Ballpark Estimate: $150 to $400 for a year’s supply
If you have less than perfect vision and don’t want the inconvenience of wearing glasses, you may want to consider the latest crop of contact lenses that are available. From soft and hard versions to disposables and extended wear, there is something out there to fit almost anyone’s needs and preferences.
Helping You See Better
While wearing glasses can be an effective way to improve your vision on a short-term basis, glasses also come with limitations, since they can be difficult to keep on during sports and other activities, and you certainly can’t sleep in them. Contact lenses, on the other hand, offer a simple method of vision correction that can be extremely user-friendly and also extremely effective. Better yet, some types of contacts can be worn 24-hours-a-day so you can wake up already seeing better.
Effective Vision Correction
Contact lenses can address the same eyesight issues as glasses, but offer more convenience for some wearers, since once you have the lenses securely in place, you can forget about them and just take your new 20/20 vision for granted.
Some of the types of issues contacts address include nearsightedness, farsightedness and distorted vision. These and other weaknesses can be easily corrected when you slip on your prescription lenses.
Opting for contact lenses can be more expensive than glasses, since you may have to buy multiple packs if you go for a daily disposable lens or extended wear options, but the benefits you will get in return can well outweigh this investment of time and of money, according to many experts.
Some of the advantages of wearing contacts include:
- Better depth perception
- Improved peripheral vision
- Stronger eye-hand coordination
- Wider vision field
In addition, some of the lenses that are crafted from a more rigid material have actually been found not only to offer vision correction while you wear them, but they also seem to stop some conditions from worsening. This can be particularly helpful to head off worsening eyesight problems among young people.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
What type of contacts will be the best fit for you depends on many factors. For instance, your specific vision correction needs will come into play in helping you decide what will suit you best. In addition, your lifestyle preferences, such as whether you swim or engage in contact sports, and whether you prefer lenses that you won’t have to disinfect, will all make a difference. Your eye doctor will take all of these and other facts into consideration and will help you select just the right choice that will suit you best. In addition, if you want to get a new look in addition to seeing more clearly, you might opt for one of the tinted or color enhancing choices that are currently on the market.
Here is a brief rundown of some of the more popular choices you can find today:
- Hard contact lenses, which are the first type of contacts made. Also known as PMMA (because of the polymethyl methacrylate plastic material from which they are made), these are very durable and cost less than some of the newer options, but they are also less comfortable since they don’t allow oxygen to pass through to the eye.
- Gas-permeable lenses are a more modern version of hard lenses. Unlike the older form, these allow oxygen to get through and feel much better for the wearer, although they can take a while to break in.
- Soft contact lenses are the most popular choice because they are very flexible and easiest on the eyes and become comfortable much more quickly than the more rigid options. They come in disposable form, which means that you wear them for a day, then throw them away, or you can select them in an extended wear version that allows you to keep them in your eyes for up to a month at a time, depending on your specific circumstances.
- In addition, you can find hybrid contact lenses, which offer the best features of both rigid lenses and soft ones and combine them into one product.
- Finally, toric contact lenses correct a problem called astigmatism that causes blurred vision. These lenses are available in both soft and hard forms.
A Prescription for Clearer Vision
No matter what type of contact lens you select, you will need a prescription from a licensed optometrist (doctor of optometry) or an ophthalmologist, which is a medical doctor who specializes in eye health.
Not Right for Everyone
While there is a type of contact lens that will work for many people’s specific needs, they are not right for everyone. If you have difficulty touching your eyes, you may find yourself having trouble putting lenses in. In addition, if you are prone to eye infections or have very dry eyes, you may not be able to tolerate wearing lenses on a regular basis. If you do wear contact lenses and find yourself experiencing any eye pain, discharge or blurred vision, always see your eye doctor for a full evaluation.
Factors Affecting Price
The cost of contact lenses can vary a great deal, depending on where you order them from and what exactly it is you will get. It is also important to know what is included in the price you pay, since it can vary from place to place. When you order contacts from a licensed eye doctor, the price often includes the exam, fitting and follow-up visit. Sometimes cleaning products and training on the proper care and insertion techniques is also included in the cost. In addition, the level of correction you need from your contacts can affect the overall price. For instance, if you need help for an astigmatism through a toric lens, this will often cost more than the same type of more standard lenses. Further, the function you desire from the lens, such as daily or extended wear, will also affect the price a great deal. Extended wear and disposable options can often cost more than other lenses that you remove and clean every day.
What It Costs
Cost for a Year’s Supply:
- Daily disposables: $400 a year
- Two-week disposables: $200
- Monthly disposables: $150
- Toric two-week disposables: $400
- Toric monthly disposables: $200
- Conventional soft lenses: $150
- Rigid gas permeable lenses: $200
- Hybrid soft lenses: $400
So you can expect to pay in the $150 to $400 range for a year’s supply of contact lenses. Your eye exam and cleaning solution may be extra expenses.
Finally, some insurance plans cover some of the costs of contact lenses, so it is worth finding out the specific benefits offered by your health plan.
Seeing the World through Colored Lenses
Colored contact lenses are also a popular option today, offering wearers the chance to see how they look with brighter, darker or more dramatic-colored eyes. Some lenses simply add a deeper or more vivid tint to bring out the best of your own natural eye color, while others are opaque so that they actually block out your existing color in order to change it completely. In addition, two other variations include lenses tinted simply to allow you to see them in order to put them on properly (these don’t change the look of your color) and specially tinted lenses that help filter certain colors to sharpen an athlete’s ability to see a ball or other specific object more clearly.
A year’s supply of the various colored lenses on the market today is apt to run you in the range of between $250 and $400 or more, depending on where you shop and what you select.
To help offset the cost of contact lenses, some consumers turn to online discount outlets such as 1-800-Contacts and Vision Direct to fill their contact lens prescriptions and spend a little less than they would from their eye doctor’s office or vision store like Pearl Vision Center and LensCrafters. Just make sure that any place you order from is licensed and regulated to sell these products. Also keep in mind that it many experts recommend paying more to get your contacts directly from your eye doctor or optical store, rather than ordering remotely, so you can have them personally fitted and checked for the best and safest fit.
Whatever types of contacts you select, remember that getting the right prescription and the proper fit is crucial for your eye health. You also must follow the manufacturer’s handling, cleaning and care instructions for your contacts for the best and safest results. When it comes to your eyes, in the end of course your safety is always more important than what you will spend.