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This post was most recently updated on June 10th, 2020
Contact lenses have generally been the more expensive option when you are deciding between them or eyeglasses. That is considering that you purchase an average price frame and not some designer pair with an expensive price tag.
While there have been countless direct to customer eyeglass brands popping up all over the place since Warby Parker took the market by storm, there have been less direct to customer brands when it came to contact lenses. Hubble is one that is probably the most recognizable but they used an older material on their lens and some people reported it not being as comfortable as their normal brands. So the market still has room to grow, even Warby Parker threw their name in the mix with their Scout brand contact lenses that launched late last year.
One of the newer direct to customer contact lens brand is Waldo.
Waldo Contacts Review
Waldo is a direct to customer subscription contact lens brand that launched back in 2017 and is a UK based brand that recently started serving customers here in the United States in 2018.
Waldo was founded by Harvard Graduate Ashleigh Hinde after she moved from Europe to the United States for school and saw an industry with high costs and difficult for customers to navigate, and it was an issue that happened everywhere.
As a direct to customer brand they promised big savings over your traditional contact lens brands by simplifying their distribution channels as well as taking a smaller margin on their contact lenses. In turn, they are able to pass on the savings onto their customers without compromising quality.
The subscription model simplifies the entire contact lens purchasing process so you don’t ever have to worry about running out of contact lenses or needing to overwear your contact lenses ever again.
How Does Waldo Contacts Work?
Waldo is a subscription prescription contact lens service. What does that mean?
Well just like how you could get your pet food or nutrition supplements on a subscription service where they send you the product on a recurring basis, Waldo Contacts does the same exact thing, but with prescription contact lenses.
You will need a valid contact lens prescription to purchase contact lenses through Waldo. They do not provide any prescription services, but they could help connect you with an eye care practitioner in your local area.
Waldo currently only offers spherical contact lenses in daily lenses and does not offer any astigmatism or multifocal lenses so if you have those you will have to stick with what you’ve got for now since there isn’t a direct to customer brand that offers those types of contact lenses at the moment.
Well, kind of free. You still have to pay for shipping, but that only costs a very reasonable $2.95.Waldo’s free trial gives you the opportunity to try out the contact lenses before you commit to their subscription service.
I don’t wear contact lenses much anymore these days but when I did, aside from wanting to see well, the other thing that was extremely important to me was how comfortable my contact lenses are and how comfortable they stay throughout my day.
Waldo’s free trial gives you the opportunity to give the contact lenses a test run and see how they hold up for you throughout your day.
In my experience, the same brand contact lenses can feel different to different people. So the best way to find out if these lenses would work for you is to give them a shot with the free trial offer.
What’s Included With Waldo’s Free Trial Contact Lenses?
If you want to give Waldo contact lenses a try, you could order a trial set from Waldo for free, all you need to do is cover the $2.95 for the cost of shipping.
Once you place your order for your trial contact lenses, Waldo just needs to verify your prescription with your prescriber which normally takes about 24 hours unless you ordered on a weekend, in which you will have to wait until Monday to get your prescription verified.
After your prescription is verified your contact lenses will ship out and should arrive within 2-3 business days if you are located within the United States.
The trial set comes included with 10 pairs of contact lenses, this gives you plenty of time to know if these contact lenses will end up working out for you.
What are Waldo Contacts Made Of?
Waldo contact is made up of from a material called Etafilcon A which is made up of 58% water and has properties that allow the wearer to have maximum comfort all day long.
The oxygen transmissibility of 25 ensures that anyone wearing these contact lenses will be able to get all the oxygen to their eyes that they need.
These contact lenses also have properties to offer you UV protection with a Class 2 classification and block 70% of UVA and 95% of UVB. You should still wear sunglasses when you are wearing these contacts just to give your eyes the best protection they could get from the harmful UV rays from the sun.
Etafilcon A is a great material and is also utilized in brands such as Acuvue for their 1-Day Moist line, and their Acuvue 2 line of contact lenses.
I personally haven’t tried Waldo’s contact lenses out myself due to them not making contact lenses in my prescription, but I did order a trial set for my significant other and she said she wasn’t able to tell the difference between them and the current Acuvue lenses that she currently wears.
Are Waldo Contacts Good?
As I mentioned before, the only way that you will know if these contacts will work for you is if you try them yourself.
There is a reason why whenever you go get a contact lens exam and you are trying contact lenses for the first time the doctor gives you a trial to try on, usually for a week. During this time, the doctor will want you to see how they feel and report any discomfort if any arise.
But, if you look at all the technical specifications of the Waldo contact lenses, these are solid lenses. The lenses keep your eyes moist, the edge is designed for comfort so you will feel them less when you are blinking, UV protection, and great oxygen transmissibility. Everything you want in a contact lens right?
The feedback that customers have given Waldo contacts has mostly been positive and most people are happy with the contact lenses as well as the savings that they are getting while using Waldo contact lenses.
And if the success of the other brands that have used the same material as Waldo is any indication, it means this direct to customer contact lens brand might be worth a try.
If you are someone you like to read customer reviews, take a look at Waldo’s page on Trustpilot with over 10,000 reviews as the writing of this article and carries a solid 4.5/5 stars.
How Much Do Waldo Contact Lenses Cost?
When you sign up for the subscription service through Waldo, there are a couple of different subscription plans that are offered and some provide you with additional discounts on top of the already bargain of a price.
If you want your contacts to be delivered and billed once a month, it cost $19.50 per box of 30 contact lenses. One box for each eye will make your total cost $39 a month for daily contact lenses. That is just over a dollar a day for contact lenses.
If you prefer to have your contact lenses only delivered and billed once every three months, the cost is $18.00 per box of 30 contact lenses. Going with this option brings the cost per month down to $36 per month and gets billed in one charge of $108 once every three months.
If you would rather have your contact lenses delivered and billed once every 6 months you could save even more. The contact lenses cost $17 per box of 30 contact lenses. This option brings your cost per month down to $34 per month and gets billed in once charge of $204.
How Does Waldo’s Price Compare To Competitors?
Everyone likes to compare Waldo and Hubble because they are both direct to customer brands but I personally don’t feel like you could compare the two fairly since they are both made of two different materials and Hubble’s Hydrogel lenses are in my opinion, overpriced.
But if you want to see a price comparison that is actually fair and a good comparison on how Waldo as a direct to customer brand is saving you money without sacrificing quality we would price compare Waldo’s contact lenses with Acuvue’s 1-Day Moist.
I used the prices from my favorite online contact lens retailer AC Lens, which generally has the most affordable prices for nearly every brand of contact lenses.
A 30 pack of Acuvue 1-day Moist will cost you $30.99 a box compared to Waldo’s $19.50 a box. That is an $11.49 difference for contact lenses that are made from the same exact material contact lenses.
One thing that Acuvue has that I hope in the future will be an option for Waldo is the option of 90 packs. A 90 pack of Acuvue 1-Day Moist will run you around $56.99 which is a great discount compared to their 30 pack. But when compared to Waldo’s quarterly offering, 90 contact lenses will only cost you $54 and still cheaper than the Acuvue 1-Day Moist.
Hopefully in the future Waldo will be offering more size options with better discounts for those that want to subscribe for larger options.
How Long Does Shipping Take For Waldo Contacts?
When you order your free trial, after it is approved by your eye care provider the contacts will get to you within 2-3 business days. Recurring subscriptions get shipped with free 2-day shipping, but if you have a subscription you could customize many aspects of your subscription and you could change your delivery date to whatever day works best for you.
This can be all done quickly and simply by logging into your Club Waldo account.
The only cost for shipping you will ever have to pay is $2.95 for the trial contact lenses. Shipping for subscription contact lenses from Waldo is always free.
Does Waldo Accept Vision Insurance?
Waldo does not directly accept any vision insurance plans to apply to your order. However after you place your order, you will be able to access an itemized receipt in your Club Waldo account which you could use to submit to your vision insurance provider to get reimbursed.
Does Waldo Accept FSA/HSA (Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts)?
Waldo can accept your FSA/HSA cards if it is affiliated with a major credit card provider such as VISA or MasterCard. You would simply enter in your card number at check out just like you would a normal credit card.
Most FSA/HSA cards will require you to verify your purchase with an itemized receipt which you could locate in your Club Waldo account.
Pros and Cons Of Waldo Direct To Customer Contact Lens Subscription
Just with anything there are pros and cons to using a direct to customer prescription contact lens service such as Waldo. There are many people out there that would prefer to go to their local optical retailer or private doctor’s office and pick up their contacts instead of ordering online. But there are pros and cons to both, let’s take a look at some.
- Convenient – One of the big benefits of ordering online is that you could do it anywhere and anytime. There is no need to get in your car and use up gas driving to a physical location.
- Predictable Payments – What if you ran out of contacts between paydays? You would be stuck until you could get some more. With a subscription service, you could set your delivery and billing date to match up with your paycheck. This way you will never have to worry about having enough to get your eyeballs.
- More Affordable – This goes for most online contact lenses and isn’t just limited to direct to customer subscription services. But they are more affordable when compared to direct competitors.
- Flexibility – You could cancel or stop your subscription any time, or change how often you get them delivered.
- Quality – One thing that Waldo did right was that they didn’t sacrifice the quality of the lens material to create a more affordable contact lens.
- Subscription – Having your contact lenses on a subscription is quite convenient. Gone are the days of running out of contacts and having to run and go buy some.
- Can’t Apply Insurance Benefits – While you can always submit in your itemized receipt to your vision insurance provider to get reimbursed if you paid out of pocket, you can’t directly apply your benefits to your order to take the money off right away. So you will still need to pay and get reimbursed through your insurance.
- No Astigmatism (Toric) or Multifocal Options – This is the downside of these services and new direct to customer contact lenses. Most direct to customer contact lens brands are all fairly new so none of them offer lenses for individuals that need astigmatism or multifocal corrections.
- Limited Spherical Power Range – Compared to other contact lens brands, Waldo’s doesn’t offer the full power range for spherical prescriptions and only goes between +4.00 and -12.00. If your prescription is within that range, your good. But there are brands that have power ranges between +6.00 and -18.00.-
There you have it, the pros and cons. Whether or not the pros outweighs the cons just depends on you.
Since we are here talking about contacts, I just wanted to remind everyone of some best practices for wearing contact lenses to keep your eyes healthy.
Tips For Healthy Eyes While Wearing Contact Lenses
Contact lenses have always been the riskier option if you are comparing between glasses and contact lenses. Afterall the contact lenses do physically sit on your eyes.
But you shouldn’t let that scare you into not wearing contact lenses. If you follow all of the proper handling and care tips that are provided from your eye doctor when you get your exam for contacts, the risk is low.
Here are some tips to ensure you are minimizing the risk of contact lenses and keeping your eyes healthy.
- Wash Hands – This might be an obvious one, especially with all this COVID-19 stuff going on but this is the single most important step. Washing your hands before you handle your contact lenses ensures that there are not any contaminants on your hands that could transfer over to your contact lenses. Oh and don’t use hand sanitizer to clean your hands before putting on contact lenses, you don’t want to get that stuff in your eyes.
- Avoid Overwearing – You should always follow the recommended wearing schedule for your specific contact lenses and try to avoid overwearing them whenever possible. I made this mistake once and got an eye infection and couldn’t wear contacts for over a month.
- Avoid Sleeping In Them – Unless your doctor approved you to wear your contact lenses overnight, don’t do it. You should always ask your eye doctor during your exam if you intend on wearing them overnight. This way the doctor can prescribe you a brand that is approved for overnight wear and ensure your eyes are healthy enough for extended wear contacts.
- Reduce Wearing Time – When you get home from work, give your eyes a break and throw on some glasses. Reducing the amount of time the contact lenses are on your eyes will reduce the chances of developing any complications.
- Throw Away Expired Contacts – Don’t attempt to use expired contact lenses. The solution that contact lenses are stored in could break down and have an unstable pH. This could lead to a serious eye infection that could potentially cause blindness.
- Feel Discomfort? Get Help – If you see any unusual redness, feel any discomfort, sensitivity to light, or any change in your vision, stop wearing the contact lenses and contact your eye care practitioner as soon as you can.
Waldo Final Verdict
If you are paying a lot for your contact lenses and you want to explore a potentially more affordable option, I say give Waldo a try. Since they offer the free trial, the only thing you would really be risking is the $2.95 shipping cost for your trials, that’s less than a coffee these days. If you are ready to give them a shot, click on the banner below to get your 10-day pack of trials free!
As I mentioned before, weigh your pros and cons before making your final decision. It might help to have however much your current contact lenses cost nearby as well so you could compare prices to make sure you are indeed saving money. Keep in mind these are daily lenses so they are always going to be more expensive if you are comparing them to a bi-weekly or monthly contact lens. But, daily lenses do give you the healthiest option, since you have a new contact lens every single day so that’s something to consider as well.
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