Talk about an eye-opening disruptor. No, not Warby Parker, Hubble Contacts. This start-up is looking to do the same with contact lenses as Warby Parker did for frames””with an e-commerce company offering a less costly way to buy vision correction.
For a company to be successful, it needs to solve a problem. Hubble Contacts solves two: contact lens price and compliance. Daily disposable contact lenses can be costly and other modalities are often worn too long to extend the life of the patient’s lens supply to save money. How much money are we talking? Prices for Hubble’s FDA-approved lenses can be less than half of those offered by the major contact lens manufacturers””$30 a month or $264 a year. They achieve this by selling lenses directly to consumers from their manufacturing partner in Taiwan.
What they’re doing right: They wish to partner with optometrists for patient prescriptions. They help consumers search for a local provider and even help schedule the eye exam. So, what could go wrong? Ill-fitting contacts for one. If consumers aren’t aware of the proper process for prescribing contact lenses, which includes follow-up visits to ensure they are fitting properly, they run the risk of ulcers, damaged corneas and other eye health concerns, which may create vision problems in the long run. As eyecare professionals, educating patients on the process of fitting contact lenses, regardless of where they purchase them from, is important.
Hubble is not the only subscription-based company offering contact lenses. Sightbox offers a similar service for $39 a month, but supplies contact lenses from major manufacturers. And there are more start-ups in the development stages. That means your best defense is to keep your patient base informed of best practices in terms of eye health and keep yourself informed of what new products are being advertised to consumers.
Joanne Van Zuidam | Editor-In-Chief