First and foremost, let me be clear, this is NOT our normal contact lens review. In fact, no one on our team even fits Hubble contacts (and I’ll explain why in this article). However, since we pride ourselves on providing you with accurate and transparent information, I decided to research, order, and review Hubble contacts. Below is a complete review of what you need to know about Hubble contacts, including the pros and cons of wearing these lenses.
Introducing Hubble (the contacts not the telescope)
To start, Hubble contacts first became available to the US market in late 2016. Inspired by the subscription-based business model of Harry’s shaving company, Hubble launched with a vision of disrupting the contact lens marketplace. Since their launch, they have raised multiple rounds of funding and are now serving customers in Canada (2017), the UK (2018), and beyond.
Shipped to your door in fancy packaging, what most people don’t know is that the lens material these contacts are made of (methafilcon A) was developed over 20 years ago! Which raises the question, would you purchase a car, cell phone, or just about anything with 1990s technology? Probably not.
Another thing to consider is that the oxygen permeability (i.e. Dk) of Hubble contacts is 21. This is extraordinarily low compared to the newest contact lenses available.
Put in laymen’s terms, the Dk of a lens is the amount of oxygen that can pass through the lens to the front of your eye (i.e. the cornea). The higher this number is, the better. And just like the rest of your body, your cornea needs oxygen for proper functioning.
For comparison purposes, Hubble, Acuvue Oasys 1-Day with HydraLuxe, MyDay, and Dailies Total1 were all launched in the US within the last 5 years. Their respective release years and Dk values are as follows:
|Contact lens||Year of US market release||Oxygen permeability (Dk)|
|ACUVUE OASYS® 1-Day with HydraLuxe™||2015||103|
Looking at the chart above, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Hubble contacts were the most recently released product yet they have the lowest Dk value. Also, it’s probably no surprise that with an increase in breathability comes superior comfort and vision.
To be fair, there is a cost difference between these lenses and Hubble. The reason being, of the 4 lenses launched over this 5 year time period, only Hubble is manufactured with a significantly outdated material. And, just like anything, innovative products take time, energy, and money to develop.
On their website, Hubble makes the statement, “Hubble is a new brand of contact lenses.” While true, what they aren’t being transparent about is that their new brand comes with a very old, outdated material.
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Powers, availability and more
Hubble contacts are available in powers ranging from -12 to +8. Therefore, they’re designed to fit a large range of contact lens wearers. Also, Hubble has built-in UV protection (80% UVA and 95% UVB) and a light blue visibility tint for handling purposes.
Are Hubble contacts right for you?
- Inexpensive (for a daily contact lens).
- Delivered to your door through an adjustable subscription service.
- Designed with recyclable packaging.
- Made from a significantly outdated lens material that can cause complications (i.e. dryness, infections, etc.).
- Not available in a toric or multifocal lens option.
- Questionable company ethics and concern for consumer eye health (see more below).
One thing the team at Hubble really prides themselves on is their cost to the consumer. In fact, the first thing you see when you go to their homepage is a statement that says, “The more affordable daily contact lens.”
As a result, a month supply of lenses for both eyes is $33 (plus tax). This breaks down to $30 for 60 contact lenses (or $0.50 a lens) and $3 for shipping and handling.
When compared to older contacts, designed with similar (outdated) lens materials, Hubble contacts are around the same price (and, in some cases, even more expensive).
My personal experience
Truth be told, I first ran across Hubble contacts on Facebook and Instagram. In fact, according to their interview with Forbes, 95% of their ad dollars have been used on these social platforms. After repeatedly seeing their ads, I decided to investigate the lens further and requested my free box.
As soon as I clicked on their ad to “learn more”, I immediately noticed how clean, user-friendly, and well designed their website was. After entering in my prescription, I was prompted to input my doctor’s information. Since I’m a practicing optometrist, I typed in my information and was immediately congratulated on two free weeks of contacts. Of course, I was also informed that my prescription would first be verified by my eye doctor.
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Where things got interesting
As soon as I made the order, I informed my office staff to let me know when they received a call from Hubble to verify my prescription. To my surprise, a few days went by and we never received a call. A week or so later, still no call. This is despite the fact that I was promised at checkout my prescription would be verified. Not to mention, Hubble has this disclaimer printed at the top center of their professional fitting guide:
CAUTION: FEDERAL (USA) LAW RESTRICTS THIS DEVICE TO SALE BY OR ON THE ORDER OF A LICENSED PRACTITIONER.
Without being verified, one week went by and my free trial of Hubble contacts arrived in the mail. The packaging was fun and aesthetically pleasing while the instructions booklet contained cute, colorful graphics with user-friendly information.
The next morning, I had no trouble putting them in and actually found them quite comfortable…for the first few hours. However, it was right around lunchtime when I noticed my eyes started to feel extremely irritated and gritty. An hour or two more went by and I came to the conclusion that these contacts were simply not comfortable. As a result, I took them out and never looked back.
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Canceling my Hubble subscription
A few weeks went by and I received another package in the mail from Hubble. This time it was a 30-day supply and it dawned on me that I forgot to cancel my subscription! Uninterested in the contacts, I still opened the shipping box (because who doesn’t like opening mail).
Upon logging into my Hubble account, I discovered I could only cancel my subscription by calling them at 844-334-1640. The cancelation process was easy but returning my unopened boxes was another story. To my surprise, since I had opened the shipping box, I was advised I could not return the lenses.
Turns out Hubble does not seal their contact lens boxes on both ends. Therefore, to prevent tampering of the product, they only allow you to return unopened shipping boxes (for a $5.00 restocking fee plus shipping and handling costs).
Note: Standard practice for most contact lens retailers is that you can return unopened contact lens boxes within a specific time period.
Two things that concern me about Hubble
1) Hubble took an old, outdated lens material and is branding it as a cool, new product. In fact, they even display on their website, “Nothing is more important to us than the quality and comfort of our contacts.” Yet, when you research what they’re actually selling, there is nothing quality (or innovative) about it. If the company really cared about your eyes, why didn’t they take the time to develop a product that aligns with today’s standards and technology?
2) My prescription was never verified (yet I still was mailed Hubble contacts). After doing some research, I discovered I’m not the only person this has happened to (as you can see here and here). This is also why I don’t know any eye doctors that fit this lens. From an eye health and safety perspective, the gross negligence that occurred here could be devastating!
Overall, kudos to the Hubble cofounders (one of which used to work at Harry’s). They took an old material and built a branded behind a fun name and sexy marketing campaign. But, unlike razors, contact lenses are medical devices. It’s only a matter of time until the people that try Hubble contacts discover the company’s marketing out does their product
Truth be told, I’m all for innovative disruption when it comes to improving products and services. In fact, I’m a Harry’s subscriber and ordered my last mattress through Leesa. Therefore, if you’re looking for a subscription-based contact lens service, I highly recommend you check out Sightbox. They book your eye exam for you and support all major contact lens brands.
The reality is, you often get what you pay for! Unfortunately, these contacts are not the bargain they’re cracked up to be. If you’re looking at evaluating your contact lens options, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with your neighborhood eye doctor. They’ll take into account your visual demands and fit you with contacts that support you and your lifestyle!
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Hubble Contacts Overview
|Year of US market release||2016|
|Base curve (i.e. curvature of the contact lens)||8.6|
|Diameter (i.e. width of the contact lens)||14.2|
|Powers||+6.00D to -6.00D (in 0.25D steps)
-6.00D to -12.00D (in 0.50D steps)
|Handling tint||Light blue|
|Dk (i.e. oxygen permeability)||21.4|
|Center thickness||0.10 mm @ -3.00|
|Wear type||Daily wear|
|Replacement schedule||Daily (i.e. throw away at the end of the day)|
|Trials||15 pairs when you first subscribe online|
|Available for purchase||30 packs|
|Approved to be slept in?||No|
|Inside out markings?||No|
|UV protection?||Yes (80% UVA and 95% UVB)|