Contacts are an alternative to eyeglasses. They can help correct your vision if you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism.
There are several types of contact lenses to choose from that cater to different vision problems and come at various price points. There are two main kinds of contact lenses, both of which require a valid contact lens prescription to obtain:
There are also specialized contact lenses available, including the following:
There are also two subcategories of contacts:
Contact lenses come at various price points. Typically, daily disposable contacts cost more over time than extended-wear contacts because you have to keep purchasing them. Daily contacts range from about $20 to $50 per box.
Extended-wear contacts may cost lens wearers $10 to $20 more upfront, but they can save money over time because they last longer. Therefore, the annual cost of extended-wear contacts is likely cheaper than single-use contacts.
The cost of contact lenses goes beyond the actual lenses themselves. You first have to visit an optometrist to obtain a prescription for contacts.
The cost of a contact lens exam depends on a few factors, such as where you go to get the exam (many eyewear retailers offer exams, or you can visit an eye doctor).
If you have vision insurance, it may cover your contact lens exam cost at an eye doctor. If you don’t have vision insurance, or if your plan does not cover eye exams, retailers such as America’s Best and Lenscrafters offer low-cost exams. For example, a contact lens exam at America’s Best costs just $89. At Lenscrafters, it costs $60.
The cost to fit contact lenses is sometimes included in your eye exam. However, the contact lens fitting fee is almost always an additional cost (sometimes charged separately from the eyeglass exam).
You may be charged a fitting fee every year because you are generally supposed to have your eyes examined annually to ensure that your prescription is still appropriate. Your eyes can change over time, so exams and fittings can make sure that you are still wearing the right contacts.
Contact lens solution is another expense. If your contacts are reusable, you will have to clean your contacts with a solution to avoid eye infections. This can cost you about $5 to $20 per bottle, depending on the brand you choose.
Most vision insurance will cover contact lenses. You may have to pay a small copay for the exam, but many plans do contribute to or cover the cost of the lenses themselves.
Contact lenses are not necessarily cheaper than glasses. In fact, daily contact lenses may even end up costing more than glasses in the long run.
Like contacts, LASIK laser surgery is an option to correct your vision. Unlike contacts, LASIK is a permanent solution. Both contacts and LASIK are considered safe options, but which one is right for you depends on your vision, budget, and lifestyle.
Talk to your eye doctor to learn more about LASIK and discuss whether contacts, LASIK, or another solution is right for you.
1800 Contacts has a huge selection of contact lenses and award-winning 24/7 customer service.
“$89 Contact Lens Exam.” America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, www.americasbest.com/save-money/contact-lens-exam.
“Casey Eye Institute.” OHSU, www.ohsu.edu/casey-eye-institute/lasik-vs-contact-lenses.
Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Decorative Contact Lenses for Halloween and More.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/contact-lenses/decorative-contact-lenses-halloween-and-more.
Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Types of Contact Lenses.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/medical-devices/contact-lenses/types-contact-lenses.
“Find a Store.” LensCrafters, www.lenscrafters.com/lc-us/eye-exam.
“How Much Do Contacts Cost.” ACUVUE® Contact Lenses, www.acuvue.com/why-contact-lenses/cost-of-contact-lenses.
“Types of Contact Lenses.” AOA.org, www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/vision-and-vision-correction/types-of-contact-lenses?sso=y.