Nov. 1, 2017
For years, consumers have been able to buy low-cost eyeglasses from consumer-direct sites such as Warby Parker, Zenni and FramesDirect. Now they have a source for daily disposable contact lenses marketed with a subscription-based delivery plan that claims to be priced lower than traditional channels.
Similar to Warby Parker’s initial marketing plan, Hubble claims to vault over a monopoly that inflates eyewear prices. According the Hubble web site: “Why is it so hard to find affordable contact lenses? In the U.S. and Canada, four manufacturers control about 95 percent of the contact lens market. Without much competition, they’ve set prices to be much higher than they should.”
Hubble’s delivery model is an online-based subscription service, providing daily use contacts for a monthly fee. The contacts won’t be the ones an ECP as prescribed for a patient; rather, a generic daily disposable sold especially by Hubble.
Some doctors are raising questions about the quality of Hubble’s contacts. Cynthia Yin, OD, of Yin Eyecare in Overland Park, Kan., notes in her practice blog: “Hubble contacts are made out of a 20+ year-old lens material called methafilcon A, which has a Dk/t of 18.8. Research shows that a Dk/t of 24 is necessary to maintain cornea health and avoid swelling…Current contact lenses have Dk/t measuring over 80 which allow 4+ times more oxygen to your cornea than older lens materials.”
Free Trial, then $30 per Month
Hubble offers further promotions. The site touts: “With your first shipment, you’ll get 15 pairs of Hubble Lenses for free. Just cover the monthly $3 for shipping & handling.” After that first complimentary shipment, you can get 60 lenses per month for $30.
The site has a doctor locator to facilitate prescriptions especially for Hubble lenses by connecting the patient to doctors who have Hubble fitting sets, and are open to writing prescriptions specifically for Hubble’s product.
What They’re Telling Your Patients
Hubble is marketing heavily to your consumers, with advertising appearing both on television and as sponsored content in consumer publications.
Here is a commercial from Hubble, “A Better Way to Look at Contact Lenses”:
Another Hubble commercial, “You Don’t Have to Spend a Lot”:
A commercial featuring Hubble’s founders, “Why We Started Hubble”:
And this article is appearing as sponsored content in publications: