Calculate the Cost of Glasses, Prescription Sunglasses, Contact Lenses, Exams, and More
Seventy percent of Americans require some type of corrective lenses, according to a recent Gallup poll. The same poll revealed that 40 percent of Americans who rely on traditional vision correction methods are considering laser vision correction, but 39 percent of those who won’t consider it cite cost as an issue.
And why worry about cost? Because most vision insurance plans do not cover laser vision correction, like SBK LASIK surgery or refractive lens exchange.
But what these respondents haven’t considered is the amount of money they’ll spend on eyeglasses or contact lenses over the course of their adult lives. If they had, then they’d know that laser vision correction procedures can actually save them thousands of dollars.
The Average Cost of Eyeglasses Over a Lifetime
Vision insurance generally covers new frames every two years and new lenses every 12 months. If you need them more frequently, you can expect to pay out of pocket.
According to data from VSP, a vision insurance provider, the average cost of eyeglasses frames without insurance is $242. Basic, single-vision lenses are $113, for a total of $351 per complete pair of prescription eyeglasses. If you prefer designer frames, or if you need specialized or progressive lenses, you can expect to pay even more.
With insurance, however, you’ll still pay about $120 per pair, assuming you stick to the basics.
Now, consider that the average lifespan for Americans is about 79 years. This means that for the 61 years of adulthood, getting new eyeglasses every two years, you’ll pay nearly $11,000 over your lifetime for eyeglasses if you don’t have insurance, or $7,320 with insurance. And remember, this is only if you’re purchasing basic frames and lenses, without bifocals, protective coatings, or opting for the thinner polycarbonate material.
Contact Lens Out-of-Pocket Costs for Life
Vision insurance covers prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you want both, then you’ll pay out of pocket for one or the other.
Contact lenses cost between $150 to $1,500 per year, depending on brand, type, and vision insurance coverage. This price range is so broad because their costs vary due to a range of factors. For example, an uncommon prescription is likely to be more expensive than one that corrects mild nearsightedness.
Let’s consider once again, the average American lifespan contains 61 years of adulthood – that is, being 18 or older. This means that contact lenses can cost between $9,150 to $91,500 per lifetime, depending on whether the lenses are specialized and whether your insurance plan covers their purchase.
The Cost of “Cheaters” and Prescription Sunglasses
But what about the other vision aids? How much will adult Americans spend on those in their lifetimes?
“Cheaters,” or over-the-counter reading glasses are some of the most affordable vision correction aids available, selling for as little as $1.25 in certain discount stores, but costing upwards of $50 for more premium materials and styles. And because you risk misplacing these glasses, breaking them, or scratching them up as you carry them in your purse or laptop bag, you’re likely to need at least three pairs per year – a total of $3.75 to $150. Multiply that by 39 adult years – the span of life between age 40 and 79 – and you’ve spent between $146.25 and $5,850.
Prescription sunglasses, an optional vision aid, are quite expensive because vision insurance generally does not cover them. You can expect to pay the non-insurance rate of prescription glasses out of pocket each time you need a new pair – which is likely as often as your prescription changes. Thus, we can estimate that prescription sunglasses will cost you about $11,000 in your lifetime – and again, that’s only if you’re getting standard corrective lenses.
The Cost of a Laser Vision Correction Procedure in Kansas City
Once you reach adulthood, you could be eligible for a laser vision correction procedure. Whether you have astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness, there is likely a treatment for you, so you can get rid of expensive contact lenses or eyeglasses for good.
Your vision insurance won’t cover laser vision correction, although rare plans do offer to reimburse a small percentage of the cost.
Even so, laser vision correction, like LASIK surgery, on average, costs between $2,000 and $3,000 per eye. Other procedures’ pricing will vary.
However, when comparing the $4,000 to $6,000 cost for LASIK surgery, one of the most common laser vision correction procedures, you’ll still enjoy at least several thousands of dollars of savings over traditional vision aids.
How Much Do You Value Your Eyesight?
We haven’t yet considered the inherent value of vision when weighing whether laser vision correction is truly more affordable than eyeglasses or contact lenses.
If you’re a glasses or contacts wearer, consider the number of times you’ve:
- Lost a contact lens during the workday or an important event, or needed to take them out, clean them, and re-insert them.
- Dropped a contact lens into the sink or onto the floor while trying to insert them while you were running late in the morning.
- Broken your eyeglasses at an inopportune time and had to either wait for a replacement, or wear an old pair with the wrong prescription.
- Fumbled for your eyeglasses in the middle of the night so you could get up to attend to a child or to use the restroom.
- Entered a warm building after being outside in the winter, only to have your eyeglasses lenses fog up and interfere with your vision for several minutes at a time.
- Gone swimming and removed your eyeglasses or contact lenses, and couldn’t see to play water games with your kids, friends, and other family members, or had difficulty staying in your lap lane.
- Had to push your eyeglasses back up on your nose after slipping down repeatedly while performing activities.
These little annoyances and inconveniences add up. You simply cannot seize the day when you’re constantly dealing with eyeglasses or contact lenses. What is it worth to you to find freedom from this? Ask yourself whether that amount is more than the cost of laser vision correction.
Do You Qualify for Laser Vision Correction?
It’s okay to give up in life – if what you’re giving up is inconvenient, outdated vision correction aids! If you’re interested in seeing better without the help of glasses or contacts, all you have to do is schedule a free no-obligation consultation at Durrie Vision in Overland Park.
During your consultation, our team will carefully examine your eyes to determine whether you’re a good candidate for LASIK surgery, refractive lens exchange, refractive cataract surgery, SMILE, PRK, or another procedure. If you are, we’ll answer any questions you have and talk to you about scheduling your refractive surgery when it works best for you. (And because most recovery times are incredibly short, that’s almost any time for many people!)