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Personal care

Best places to buy contact lenses online in 2019

You can save money by shopping online from these reputable sites.

Close-Up Of Finger Showing Contact Lens
Punyaporn Phuangmala / EyeEm

There's no escaping the fact that contact lenses are expensive. It doesn't help that many vision insurance plans will only pay for either contacts or glasses -- not both -- and restrict how often you can use your benefits. So if you're stuck paying out of pocket and you want the best price available, shop for your contacts online. You might be able to pay less than what your doctor office or optical center charges.

Read more: Why I love these Transitions contacts, even when they make me look like an alien

While you might not save hundreds of dollars, like you would buying glasses online, you're still more likely to find a good deal. Another great way to save is to buy in bulk -- you'll usually get better discounts. If you don't anticipate that your prescription will change over the next year, get a full year's supply. Most of these online stores also allow you to returned unopened boxes of lenses if you eyes do change.

Below is our guide to some of the best places to buy contacts online. All of these shops require a valid prescription from a doctor to dispense contact lenses, and they can help verify your prescription during the checkout process. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and please shout out your preferred place in the comments to help others find it.

These products and services are independently chosen by our editors. CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Personal story time: I found too many years ago to remember now and it has been my go-to choice to get contacts. I keep coming back because its customer service is great and the prices are usually the lowest I can find. It has an impressive selection of brands -- including Acuvue, Air Optix and Dailies -- plus it takes returns and even covers the cost of shipping unopened boxes back. 'Nuff said.

Does not accept vision insurance, but you can submit your receipt to your insurance company to get reimbursed (and always check with your insurance company to see what it covers).


Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

One of the best-known contacts stores, 1800Contacts stocks all of the most popular brands, and you can even get hard contacts through its call center. One CNET editor praised it for the customer service for going above and beyond.

Like, you can text or email your prescription, which speeds up the ordering process. 1800Contacts also offers discounts for students, free shipping on all orders and allows you to update your prescription through an online test (only available for adults between 18-55 years old). Finally, you can sign up for a subscription, which sends you lenses when you need them.

Accepts vision insurance.


Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

A popular choice among my fellow CNET editors is ContactsDirect because it accepts our company's vision insurance and often send out coupon codes to customers. It has a wide selection of lenses and offers returns on products that were purchased within one year. ContactsDirect (and 1800Contacts) also sells contact lens solution.

Accepts vision insurance.


Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Coastal is a one-stop shop for both contact lenses and glasses. What makes it so appealing is that it has a price match guarantee that includes the total cost of a purchase (including fees and shipping) from another online authorized shop -- some conditions apply. It has a wide selection of lenses, including non-prescription colored contacts, offers free returns and has a subscription program.

Does not accept vision insurance, but you can request reimbursement from your insurance company.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Last, but not least is Like Coastal, you can order both contacts and glasses through the site, and it offers deep discounts if you order both. Like the other shops on this list, has all of the popular lens brands, offers free returns and free shipping.

Does not accept vision insurance, but you can request reimbursement from your insurance company.