other) concerns, contact your eye doctor for an appointment.

READ NEXT: GlassesUSA review: Cost, pros and cons, and how GlassesUSA works 

1-800 Contacts homepage. 1-800 CONTACTS. Accessed February 2022.

1-800 Contacts, Inc. reviews. Better Business Bureau. Accessed February 2022.

Liingo Eyewear's risk free guarantee. Liingo Eyewear. Accessed February 2022.

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