One of the most common questions that people have when they are considering contact lenses is "how much do contact lenses cost?" Obviously, patients don't want to make the switch, no matter how convenient, until they can fully analyze this new expense and compare it with the cost of their glasses. According to one contact lens manufacturer, the price of contact lenses ranges from $175 to $1,400. From this large difference, it's obvious that the answer to this question is not as simple as you might think. There are many factors that come into play when determining contact lenses cost.
Factors that determine the cost of your contact lenses:
1. How often will you replace them?
Different types of contact lenses are designed to be replaced at different times. There are daily disposable lenses contacts, ones that are designed to last two weeks, and ones that are made to last two months or more. How often you plan on replacing your contacts will, obviously, affect the overall contact lens cost. Daily disposable lenses, while most convenient, tend to be slightly more expensive overall than those designed to last longer.
2. Do you have astigmatism correction?
People with astigmatism, a type of refractory error in the eye that causes blurred vision at all distances, didn't used to be able to wear contact lenses. That has changed, but the type of contact needed to correct this type of vision, called a toric lens, is more expensive than other types of contact lenses. However, eye doctors generally don't recommend that you change these types of contact lenses as often as other types, so you'll potentially save money that way.
3. Do you have presbyopia?
Presbyopia is another eye condition that can increase the cost of your contact lenses. This is the loss of focusing function that many people experience once they reach the age of 40 or so. This is usually corrected with bifocal lenses (that have different prescriptions on the top and bottom of the lens). Making these "double" lenses also adds to the cost of contact lenses.
4. What material are the contact lenses made of?
Contact lenses are made from a variety of materials. Newer, softer, breathable contact lenses are made from silicon hydrogel materials. This allows for more oxygen to circulate around the eye and makes for healthier and more comfortable wearing. However, these new materials are more expensive than the older, traditional contact materials.
5. Do you want colored or special effects contact lenses?
Colored contact lenses change the color of a person's iris and can be fun for (non-surgically) updating your look or for adding that extra touch to a Halloween or masquerade party costume. They even have special effects lenses that make your eyes look black or bloodshot. However, colored and special effects contact lenses generally cost more than clear contact lenses, sometimes up to 80 percent more.
6. Where are you purchasing your contact lenses?
Purchasing your contacts online, such as via WebEyeCare.com, is virtually always less expensive. Online eyewear stores like ours don't have the expensive overhead that bricks and mortar stores do and we happily pass our savings on to you. As with any online retailer, pay close attention to the shipping cost, which can negate any online savings if you're not careful. At WebEyeCare.com, we offer free shipping.
7. Does the manufacturer offer a rebate?
Some contact lens manufacturers offer rebates for new customers or to entice customers to try their products. It never hurts to ask your eye doctor or your contact lens retailer if they have a rebate that applies to your prescription.
8. Do you have to have your contact lenses custom made?
Occasionally, a patient won't fit the standard contact lens sizes and prescriptions and will have to have them made especially for him or her. This can be for uniquely-shaped eyes or for unusual prescriptions. Obviously, having custom made contact lenses costs more than buying "off-the-shelf" contacts.
9. How many contact lenses are you purchasing at one time?
As with most other products, contact lens manufacturers offer a discount to those purchasing a large quantity of their product at the same time. However, don't get carried away with quantity discounts; unlike glass lenses, contact lenses have a limited lifespan, usually around four years. Your package will have an expiration month and year.
Other associated costs with contact lenses:
In addition to the cost of the contact lenses themselves, it's important to factor in associated costs when buying contact lenses. These include...
- Bi-annual eye exams. Most doctors recommend that you have your eyes checked at least once every other year. Eye exams generally run between $50 and $100 and are often covered by health insurance policies.
- Contact lens solution. This over-the-counter solution cleans and disinfects your contact lenses. It should be used daily and will run you around $150-$200 annually. Daily use contacts don't require as much solution since you are changing them every 24 hours.