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Cost Summary of Contact Lenses
Price Range – $200 to $300 per year
Average Cost – $45/box for daily contact lenses; $35/box for monthly contact lenses
Cheapest Price – $15 per box for six-pack of daily disposables.
Do Contact Lenses Expire?
Disposable contact lenses are sold in packages that include individually sealed pairs or lenses. They are stored in sterile saline solution to keep them from drying out. The seal doesn’t last forever, though, and the expiration date reflects the latest date by which the contacts can safely be used. Beyond that date, the seal may be compromised, which means the contacts could be contaminated. The typical expiration date is four years from the date of manufacture.
Do Contact Lenses Hurt?
Contact lenses are not supposed to hurt. If they do, something is wrong. The lens itself may be dirty, so try cleaning it. If this doesn’t help, try a fresh pair. If new contact lenses hurt, make an appointment to see your eye doctor. An eye infection or an injury may be the culprit.
Cost of Contacts With Insurance
Vision insurance often covers at least part of the cost of contact lenses. Depending on the type of insurance you have, some brands may be covered while others aren’t. The copay for a year’s supply of contacts can be as little as $25, which is a significant discount. Some plans charge copays by the box, and the average cost per box is $10.
Cost of Contacts Without Insurance
Even if you have health insurance, vision care may not be included. The cost of contact lenses without insurance depends on the type you need and on whether they’re daily or extended-wear contacts. For example, a 90-day supply of daily disposable contacts will cost between $70 and $100. A year’s supply of 90-day contact lenses averages between $170 and $300. Extended-wear contacts that can be worn for up to a year at a time cost between $150 and $375 without insurance.
Monthly and Yearly Cost of Contact Lenses
Non-disposable contacts tend to cost a little less than disposable contacts. However, you also need to buy cleaning supplies, which can set you back $150 to $200 per year. The average annual cost of non-disposable contacts is $150 to $375, which breaks down to $13 to $31 per month. The average annual cost of disposable contacts is $170 to $400, which breaks down to $14 to $33 per month. You don’t have to buy cleaning supplies for disposables, however, so they are usually cheaper.
Where is the Cheapest Place to Buy Contact Lenses?
Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Target are all popular places to buy contact lenses, but which one is the cheapest? If you need an exam and fitting as well, shop around first. Prices vary from one location to the next, and that’s true even with different Costco locations. As far as the cost of contact lenses go, Costco is generally considered to offer the best deals. However, some brands may be cheaper at different stores, and some retailers may not carry the brand you want at all. Free shipping is offered by all four retailers with minimum orders of around $50, so buying online is a great option too.
Cost of Colored Contacts
Colored contacts, or tinted contacts, tend to cost more than regular contacts. Whether you want them for purely aesthetic reasons or because they are medically necessary, you can expect to pay 50 to 80 percent more for them.
Cost of Contacts versus Cost of Glasses
Unless you are planning to buy the most basic glasses and won’t replace them for a few years, contact lenses are almost certain to be cheaper. On average, people spend about $300 on new eyeglasses. A year’s supply of contact lenses costs an average of $350 to $400. However, new glasses can cost upwards of $800 when special features are tacked on, and many people like buying new glasses every year. When comparing the cost of glasses versus contacts, make sure to factor in cleaning solution as well.
Cost of Daily Contacts versus 30-Day Contacts
The average cost for a box of daily disposable contact lenses is $45. The nice thing about them is that they don’t need to be cleaned. You simply put in a new pair every day. The average cost for a box of 30-day contacts, which only need to be replaced once per month, is $34.
Cost of Disposable Contact Lenses
On paper, it looks like disposable contacts cost more. However, you usually don’t need to clean them, so you can eliminate the cost of cleaning solution. A 90-day supply of daily disposable contacts costs an average of $85.
Cost of Contacts for Kids
Contacts for kids typically cost the same as contacts for adults. Parents can expect to pay an average of $300 per year for contacts for their children. As with contacts for adults, the price will vary depending on whether or not they are disposable, tinted, used to treat astigmatism and other factors. Furthermore, the annual cost will drop considerably if the contacts are covered by vision insurance or if a flexible spending account is used to purchase them.
Cost of Contacts for Astigmatism
Just because you have astigmatism doesn’t mean you can’t use contacts. It does mean that you will probably pay more for them, though. The average cost for a box of six soft, or toric, contacts for astigmatism is $60, which puts the average annual cost between $500 and $700.
As with anything else, it pays to do some research and to shop around when buying contact lenses. If you have vision insurance, make sure you know what’s covered and what isn’t before you start looking. Whether you have insurance or not, check with online and local retailers to see where you can find the best deals. Rebates are often available as well, so make sure to take advantage of them whenever possible.