Affordable and convenient, contact lenses are a great alternative to glasses for millions of people and are available for a wide range of lifestyles. Since they were first introduced, technology has advanced significantly. This means you can enjoy clear vision and a more comfortable lens-wearing experience for longer.
With so many brands and all of the different types of contact lenses, finding the right ones for your needs and lifestyle can be challenging. In this guide, we’ll answer the key questions you may have to help you find the best contact lenses, including:
When you buy contact lenses online at Lenstore, you get excellent value, service, and eye care. 93.6% of orders placed before 5 p.m. are shipped on the same day, and we also have next-day delivery available if you're in a rush.
We don't stop caring once your lenses reach your door. As a Lenstore customer, you get free eye tests and contact lens aftercare at any UK Vision Express store. We also have in-house opticians and trained optical consultants, so you get great eye care when you buy online.
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Once you’ve been to the opticians and had both your initial eye health examination and your follow-up contact lens fitting, you’ll be prescribed the contact lenses that you need to correct your vision. But where do you start? While you can go into an optician and place an order, it’s often easier to look online instead - which is where Lenstore comes in.
We specialise in helping both first-time and more experienced contact lens wearers to find the lenses they need quickly and cost-effectively.
We’ve prepared the following guide to help you choose and order the right lenses to correct your vision.
Contact lens wearers have a wide range of options from which to choose. From daily disposables to reusable lenses that can be worn for an extended period, it’s important to make the right choice.
However, as with buying any medical device, you should take care and shop with caution. For contact lenses, this means only buying the lenses that have been fitted and prescribed by your optician.
There are many types of contact lenses to choose from that vary on how they correct your vision and how often you need to replace them.
You can choose from:
Daily disposable contact lenses - or ‘dailies’ - are single-use contact lenses that must be disposed of at the end of each day. A new set of lenses is then put into the eyes the next morning, this makes them very easy to use.
Daily contact lenses are a cost-effective and convenient option for people who wear contact lenses occasionally and who don’t want to worry about the ongoing cleaning and maintenance that is required of reusable contact lenses.
Examples of daily disposable contact lenses are:
|Daily Contact Lenses|
|1 Day Acuvue Moist||1 Day Acuvue Moist are daily disposable contact lenses from Johnson & Johnson that can correct both long and short-sightedness. These lenses have been specifically designed to keep users’ eyes moist, making them an ideal choice for those with dry eyes.|
|Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus||Dailies AquaComfort Plus are made by Alcon and are a comfortable and easy-to-apply contact lens. Utilising ‘blink-activated technology’, these lenses keep eyes fresh by releasing moisture with every blink. They are a good choice for those working office jobs, whose eyes may get dry or sensitive from looking at a screen all day.|
Two weekly disposable contact lenses - or ‘bi-weeklies’ - are lenses that can be worn for two weeks before they need to be disposed of and replaced with a new set. These lenses need to be removed and cleaned in contact lens solution every night.
Two weekly contacts can be more cost-effective than dailies as you don’t need to insert a fresh set every morning and only need to account for the cost of solution and cleaning products. They require the same ongoing care as monthlies but will need to be disposed of more frequently.
Examples of two weekly disposable contact lenses are:
|Two Weekly Contact Lenses|
|Acuvue Oasys||Acuvue Oasys are contact lenses manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and offer users two weeks of daily crisp and clear vision. Users describe them as ‘very comfortable’. These lenses use silicone hydrogel technology to keep the lenses smooth and hydrated, allowing more oxygen to reach the eyes, and keeping them moist and fresh. These lenses also have a UV block for additional protection of the eyes. They should ideally be removed and cleaned in contact lens solution each night.|
|Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism||Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism are aimed at individuals who have astigmatism and require toric lenses. Johnson & Johnson’s ‘Accelerated Stabilisation Design’ keeps the lenses steady and minimises potential movement or rotation, which helps to correct users’ astigmatism all day long. Like the Acuvue Oasys, these also have UV protection.|
By now, you can probably guess what monthly disposable contact lenses - or ‘monthlies’ - are. Like bi-weeklies, they need to be removed and cleaned daily, but these lenses can be worn for a month before needing to be replaced.
If you want to wear your contact lenses regularly, opting for monthlies can be one of the most cost-effective ways of doing so.
Examples of monthly disposable contact lenses are:
|Monthly Contact Lenses|
|Biofinity||Biofinity contact lenses are a monthly disposable manufactured by Coopervision. Aquaform technology helps them retain water and keep your eyes moist while ensuring enough oxygen can still reach the eyes. As of publication, Biofinity lenses are rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot and users describe them as both ‘comfortable’ and ‘good value for money.'|
|Air Optix plus HydraGlyde||Air Optix plus HydraGlyde contact lenses are designed with SmartShield Technology, Air Optix Plus HydraGlyde lenses have an ultra-smooth surface that naturally repels and protects against irritants and deposits.|
Extended-wear contact lenses are designed to be worn continuously, both day and night, although it’s recommended that you remove and sterilise them once a week. However, wearing extended-wear lenses overnight may be associated with a higher risk of infection, and not everyone is suitable, therefore these lenses should be used as extended wear only under the guidance of your Optician.
Examples of extended-wear contact lenses are:
|Extended Wear Contact Lenses|
|Biofinity||CooperVision’s Biofinity extended wear contact lenses are comfortable and breathable, ensuring maximum oxygen gets to the eyes to keep them fresh. Users describe them as ‘superb quality’ and ‘good extended wear lenses.' They also possess an aspheric front surface to improve the resolution and depth of focus. Biofinity contact lenses can be worn for up to 29 nights as continuous wear.|
|Acuvue Oasys||Acuvue Oasys extended-wear contact lenses are designed to ensure long-lasting hydration of the eyes. They also offer UV protection to users and have a subtle marking to help you know if they are inside out. Acuvue Oasys lenses can be worn for up to six consecutive days without needing to be taken out, however, they stop being ‘two weeklies’ at this point and need to be binned after one week rather than two.|
Toric contact lenses are specialised lenses used to correct astigmatism, a condition that can occur when the eyes aren’t completely spherical. These lenses look the same as normal contact lenses - in fact, you’d struggle to tell them apart - but they actually refract and focus light differently to specifically improve the vision of those with astigmatism.
You may also wonder why some toric contact lenses have small lines or markings on them. These markings help identify where the toric lens should be sitting in the eye, especially for opticians when fitting such lenses.
It’s worth noting that toric contact lenses can cost a little more than normal lenses because of the technology being used to optimise vision and how these lenses are cut.
Examples of toric contact lenses are:
|Toric Contact Lenses|
|1 Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism||The 1 Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism toric contact lenses are daily disposable lenses. They possess an Eyelid Stabilised Design that ensures vision acuity and lens stability all day long. Acuvue LACREON technology helps to retain moisture and provide comfort. Easy to put in and take out, users need not worry about daily cleaning routines, which makes these toric lenses an ideal choice for people with busy, active lifestyles.|
|Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric||Dailies AquaComfort Plus Toric are ultra-thin to ensure they are simple to put in and remove from the eye. They also minimise rotation during use to help maintain clear and crisp vision for those with astigmatism.|
Multifocal contact lenses combine multiple prescriptions in one set of lenses and can help correct the vision of individuals with presbyopia, a condition that affects people as they age and their eyes find it harder to bring close objects into focus.
Multifocal contact lenses contain different sections for near or far vision. These can be blended or distinct sections, but essentially your eye looks through both prescriptions at once but only uses the section required for what you’re looking at.
Examples of multifocal contact lenses are:
|Multifocal Contact Lenses|
|1 Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal||1 Day Acuvue Moist Multifocal contact lenses are ideal for anyone with presbyopia because their back-curved design helps to keep them fixed centrally on the eye for long-lasting, sharper vision. A cushion of moisture helps to keep sensitive or dry eyes fresh. As dailies, these multifocal lenses offer both convenience and ease of use.|
|Clariti 1 Day Multifocal||The Clariti 1 Day Multifocal contact lenses are dailies that are another strong choice for those with presbyopia as they have been designed to help users move smoothly between looking at different distances. Oxygen can easily pass across these lenses keeping eyes healthy, while WetLoc technology helps to lock water molecules in place for long-lasting hydration.|
Coloured contact lenses are exactly what you might guess they are - contact lenses that change the colour of your eyes, whether you want to change from grey to brown, or even something more exotic. These contact lenses tend to be worn purely for cosmetic reasons, e.g. Halloween contact lenses, but certain brands can also help to correct vision issues.
Examples of coloured contact lenses are:
|Coloured Contact Lenses|
|Freshlook One Day||Freshlook One Day coloured contact lenses give users a choice of four different iris colours to choose from: hazel, grey, green or blue - and users particularly praise these contact lenses for their ‘great colour’. Alcon has designed the Freshlook coloured dailies to be both comfortable and convenient to wear, and it is possible to purchase them for your vision correction prescription too.|
|Freshlook Colorblends / Colors||The Freshlook Colorblends and Colors are a more cost-effective option for those looking for coloured lenses they can wear long-term. These monthlies come in two varieties: the ‘Colors’ range gives wearers a choice of six colours, from green to sapphire blue and offers a more dramatic look, while ‘Colorblends’ come in 12 different colours, from brilliant blue through to golden honey and combine three shades in one lens for a more natural look.|
One of the benefits of using Lenstore to order contact lenses is that we can offer you big savings on the price of contact lenses - prices that are up to 40% lower than you would find in a high street optician.
This can help you to seriously cut the cost of your prescription - sometimes by hundreds of pounds a year!
Trying to answer how much contact lenses cost can be challenging because there are so many different options and manufacturers available to you. You’ll also need to account for additional costs for longer-life contact lenses such as solutions and care products.
Buying contact lenses online from UK e-retailers like Lenstore is no different to buying contact lenses from a high street optician as we both abide by the same UK regulations issued by the General Optical Council (GOC).
The main difference is that we can offer you more competitive prices as we work directly with manufacturers, which keeps our costs low and means we can pass these discounts on to you. It’s similar to how Amazon works and everyone knows a DVD on Amazon will be much cheaper than one bought from a shop in the real world.
However, it pays to be careful if you’re considering purchasing contact lenses online from overseas retailers. While these lenses may seem super cheap, you may end up having to pay import duty on them or even account for currency conversion - both of which can potentially push your costs up.
You should also bear in mind that buying from sellers outside of the UK means you’ll have fewer consumer rights if something goes wrong, potentially leaving you with no contact lenses and also out of pocket.
To ensure you’re buying the right contact lenses to correct your vision, you must have access to your prescription. Without it, you might struggle to get the lenses that you need and potentially waste time and money in doing so.
To get hold of your prescription, you’ll need to visit an optician because only an appropriately qualified/registered contact lens optician or optometrist can prescribe contact lenses.
However, if you’ve already been to one you could ask for them to send it to you by email, fax or through the post.
Bear in mind - and this is important! - that if you’ve been wearing contact lenses for a while and think you know your prescription details off by heart, it’s still best to double-check. While you may know your lens power, you may not know the base curve or diameter. It’s always worth double-checking to save yourself time and hassle down the line. However, as we are based in the UK and Europe we have no necessity for you to offer us your prescription when buying contact lenses as long as your prescription is valid.
In our experience, we see four key questions come up time and again, especially from those who are new to ordering contact lenses online.
Following both your initial eye exam at the optician and secondary contact lens fitting test, you’ll be provided with your contact lens prescription. You’ll need to be able to read, understand and remember what this prescription means so that you can order the right contact lenses.
However, while it may look like a look of confusing numbers and initials: don’t be intimidated! To help you understand your contact lens prescription, we’ve explained everything on it below.
You’ll only have the following figures on your contact lens prescription if you have astigmatism.
In a nutshell, yes.
In the UK, you need a prescription to buy contact lenses. You can get this prescription by visiting your optician. After you’ve had your eye test and have fully completed your contact lens fitting, you have a legal right to be given a copy of your prescription - so if you didn’t get one, you’re entitled to ask for it.
If you are buying coloured contact lenses for aesthetic reasons (i.e. not for medical reasons such as vision correcting) then you will still need a prescription as you still need to be fitted for the contact lenses. This is important as everyone’s eyes are unique so you need to ensure that the lenses will fit but also that they won’t harm your eye health. It’s also a good opportunity to test out and try some different colours to see which suits you best.
It’s best practice not to order contact lenses with an expired prescription. While your contact lens prescription can last for up to two years, it’s best to have your eyes reviewed by your optician on an annual basis. This will ensure your prescription is as up-to-date as possible and that you order the contact lenses you need to correct your vision.
Equally, online eye checks are not a valid form of renewing or updating your prescription because UK regulations state such assessments must be conducted by an optician.
There are several steps you’ll need to go through when having your eye tested for contact lenses. These steps are:
During the initial fitting for contact lenses, you’ll spend time with your optician who will ask you for a detailed history of your eye health and the symptoms you are experiencing. You’ll also be asked about your lifestyle, expectations and potential wearing patterns. Your optician will likely discuss with you the choice of rigid gas-permeable contact lenses or soft contact lenses.
Your optician will then look at your spectacle prescription, which you will have received from your eye exam, and also take keratometry readings, which help to establish the correction and base curve of the lenses needed to correct your vision.
Following this, a full slit-lamp examination will be used to assess your tear film (a thin layer of fluid that covers your eyes) and check if your eyes produce enough moisture to ensure that contact lenses can be worn comfortably and safely. The surface of your eyes will also be evaluated to help your optician assess the movement and alignment of contact lenses as they sit on your eye.
After these tests have been completed, your optician will then select the type of contact lens required to correct your vision and will insert a trial pair of lenses. Your vision will then be checked and your prescription fine-tuned.
The fitting of your lenses will then be assessed to ensure they fit comfortably in your eyes. If you haven’t worn contact lenses before, you’ll also be shown how to insert and remove your lenses as well as how to care for them.
Your lenses will then be removed and the front surface of your eyes will be assessed one final time. After this, you’ll most likely be provided with a trial set of contact lenses to help you get used to them - this trial may be with daily disposable lenses or a pair of reusable contact lenses.
After your contact lens assessment and fitting, you should book a check-up with your optician for about one to two weeks later. This aftercare check-up will allow your optician to check if your trial lenses are sitting correctly in your eyes, are comfortable and provide the vision clarity and crispness that they should. Once your optician is happy with the results of these follow-ups, your prescription will be finalised.
After this initial check-up, it’s recommended that you have at least one aftercare per year to review your eye health and whether your prescription is still the correct one for your needs.
Now that you have your prescription and know what lenses you need to correct your vision, it’s time to order your contact lenses online with Lenstore.
Why should you order your contact lenses online? Here are a few helpful tips:
Buying contact lenses online is more cost-effective than buying them from a high-street optician
You’re entitled to a copy of your prescription from your optician. Simply ask for it and then enter the details into the Lenstore website when ordering your lenses - this will enable you to order the lenses you have been prescribed
Buying online is more convenient as you can order from the comfort of your own home or on your lunch break from your desktop, rather than having to make a trip to your optician.
Most high street own-brand contact lenses are available online too - just under a different name. You can read our list of own-brand equivalents here.
When it comes to buying contact lenses online you have a huge selection of manufacturers, brands and families to choose from.
To avoid confusion between who’s who; manufacturers make contact lenses, each manufacturer has one or multiple brands, and each brand has one or multiple brand families.
For example, Johnson & Johnson manufactures contact lenses. These contact lenses are branded as Acuvue. The Acuvue brand has three brand families; Acuvue 1 Day, Acuvue 2, and Acuvue Oasys.
Contact lens manufacturers are the companies whose business it is to make the lenses you end up wearing. Each manufacturer can be a parent company to several different brands of contact lenses - similar to how Unilever is a global manufacturer that creates and sells products under many different brands such as Lynx, Hellman’s and Knorr.
There are five major contact lens manufacturers.
Johnson & Johnson:
Johnson & Johnson is the world’s largest independent biotech company. This transnational corporation was founded in America more than 130 years ago in 1886. J&J is a global manufacturer of a huge range of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods - among which contact lenses are just one avenue.
CooperVision is a much younger company than Johnson & Johnson having been founded in 1980. However, as one of the world’s leading contact lens manufacturing companies CooperVision's products and services are sold in more than 100 countries around the world. CooperVision manufactures contact lenses for these brands: CooperVision and Sauflon / CooperVision.
Alcon is another world leader in manufacturing eye care products such as contact lenses. Founded in 1945, Alcon now specialises in creating cutting-edge medical technology, specifically surgical devices and vision care products. Alcon manufactures contact lenses for these brands: CIBA Vision / Alcon.
Bausch & Lomb:
Bausch & Lomb is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of contact lenses and lens care products. Established in 1853, Bausch & Lomb now has more than 10,000 employees based in 100 countries. Its heritage means that it sits at the forefront of eye care innovation. Bausch & Lomb manufactures contact lenses for these brands: Bausch & Lomb.
Menicon is Japan's first manufacturer of contact lenses and was founded in 1951. Menicon is Japan's largest contact lens manufacturer as well as one of the largest contact lens manufacturers in the world with availability in over 80 countries.
While on the topic of manufacturers, it is also important to be aware of the materials used to make contact lenses. An important decision you’ll need to make is whether you choose to wear soft or rigid contact lenses.
Your decision should factor in the results of your eye exam, your lifestyle and your budget. It’s also possible to opt for one type of contact lens now and then switch to the other later on.
Each of the key contact lens brands are manufactured by the transnational companies above.
|Contact Lens Brands|
|Acuvue||Acuvue contact lenses are manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and are widely known as some of the most comfortable-to-wear contact lenses. ACUVUE provides a wide range of contact lenses for users of all needs, including both presbyopia and astigmatism. ACUVUE brand families include Acuvue Moist, Acuvue 2 and Acuvue Oasys.|
|Bausch & Lomb||Bausch & Lomb contact lenses are available at a range of price points across its different products, which enables you to buy the lenses you need at a price that’s right for you. Many wearers note the durability and comfort of B&L contact lenses, however, some reviewers say they can be soft to the touch, which may make them hard to put on.
Bausch & Lomb brand families include Biotrue, PureVision and Softlens.
|CIBA Vision / Alcon||CIBA Vision / Alcon contact lenses are a brand of very thin contact lenses, designed to make them easy to put in and wear. Many users note how comfortable this brand of contact lens is as well as how good they are at keeping eyes moist - especially for those with dry eyes. Alcon brand families include Focus Dailies, Dailies AquaComfort Plus, Dailies Total 1, Air Optix and Freshlook.|
|CooperVision||CooperVision offers the largest range of contact lenses of any of the major brands. Those who wear these lenses note that they are among the most cost-effective contact lenses and are a particularly good choice for those with astigmatism. CooperVision brand families include Biofinity, Expressions, Frequency, MyDay, Proclear, Biomedics and Avaira. CooperVision acquired Sauflon in 2014 and manufactures the Clariti contact lenses under a joint brand name. Users rate these lenses highly with many citing how comfortable they are to wear over long periods. Sauflon / CooperVision brand families include: Clariti & Clariti 1 Day.|
|Menicon||Menicon contact lenses are some of the most innovative lenses in the world. Menicon is the only manufacturer in the world that is dedicated to all areas of the contact lens business. They focus on material development, lens designing, manufacturing, and care solutions. Menicon are responsible for some of the most advanced contact lens technologies in the world which is seen in their revolutionary contact lens Miru 1Day Upside.|
|Boots’ Own Brand||Similar to the above, you can save yourself a trip to the optician as equivalent lenses to Boots’ Own Brand contact lenses can also be bought online.|
There are a wide range of contact lens brand families to choose from depending on your condition, budget and preferences.
Use the following overview list as a starting point when shopping for your contact lenses.
1 Day Acuvue:
The 1 Day ACUVUE contact lenses are a family of daily disposable lenses that offer maximum convenience. They are a good choice for low-maintenance, everyday use as they don’t require a daily care routine - simply, use, dispose and replace with a new set each morning. These lenses possess UV protection that helps to protect your eyes outdoors. Contact lenses such as Acuvue Oasys Daily & Acuvue Moist are found within this family.
ACUVUE OASYS contact lenses are made from silicone hydrogel, which helps to keep eyes moist and makes them an ideal choice for those with dry eyes. These lenses use Hydraclear Plus technology to ensure hydration and promote a 'no lens' feeling, even over long periods of wear. They are a good option for office workers or those who work in an air-conditioned workplace. These lenses are available for those with Astigmatism (Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism) and Presbyopia (Acuvue Oasys Multifocal).
CIBA Vision / Alcon’s Air Optix plus HydraGlyde are easy-fit contact lenses, designed with a thin edge and slight tint. This makes them easy to put in and take out. Air Optix plus HydraGlyde contact lenses use advanced TriComfort technology to ensure maximum comfort and allow up to 5x more oxygen into the eye, maintaining hydration and clear vision.
The Biofinity contact lens family includes Biofinity, Biofinity Multifocal and Biofinity Toric lenses. They use Coopervision’s Aquaform technology to help keep eyes moist all day long, while also ensuring breathability. Biofinity contact lenses are a great choice for those who want premium, high-comfort contact lenses.
Clariti contact lenses offer a mix of daily disposable and longer wear options, as well as both toric and multifocal lenses. Manufactured by CooperVision with Sauflon, Clairti lenses are comfortable lenses made from silicone hydrogel, which provides excellent breathability and allows up to 3x more oxygen to pass through the cornea. Users note that these contact lenses offer good value for money.
The CIBA Vision / Alcon Dailies are designed to offer long-lasting comfort and excellent vision clarity. As daily lenses, you’ll need a fresh pair every morning, which makes them a convenient choice for those with busy lifestyles as they don’t need an ongoing cleaning and maintenance routine. Focus Dailies are popular across Europe and provide a range of different lenses that cater to a wide range of prescriptions as well as Dailies AquaComfort Plus.
Freshlook contact lenses are CIBA Vision / Alcon’s brand of coloured lenses. They offer a wide range of different shades that can be worn for up to 30 days. These lenses must be removed daily. Designed with innovative 3-in-1 technology, Freshlook lenses blend three different shades to improve the colour balance of lenses, offering wearers a striking way to shake up their look with hues ranging from gemstone green to brilliant blue. The Freshlook lens families cover a range of needs from the convenience of dailies to more cost-effective monthly lenses.
MyDay contact lenses are manufactured by CooperVision and are made with Smart Silicone technology, which helps oxygen reach the cornea quicker, maintaining both crystal clear vision and the health of your eyes without compromising on comfort. The MyDay family of lenses include daily and toric options.
Whether you’re using daily disposables or reusable contact lenses, it’s easy to wear and care for your contact lenses when you know how.
When it comes to wearing contact lenses, you’re going to need know how to put them in and take them out without damaging either the lenses or your eyes. You also need to know how long you can wear your lenses and when to replace them to avoid eye infections.
If you’re unsure how to put in contact lenses, don’t worry. It’s quite straightforward. Just follow these steps - and remember to take care while doing so:
Now you’ve mastered putting them in, you better know how to remove your contact lenses too. Here’s how to take them out:
Don’t worry if it takes a couple of tries to get right at first. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro.
Most people can wear their contact lenses comfortably and safely so long as they stick to the wearing schedule recommended by their optician.
If you have dry or sensitive eyes, or your contacts start to scratch, you should try to remove them sooner rather than later to let your eyes rest.
Sleeping with your contact lenses in your eyes can increase the risk of infection and even if you wear extended wear lenses you should still try to remove and clean them once a week.
Even with the proper care, your contact lenses should eventually be replaced to minimise the risk of infection.
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