Perhaps you’re considering contact lenses—whether it’s colored contacts that have caught your eye, or the convenience of extended wear contacts that attracts you. If you envision yourself in contact lenses, take a peek at the following “before you buy” questions. The answers might be just what you’re looking for, whether your focus is on contact lens care, the cost of contact lenses, daily disposable contacts, or even those turquoise blue contacts you’ve been coveting.
How often will you wear contacts?
Will you wear contact lenses every day, or will you use them only once in a while for sports or socializing? The answer might help determine the kind of contacts you’ll want to purchase. If you’re an occasional wearer who takes a break from glasses from time to time, you can’t beat single-use daily disposable contacts (bonus: they’re the safest and most sanitary contacts).
On the other end of the spectrum, extended wear contacts are FDA-approved for anywhere from up to 7 to up to 30 days of continuous wear, including occasional overnight wear. These silicone hydrogel contacts let oxygen flow through the lens matrix, allowing for greater comfort and safety.
You’ll also find several in-between options, including daily, weekly, and biweekly contact lenses. Your eye doctor can help you choose the contact lens variety that’s best for you, based on the results of your eye exam as well as your lifestyle and preferences.
How much do you want to pay for contact lenses?
The cost of contact lenses can vary based on a number of factors, including your prescription, the type of contacts that you use, how often you wear them, and where you purchase your contacts. You can often get significant discounts by purchasing a 6- or 12-month supply at once.
For soft contact lenses that you replace every two weeks, expect to spend from $22 to $26 per box of six lenses, with a 12-month supply for both eyes costing from $440 to $520 (before any discounts). You’ll pay a similar price for single-use daily disposable contacts containing 30 lenses per box—but again, purchasing several boxes at once can reduce the cost to about $1 per eye per day, or even less.
The cost of contacts increases if you need toric lenses to correct astigmatism, or if you need bifocal contact lenses; each type runs from $50 to $70 per box of six lenses. Extended wear contacts come at a similar price, though since you change them less often, the annual price will be lower. For colored contact lenses, expect to spend 70 to 80 percent more than you would for non-tinted lenses.
Are you willing to care for your contact lenses?
Some types of contact lenses require more care than others, so it’s best to stick closely to the lens care guidelines that are prescribed by your eye doctor and recommended by the contact lens manufacturer. Reusable contacts will require the “rub and rinse” lens cleaning process, involving contact lens solution. Contact lens wearers also need to minimize the lenses’ contact with water (e.g., remove them when swimming) and replace the contacts frequently to prevent infection.
Single-use disposable contacts and extended wear contacts have vastly reduced the amount of care you need to take with your contacts, almost eliminating the need for contact lens solution. However, even with these types of contacts, you will need to take care to maintain good eye health—making sure your hands are clean yet rinsed of any irritating soap residue before handling your contact lenses, minimizing their contact with water, and wearing and replacing them according to the schedule recommended by your eye care professional.
Are overnight contacts important to you?
If waking up with clear vision from the get-go is important to you, then extended wear contacts that have been approved for overnight wear might be the ticket. Keep in mind that extended wear contacts for nighttime use aren’t appropriate for everyone, and some people cannot tolerate wearing contacts overnight. During your contact lens exam, your eye care professional can advise you on whether or not overnight contacts are right for you, and how many nights in a row you can safely wear them.
Do you want to change your eye color?
Whether you want an exotic new look with hypnotic blue or green eyes, or you’re seeking a spooky and fun accent for your Halloween costume, colored contact lenses can add a vibrant touch to your style. Purely for fashion and fun, non prescription colored contacts (also called plano color contacts) are available in a variety of hues. If your vision needs correction, prescription colored contacts can correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism—giving you an exciting new look at the same time. Keep in mind that tinted contacts will cost more than regular prescription contacts. But if they make you wildly happy, why not?
If you have more questions, or you’re ready to schedule a contact lens exam and fitting, the eye care professionals at Cohen’s Fashion Optical can help. Find a store near you.