How much do contact lenses cost?
Other factors that can affect your contact lens costs include manufacturer rebates, discounts for buying a year's supply at once and how frequently you replace your lenses.
"Ballpark Estimates" Of Contact Lens Costs
Because many factors affect contact lens cost and prices frequently change, it's difficult to describe lens costs accurately.
Daily disposable contacts. Daily disposable lenses are designed to be discarded after a single use. But generally speaking, if you are short sighted and are prescribed a popular brand of disposable soft contact lenses, these lenses frequently are sold by a well known chain of opticians at a retail price of as little as £7.50 for 30 lenses so just £15.00 per month. Some premium brand lenses will cost £30.00 to £40.00 per month. You will need to budget for regular check ups too of course.
A number of factors can change this estimate, including:
Astigmatism. Contact lenses that correct astigmatism cost more than soft contacts that only correct nearsightedness or farsightedness. Daily Soft contact lenses for astigmatism, called toric contacts, frequently retail from £32.00 per month. Monthly torics start at about £15.00 per month but you need to budget for cleaning solutions with these lenses. Higher performing more sophisticated materials will cost more.
Colored contacts. Tinted soft contact lenses to enhance or change your eye color are more expensive than clear lenses or lenses with only a faint handling tint (which helps you see the lens in your storage case or helps you find the lens if you drop it). Expect to pay roughly 70 to 80 percent more for colored contact lenses than for non-tinted lenses.
Presbyopia. If you are over age 40 and need bifocals, there are a number of contact lens options to correct presbyopia. If your optician recommends and prescribes disposable bifocal contact lenses, an estimated monthly cost for these lenses is from £32.00 (similar to the cost of disposable toric contacts). So again, an annual lens cost of almost £400.00 is not unusual if you wear the lenses daily. Monthly replacement multifocals will start at about £22.00 per month. Again more premium high performing lenses will cost more.
Gas permeable contact lenses. Rigid gas permeable contacts are custom-made for each patient. Because they are not mass-produced like soft contacts, gas permeable lenses are more expensive than soft lenses. Though the per-lens cost of gas permeable lenses (also called RGP or GP contacts) is higher, a single pair of GP lenses can last a whole year. So the annual cost of wearing gas permeable lenses often is very comparable with the cost of soft lenses. Ask your optician for a cost comparison for your specific visual needs.
Custom contacts. Custom-made contact lenses are available in both gas permeable and soft lens materials. Commonly prescribed custom GP lenses are gas permeable contacts designed to correct very specific vision problems caused by keratoconus and other hard-to-fit-eyes. Custom contact lenses are significantly more costly than conventional GP or soft lenses.
Cost Of Contact Lens Solutions
Don't forget about the cost of contact lens solutions to clean and disinfect your lenses. If you wear contacts on a daily wear basis and clean and disinfect them after each use this can be significant.
One way to avoid the cost and hassle of lens cleaning is daily disposable contacts. Since you discard these lenses after each use, often there is no need for contact lens solutions.
It's a good idea, though, to keep a bottle of contact lens solution handy if you wear daily disposable contacts, in case you need to rinse or rewet your lenses during the day. This is especially true if you live or work in a dry, dusty environment.
FIND AN OPTICIAN: An optician can assess your vision, find an optician near you.
Liz Segre & Richard Edwards also contributed to this article.
Prices from Specsavers website correct as of 17 January 2022.
Page published in March 2022
Page updated in March 2022