How To Get A Free Online Eye Exam
Back to School shopping for supplies and new clothes are done, now it’s time for parents to schedule appointments for dental cleanings, physicals, and eye exams to make sure their kids are ready to thrive in class. As pandemic protocols lesson, Telehealth visits are still a great option, and now 1800 Contacts is even offering a free online eye exam.
1800 Contacts Deal:New customers save 20% on their first order of $150 or more
The Express Exam is an ophthalmologist-reviewed eye exam, open to contact lens wearers who need to get their prescription renewed. After four simple steps, including a board-certified eye doctor looking over images of your eyes for signs of concern, you can have a new prescription for contact lenses. The 1800 Contacts Express Exam is not the same as a comprehensive exam its purpose is to determine how well you can see, not the overall health of your eyes.
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Taking An Online Vision Test
Taking the Opternative online vision test requires internet access, a computer, a smartphone and 10 to 25 minutes of your time.
After setting up an account, you are asked to look at your computer screen and read various displays of letters, shapes and numbers, based on traditional eye charts. You indicate what you can see and what you cant by responding via your smartphone.
Some portions of the test require that you step 10 feet away from your computer screen.
Using a computer and a smartphone, its basically a two-screen experience that allows the two to become linked together, Lee said.
Once you finish the test, you pay a fee to have your results sent to an eye doctor who is licensed in the state where you completed the test.
The doctor then reviews the results, looking for signs of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism based on the tests algorithms and how the test quantified your visual perception. The doctor also assesses your medical history, pre-existing conditions, and prior prescription, before issuing a new prescription.
Medical or vision insurance typically isnt accepted.
Many eye care professionals still arent convinced that patients are getting a good value with online vision tests, because first of all, youre not getting an eye exam, and youre talking yourself out of getting proper eye health care, Spetalnick said.
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How We Chose Our Recommendations
The Vision Center team has spent hours reviewing contact lens retailers, testing websites, and ordering products. We base our recommendations on:
- Customer reviews
- Company reputation and reports
- Contemporary scholarly articles
Our recommendations are then reviewed by a team of editors and our resident medical reviewer, Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
Where To Find Free Contact Lenses
The following stores offer free contact lenses, but you have to visit the eye care specialist partner nearest to you.
Most of the time, a pair of contact lenses and an eye exam are both free, as long as you have a certificate printed out and ready at the in-store clinics. In some cases, you might need to pay for the exam, but a lot of doctors will give you some trial contacts to let you test them out.
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What I Learned When I Took An Online Eye Exam
When I took the 1 800 Contacts Express Exam, it was offered for free. Now, the price has gone up to $20. Of course, most prescription renewal exams for contacts cost over $100, so this is still a great way to save! Plus, I ended up getting the same results as I did at the eye doctors office.
It took only about 15 minutes to complete the online eye exam, there was no appointment necessary, and I got my results within two hours.
However, there were a few things I wish I had known before getting started, including how to check my eligibility and what Id need for the exam.
Opternative Partners With 1
Chicago-based Opternative, makers of a web and smartphone-based eye exam, has partnered with contact lens provider 1-800-Contacts to launch InstaRx, an online service that allows existing patients to update their prescriptions without seeing an eye doctor in-person.
The partnership with 1-800-Contacts comes about a year after Opternative launched a stand-alone eye exam, which uses both a computer and smartphone to guide users through a 15 to 20 minute vision test. The computer serves as the digital eye chart and test, much like what is seen at an actual eye clinic, and the phone works as a remote control so the user can move through the exam while standing at the instructed distance. It isnt an app, but a mobile website that the user accesses via a text-messaged link. Directions through the exam are provided via audio and written prompts. The data is then sent to a licensed local ophthalmologist for evaluation, who then can write a new prescription for corrective lenses.
“We believe that technology has great potential to extend the reach of doctors, improve access for patients, and help control the costs of delivering healthcare services,” representatives from 1-800-Contacts said in an email. “As we learned more about Opternative we recognized that their technology could provide customers with an affordable and convenient option for prescription renewal.”
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The Difference Between Vision Tests And Eye Exams
This new wave of online health services, or those received through telephone or videoconferencing, is described as telemedicine.
The way I see telemedicine is, its a more unique method of delivering health care to individuals, whereby its a lot more accessible, Lee said. Unlike the typical brick and mortar type locations where you need to make an appointment and go in, telemedicine allows individuals to seek care at their convenience.
Spetalnick said, there is such a thing as telemedicine, and its a positive, but he added that he has some concerns about where online vision testing fits in.
Eye care patients tend to think that an eye exam is just a measurement for glasses, and that is a real important test, because people want to see well out of their glasses. But its a fairly small part of an overall comprehensive eye examination and has no impact, or very little impact, on assessing the health of the eye, Spetalnick said.
There is a standard of care when an eye doctor is expected to perform an eye exam and the eye exam is expected to determine if the patient does or doesnt have things like glaucoma, retina problems, even diabetes can be detected, he said.
Opternative states on its website that its not a replacement for a comprehensive eye health examination. Rather, its a device that can only be used to prescribe glasses and contact lens prescriptions by licensed physicians.
When To Consult A Doctor
1-800 Contacts eye exams can be advantageous for people who wear contact lenses.
However, there are many reasons why any individual would want to consult a doctor, particularly an optometrist or ophthalmologist, on a regular basis.
In particular, digital eye exams are not comprehensive and cannot detect eye diseases. They cannot perform tests that require eye drops, and they do not use equipment that can magnify the retina and other parts of the eye to help detect serious eye conditions such as glaucoma or cancer.
If a person experiences any of the following symptoms due to their contact lenses, they should stop using them and contact a doctor. These symptoms
Below, we answer some common questions about 1-800 Contacts.
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Who Is Eligible For The Online Vision Test
The online vision test is intended for use by people between the ages of 18-55 located in an available US State between the prescriptiverange of -12 to +6 sphere, less than -5.0 cylinder, and less than +4 add power. Patients with underlying medical conditions or medicationimpacting their vision are not eligible for the online vision test.
What Youll Need Before Ordering
The first time you place an order with 1-800 Contacts, youll need:
- a copy of your prescription or your doctors contact information
- your payment information
- a copy of your insurance card, if you have vision insurance
For subsequent orders, 1-800 Contacts will save your prescription information in your account.
The ordering process itself is pretty simple. Youll select the contact lens brand that you typically use, and enter the prescription numbers listed as your OS and OD . You may also need to note in your order if you have astigmatism.
Then, youll enter in your doctors information and place your order. Once youve ordered, 1-800 Contacts will confirm your prescription and process your order for shipment. If you have a copy of your prescription, you can submit a photo of it along with your order using the websites automated system.
If you have vision insurance, youll need to enter in that information, too. 1-800 Contacts accepts most major forms of vision insurance.
20% off new orders
1-800 Contacts has a generous return policy.
To initiate a return, you can use 1-800 Contacts live chat app or call their customer service hotline. A representative will walk you through the return process.
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How To Save Money On Contact Lenses
Pro tip: Right after your contact lens exam, it’s almost always worth it to get a year’s supply of your current prescription. Regardless of whether you’re buying daily disposable contacts, monthly lenses or even multifocal contacts, buying in bulk will help you save money.
If your prescription changes sometime during that year, many of the retailers above will allow you to exchange unopened boxes with a new prescription. You don’t have much to lose by buying a full year supply. Though it can be a higher up-front cost, you’ll save money over buying one box at a time.
Questions About The Ftc Act
In the FTC letter, the AOA acknowledges that Visibly states that its test is somewhat limited and not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam. Even Visibly’s founder has stated that, “We’re definitely not a comprehensive eye exam, and we’re not a replacement for optometrists.”
AOA’s letter asks the FTC to investigate whether 1-800 Contacts’ practices may be in violation of two sections of the FTC Act:
- Section 5, which declares unlawful acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive.
- Section 12, which prohibits false ads likely to induce the purchase of food, drugs, devices or cosmetics.
“We believe that the use of the term ‘exam’ in the ExpressExam branding and throughout the 1-800 Contacts website is misleading in a material respect, especially when one considers that other companies offering the same services take steps to ensure that the term ‘exam’ is not used to describe the service provided.”
There is no substitute for an in-person, comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Pierce says, citing from the AOA’s clinical practice guideline, Comprehensive Adult Eye and Vision Examination. Doctors of optometry continue to be trusted sources. A 2018 American Eye-Q ® Survey found that 75% of Americans trust them to safeguard their eye health.
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Who Can Take Online Vision Tests
Online vision tests are meant for healthy adults ages 18 to 39 who:
- Already have a prescription for eyeglasses and itÃ¢s not very strong
- Have already had a complete eye exam and know their eyes are healthy
- Have no risks for eye disease, like diabetes or high blood pressure
Even if you are the right age and healthy enough to take an online vision test, you should still get regular eye exams as often as your eye doctor recommends.
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How Much Will An Eye Exam Cost
The cost of an eye exam will vary depending on what exactly you need to have done, your eye doctor and your vision insurance but eye exams typically cost between $50 to $150 plus the cost of contacts. This is all dependent upon your vision coverage, what contact lenses youll need, and your eye doctor. Remember to bring your voucher for Free Trial Contact Lenses* and be sure to sign up for MyACUVUEÂ® Rewards to get up to $200 back!
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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 competitors 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 .
- 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.
Free Eye Exams Vs Paid Exams
An eye exam can differ in cost based on many factors, including whether the exam is done by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, where you live, where the exam is conducted , and the type of tests that are performed.
Free eye exams may be performed more often by optometrists and may not be as comprehensive as an exam done by an ophthalmologist using the latest technology and testing procedures. It can cost more for some procedures, such as pupil dilation or retinal photos. Tests related to contact lens fitting and prescriptions may require additional procedures therefore, they often cost extra.
Check what is included in your eye exam. At the very least, a comprehensive eye exam should include the following:
- Review of your personal and family eye health and medical history
- Use of an eye chart to evaluate distance vision
- Testing to evaluate close vision
- Diagnostic testing to evaluate for myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism
- Testing to check that the eyes work properly together
- Examination of the optic nerve and an eye pressure test to check for glaucoma
- Interior and front of the eye examination to check for cataracts, macular degeneration, and other possible issues
- A pupil response test by shining a bright light and testing for reactivity
Your eye doctor may also conduct supplementary specialized imaging tests to check for eye diseases and other issues.
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Best Subscription Service: Hubble Contacts
Hubble Contacts is the best place to get a subscription for daily contacts. Your first order consists of 30 free Hubble contacts, which are good for fifteen days. All you need to do is pay $1 for shipping and any applicable sales tax.
Your next box will consist of 60 pieces of contacts, which you will receive every 28 days. You can also choose to receive them less frequently or cancel the subscription completely.
Hubble Contacts only offers FDA-approved daily contact lenses. These can be worn by people without astigmatism or with mild astigmatism. They do not offer toric, multifocal, or bifocal contact lenses.
Cons Of Ordering From 1
- Online retailers like 1-800 Contacts dont provide services the way an eye doctor does. If you want help figuring out how to put your contacts in and care for them, there are videos online. If youre having issues with comfort, reach out to an eye doctor.
- As with any items from any retailer, back orders can happen sometimes. Once youve put in your order, if that ends up being the case, youll just have to wait.
- Lenses you return because your prescription changed will earn you store credit, not your money back.
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How Often Should You Replace Contacts
Replacing your contact lenses will depend on the type that you get. Daily contact lenses must be thrown out at the end of the day, after each use. You’ll open a fresh pair the next time you need to wear contacts.
Monthly contact lenses are good for about 30 days. After this, you’ll need to open a fresh pair.