Are Contact Lenses more or less expensive than glasses?
One question that often comes up when trying to decide between contact lenses and eyeglasses is the cost. Many people wonder if contacts cost less over time than conventional prescription glasses. The answer is somewhat complex and depends on your specific circumstances. On average, however, contacts tend to be a little more expensive than traditional eyeglasses (over time).
The average annual price for monthly disposable contacts is around £116 (based on air optix aqua replaced monthly). Of course, contact lens wears also have to invest in liquid solutions to keep their contacts clean every day. These liquid solutions could cost around £100 per year (based on renu all in one). So, in total, the most typical contact lens package is between £216 per year. There are more expensive contacts on the market nowadays, but this is about the average rate.
Daily lenses, where lenses are worn every day and then thrown away, work out between £180 per year for Crystal 1 Day (incredibly this is cheaper than monthly lenses as no solutions are required!) up to £400 per year for a premium daily lens like 1 Day Acuvue Moist.
Most experts say the average eyeglasses wearer spends around £235 on his/her frames. If a person bought eyeglasses every single year, then this might be on par with contact lenses. However, as you're probably aware, people wearing eyeglasses don't generally change their frames annually. Usually a person only buys a new pair of glasses if their eye prescription changes drastically or they break their current glasses.
It is important to note, however, that today there are a ton of designer eyeglasses that cost well over £235. Plus, there are tons of add-on features like UV protection, anti-reflective coatings, and high index lenses. If someone decides on purchasing eyeglasses well over £235, then it might be exactly the same price as contacts.
At the end of the day, the choice between contacts and eyeglasses is really a matter of personal preference. People involved in sports will most likely prefer contacts because they won't have to worry about breaking a pair of glasses. Also, contacts allow the wearer to see perfectly clear peripheral vision, something eyeglasses cannot do.
Many people choose contacts over eyeglasses for aesthetics. You won't have any cumbersome eyeglasses on your face all day long. On the other hand, there are numerous interesting designer eyeglasses that really compliment a wearer's eyes really well. Again, the choice depends on what you personally need from your contacts or eyeglasses.
If someone doesn't feel like they could deal with the strict daily contact lens regimen, then contacts aren't for them. It's far easier just to put on a pair of glasses and head out the door.
But, as mentioned before, choosing between contacts and glasses is ultimately a personal choice. While contacts are a bit more expensive than glasses on average, if someone thinks they'll be happier wearing contacts, then they should go for it.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 2 Nov 2017, Last modified: 4 Mar 2020