Are Colored Contacts
Yes, contact lenses that enhance or change your eye color cost more than regular contacts.
The cost of colored contact lenses varies considerably, but generally, you can expect most disposable color contacts to cost roughly 50 percent to 80 percent more than comparable non-tinted disposable contact lenses.
If you buy contact lenses online, a price comparison of three popular online sellers of contacts in September 2012 yielded the following results for some of the best-selling non-tinted and color contact lenses:
|Non-Tinted Lenses||Seller A||Seller B||Seller C||Cost Per Day,
6 lenses per box
|$33.99||$33.99||$25.99||$0.62 to $0.81|
30 lenses per box
|$24.99||$22.49||$19.99||$1.33 to $1.67|
|Color Lenses||Seller A||Seller B||Seller C||Cost Per Day,
|Acuvue 2 Colours
6 lenses per box
|$37.49||$37.49||$29.99||$0.71 to $0.89|
6 lenses per box
|$46.99||$46.99||$36.99||$0.88 to $1.12|
10 lenses per box
|*Prices are for one box and do not include taxes or handling and shipping charges. Volume discounts, manufacturer rebates and other special pricing can reduce these prices significantly. Contact lens sellers reserve the right to change pricing at any time without notice.|
**Cost per day is based on the range of per-box prices for vendors A, B and C. Prices for 2-week replacement lenses do not include the cost of cleaning solutions and lens storage cases (not required for daily disposable lenses).
Why Are Colored Contacts More Expensive?
Color contacts are more expensive than regular contact lenses for several reasons. First, there are additional research and development costs involved in producing colored lenses. Lens manufacturers have to determine the most popular colors and then develop methods to apply tints to the lenses so they look natural on the eye.
Although color contact lenses cost more than comparable non-tinted contacts, the beautiful eye color change can be worth it. Left: Acuvue 2 Colours in sapphire blue. Right: FreshLook VibrantViews in gemstone green.
The tinting process also increases manufacturing costs. And since far fewer colored lenses are produced and sold compared with untinted lenses, manufacturers don't enjoy the same economies of scale in the production process for colored contact lenses.
A number of other factors can increase the cost of colored contact lenses, including:
Astigmatism. Color contact lenses that correct astigmatism cost more than color contacts that correct only nearsightedness or farsightedness. A search of the same three online sellers above found that the base price for FreshLook Colorblends Toric (CIBA Vision), a popular brand of astigmatism-correcting color contacts, ranged from $59.99 to $79.99 per box. (As with the prices quoted in the chart above, this price range does not reflect potential rebates or volume discounts, which can reduce the price significantly. Nor does it include shipping/handling charges.)
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Special-effect contact lenses. Also called theatrical contact lenses, costume contacts and gothic contact lenses, these are popular for Halloween and costume parties. These lenses typically are sold separately in individual glass vials and can range in price from $50 to more than $200 per lens.
Custom color contacts. These are hand-painted and individually produced. An example of custom color contacts are prosthetic contact lenses that are designed to mask a scarred or otherwise deformed eye. Custom color contacts frequently cost several hundred dollars per lens.
Remember, color contact lenses even if they have no corrective power and are being purchased solely to change your eye color are medical devices and cannot be purchased legally in the United States without a valid prescription written by a licensed eye doctor.
Prior to being issued a contact lens prescription, you must undergo a contact lens fitting so your eye care professional can make sure the lenses fit you properly and that your eyes can safely tolerate contact lens wear.
About the Author: Gary Heiting, OD, is senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 25 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear industry. His special interests include contact lenses, nutrition and preventive vision care. Connect with Dr. Heiting via Google+.
[Page updated September 21, 2012]
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