Contact lenses are great, but let’s face it—dailies are expensive. As a user myself, I’m particularly excited about the arrival of several new direct to consumer (D2C) companies offering more affordable lenses. Although there’s nothing wrong with household brands like Acuvue and Biofinity, they do generally come with higher price tags.
My own quest to save led me to start comparing D2C contact brands Hubble, Scout by Warby Parker, and Waldo. In this article, I’ll surface my findings on these three alternatives to help you decide which one(s) are worth trying.
What are D2C contacts?
Unlike traditional contact brands, Hubble, Scout and Waldo make it simple to get corrective lenses delivered right to your door without visiting an optometrist or eyeglass store. They sell their own proprietary contacts directly to consumers via the internet, rather than through a doctor or pharmacy.
On top of greater convenience, D2C contact companies often bring substantial cost savings by cutting out the middleman. The only catch? You’ll need to have your prescription handy. If you don’t, first visit an eye doctor to get a standard eye exam. Equipped with a prescription, you can then order lens refills online from D2C players like Hubble, Waldo, and Scout without any subsequent eye exams, co-pays, or waiting rooms.
To be fair, these new companies are not the first to sell contacts online. Marketplaces like 1 800-CONTACTS have been selling a variety of brand name lenses from major manufacturers for some time.
But Hubble, Scout, and Waldo are different in that they sell their own proprietary brands, while popular online marketplaces typically don’t manufacture lenses at all, but merely sell other company’s brands. (Update: Warby Parker now sells other brands in addition to its own, and Hubble has launched ContactsCart, a third-party marketplace not dissimilar to 1 800-CONTACTS with options other than Hubble’s own).
Another benefit of buying lenses directly from the manufacturer beyond lower cost and greater convenience? Flexibility. Most contact wearers today order a year’s supply, locking themselves into the same brand and correction for a longer period than necessary. Even when needs change over that time, some people feel bound to continue wearing those same lenses just because they already bought them, regardless if they are still the best option.
Subscribing month-to-month through a D2C brand like Hubble, Scout, and Waldo affords savings as if you were buying in bulk with the flexibility to change or update your preferences on the fly. In our opinion, it’s the best of both worlds.
As we mentioned before, all three companies allow you to easily update or cancel your subscription at any point, so you’re never locked in. That in an of itself is a huge advantage over traditional contact lenses offerings.
Ordering contact lenses online
Ordering from Hubble, Scout, and Waldo is breeze. It’s definitely something that all three have optimized for. Let’s break down the process for each brand.
How to Order Contacts from Hubble
Go to the Hubble website and start with a free trial (30 contacts for just $1) by entering your prescription. They also ask you to enter the name of your eye doctor to verify your prescription. After that, assuming the contacts work well and fit comfortably in your eye, you can subscribe for regularly scheduled deliveries. That’s really all there is to it! See the easy 3-step process below:
How to order contacts from Scout by Warby Parker
Warby Parker also makes it really easy to try contacts their proprietary brand, Scout. Just head to the Warby Parker website and enter your prescription to get the initial $5 trial. After that, again assuming you like their lenses, choose either a 3-month, 6-month or 1-year plans.
How to order contacts (and more!) from Waldo
Similarly on the Waldo website, click “get started” and enter your prescription info to qualify for their trial offer — $2.95 for 10 pairs. After that, you’ll choose a delivery cadence of monthly, quarterly, or biannually.
In addition to quality contact lenses at affordable prices, Waldo also offers other eye care products including:
- Blue light blocker glasses for $75. If you’re curious, check out this comprehensive blue light blocker comparison.
- hydrating eye drops for $13. Formulated with 100% natural active ingredients that support your eye’s ability to self-heal.
- If you want to try it out without commitment, Waldo makes it easy with their starter pack: