Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

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ebotrd
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Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by ebotrd » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:28 pm

Bottom line: has anyone studied up on contact lenses and found the best/cheapest deal for the long term that works?
So far, it appears monthly contact lenses that you clean each day are most likely going to be cheapest in the long run.
I've been looking through Clark Howard's list (https://clark.com/health-health-care/ch ... ct-lenses/) of suggested online contact lens sources. Another source I found (http://www.lens101.com/contact-lens-car ... world.html) did a deep dive on contact lens prices in the USA and internationally, and noted Bauch & Lomb Soflens 38 from Contact Lens King (https://www.contactlensking.com/prodDet ... upCode=FW6) seemed to be the cheapest - looks like they'd be about $60 for a year's supply. However, other contact lens wearers out there probably have struggled with the same issue - unlike buying glasses, with contact lenses, the brand is part of the prescription, and the base curvature (BC) and diameter of your prescription may only be offered by a couple of manufacturers. Our daughter's is base curvature 8.5, diameter 14.3, sphere -2.5. The manufacturer on the Rx is a daily disposable that seem to be at least $300 to last all year (Acuvue Oasys 1 day with Hydraluxe). From an hour or so of trying to learn about it, it sounds like base curvature is somewhat more important than diameter, with some suggesting you probably could be off by 1/10th or so with either and not necessarily cause an eye health issue, but others saying it could be a big deal (beyond just potential "irritation"), and of course no guarantees, talk to our optometrist, etc. I've only found a couple of sites that let you search by base curvature and diameter, but again only 2-3 manufacturers fit our 8.5/14.3 numbers (not the cheapest-of-all "Bauch & Lomb Soflens 38 from Contact Lens King" of course). This doesn't pass the smell test. Another poster on the same "lens101" thread about prices above did note an option called https://www.daysoft.com/usa/ which claims to not need specific base curvature and diameter because "Additional information such as diameter is not required because our lens material is very soft and has a unique uni-fit, rounded edge." Those would cost ~$100/year. I have heard Costco and Walmart are also worth a try, so planning to explore those options (but doubt they'll beat online options significantly).
Good old glasses seem to be the cheapest option by far, but of course, but this is a young lady who wants her contacts.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. -- E. Musk.

Irisheyes
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by Irisheyes » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:48 pm

I recently went from monthly contact lenses to dailies, because the monthlies were giving me irritation on the inside of my lids. Having astigmatism, there are only a couple brands that work for me.

I wasn't happy about the increase in cost with dailies, but bought the brand the doctor recommended on a discount web site (discountcontactlenses.com). There was a 20% new customer discount which made the year's supply I bought more reasonable.

In addition (and I suppose all the eye doctors on here will hammer me for this), I wear each lens for two days rather than the recommended one day. This cuts my cost by 50% and to me is a better approach to saving money than buying a brand of lens that might not quite fit. I disinfect the lens overnight. So far (6 months in) no problem. Not sure I would recommend this plan for a young person though, as it could be difficult for a younger person to keep track of when to discard the lens. I'm quite scrupulous about never wearing a pair for longer than two days.

Jim Beaux
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by Jim Beaux » Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:57 pm

I wear the 30 day, Air Optix Night & Day Aqua. I sleep in them & hardly take them out.

Best price Ive found is https://www.contactlensking.com/

One year supply -
Sub Total $119.80
Processing Fees $7.96
Shipping $7.95
Handling $0.00
Total $135.71

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ebotrd
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by ebotrd » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:56 pm

Thanks Irish. I did notice that when you get to the point of ordering contact lenses on line, the websites all seem to want the prescription AND doctor's contact information - apparently they check with the doctor to see if they'll allow you to go 1/10th or 2 off the BC and diameter numbers, or choose a different manufacturer. A very good thing I suppose. So, I'll call the doc and see if they allow any flexibility at all. From what I read if the base curvature or diameter is off, the contact lens could slide around in your eye more and of course cause too much discomfort. Also, if the base curvature is to "tight" a curve it could press a bit on the cornea which could cause bigger problems. A base curvature that's too "open" would probably just slide around more - may or may not - and may or may not cause irritation. Also a smaller diameter could allow the contact lens to touch the edge of the cornea (rather than rest beyond the edge of the cornea), which of course is also uncomfortable. I do know that the cornea is extremely sensitive, whereas the surrounding sclera (white part) has relatively very little sensation.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. -- E. Musk.

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ebotrd
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by ebotrd » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:58 pm

Thanks, Jim.
Hey, check this out - 10% off
https://www.retailmenot.com/view/contactlensking.com
Unfortunately your "Air Optix" aren't anywhere near BC 8.5 and diameter 14.3.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. -- E. Musk.

friareye
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by friareye » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:24 pm

Optometrist here. I will kee it simple: ask your eye doctor (O.D. or MD) to be refit into a less expensive contact lens. Tell them what you are looking for ina contact lense and they should be able give you 2-3 options.
Comfort of a contact lens is determined by fit (base curse and diameter, which both play a role in appropriate amount of movement), material, and edge design. Each brand basically thinks their material and design is the best. What some patients might consider to be an amazing contact lens, another might think it is sandpaper in the eye.
Personally, I wear a daily disposable contact lens. No cleaning and no cases = less risk of infection and/or complications.
And please don’t sleep in your contact lenses. Yes, lots of people do it... But: I had a patient in his mid-30s that had to have one eye removed due to a fungal infection from sleeping in his contact lenses.

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ebotrd
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by ebotrd » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:59 pm

Woah!
Well thanks, friareye! That's great news that they may be able to re-prescribe based on your needs. I think that BL soflens 38 seems to consistently be the best deal for conventional contact lens that I've seen. Maybe that or something similar can be allowed.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. -- E. Musk.

mega317
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by mega317 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:19 pm

Irisheyes wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:48 pm
There was a 20% new customer discount which made the year's supply I bought more reasonable.
This is the answer. Get a new customer discount at every place you can find. There are also healthy discounts through some credit card shopping portals.

jacoavlu
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by jacoavlu » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:22 pm

Will your daughter wear contacts every day? She may still choose to wear glasses sometimes, on a weekend or during allergy season or whatever. So you may not need 360 pair to get through a year.

The dailies are great. I would never go back to any extended wear lens. I got my acuvue at Walmart online recently. Costs me about $1 per day to wear them.

graviteer
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by graviteer » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:57 pm

When I was fitted for contacts, the optometrist sent me home with samples in the same size from the various brands. There was only one kind that my eyes could tolerate. Thus, for my eyes, price-shopping across brands would be a waste of money. Your eyes may vary, of course.

I get contacts from 1-800-CONTACTS. They stock everything, ship fast, take returns when needed, and they will match competitor's prices found online. When it's time to restock, I find the best price I can and send it to them for a match.

By the way, if you think you've found a great deal online, be sure to double-check after clicking all the way through the order. Some of the discount sites will tout low prices up front, but tack on extra fees at the end of the process.

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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:00 am

Costco
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tev9876
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by tev9876 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:48 am

I used to buy mine at Costco and the 30 day lenses were reasonable. When distance contacts started interfering with my reading the Costco optometrist suggested I try mono vision - only wearing one contact for distance and letting the uncorrected eye handle reading. It took my brain a couple days to figure out which eye to use when, but it ended up working out great and cut my lens/saline costs in half. That is one reason I liked Costco - the optometrist is independent and gets no benefit from up selling you on glasses or more expensive contacts.

I ended up with a cataract and opted for a multifocal lens, so now I have one eye that is just about perfect. The other eye didn't develop one and has actually improved a bit. I ended up with a pair of glasses only for night driving, from Costco of course.

Seal the Deal
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by Seal the Deal » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:22 pm

Comfort and fit are most important. So once that is nailed down, then look for the cheapest option in the brand that works best.

I've found a 30 day lens can be used for two months with no problems. Have been doing this for years w/eye doc approval. Never had any issues (don't sleep in them, rinse thoroughly and store properly daily, etc.).

A 1 year supply on contactlensking.com for my lenses $80, which lasts 2 years. Also solution can be expensive, but I've found the store brand is just as good as pricey name brands. When purchased on a good sale an annual supply is around $10.

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ebotrd
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by ebotrd » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:19 pm

So, I called the Optometrist to see if they'd be comfortable with any other contact lens brands or base curvature/diameter sizes. The original Rx for dailies was BC 8.5, diameter 14.3. They said we could try Acuvue's monthly option (gave us a sample :)) with BC 8.4, diameter 14.0. So, that's kind of consistent with what I'd gathered reading about it online - base curvature has less wiggle room and if you wear a BC too much lower "tighter" than your prescription, it might even cause eye damage - to Optometrist in our case is fine with a 0.1 smaller base circumference. Diameter, on the other hand, seems to have more wiggle room and wearing a diameter even several 10ths of a point off won't risk eye damage, but could be uncomfortable. I'll report back which my daughter finds is more comfortable. I plan to soon ask directly as to whether Bausch and Lomb soflens 38 brand would be OK for her, as that seems to be one of the least expensive options I've found online. They also have BC 8.4 and diameter 14.0.
Anyway, I know we can't be giving medical advice on the forum (and it'd be unwise to seek it from anonymous online posters), but I think this show's that it's definitely reasonable to question your eye doctor regarding whether other contact lens options would be reasonable for you.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. -- E. Musk.

pduan87
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by pduan87 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:45 pm

Try typing in the type of your contact lenses into Google Shopping and sort by price. I have often found cheaper prices there than what I could find on the site itself.

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ebotrd
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by ebotrd » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:17 pm

Not bad! Google shopping search I found those BL soflens 38's work out to only about $2/week - and that's if you don't wear them twice as long as recommended as many apparently do.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. -- E. Musk.

cashmoney
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Re: Where do you find the cheapest contact lenses?

Post by cashmoney » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:46 pm

ebotrd wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:28 pm
Bottom line: has anyone studied up on contact lenses and found the best/cheapest deal for the long term that works?
So far, it appears monthly contact lenses that you clean each day are most likely going to be cheapest in the long run.
I've been looking through Clark Howard's list (https://clark.com/health-health-care/ch ... ct-lenses/) of suggested online contact lens sources. Another source I found (http://www.lens101.com/contact-lens-car ... world.html) did a deep dive on contact lens prices in the USA and internationally, and noted Bauch & Lomb Soflens 38 from Contact Lens King (https://www.contactlensking.com/prodDet ... upCode=FW6) seemed to be the cheapest - looks like they'd be about $60 for a year's supply. However, other contact lens wearers out there probably have struggled with the same issue - unlike buying glasses, with contact lenses, the brand is part of the prescription, and the base curvature (BC) and diameter of your prescription may only be offered by a couple of manufacturers. Our daughter's is base curvature 8.5, diameter 14.3, sphere -2.5. The manufacturer on the Rx is a daily disposable that seem to be at least $300 to last all year (Acuvue Oasys 1 day with Hydraluxe). From an hour or so of trying to learn about it, it sounds like base curvature is somewhat more important than diameter, with some suggesting you probably could be off by 1/10th or so with either and not necessarily cause an eye health issue, but others saying it could be a big deal (beyond just potential "irritation"), and of course no guarantees, talk to our optometrist, etc. I've only found a couple of sites that let you search by base curvature and diameter, but again only 2-3 manufacturers fit our 8.5/14.3 numbers (not the cheapest-of-all "Bauch & Lomb Soflens 38 from Contact Lens King" of course). This doesn't pass the smell test. Another poster on the same "lens101" thread about prices above did note an option called https://www.daysoft.com/usa/ which claims to not need specific base curvature and diameter because "Additional information such as diameter is not required because our lens material is very soft and has a unique uni-fit, rounded edge." Those would cost ~$100/year. I have heard Costco and Walmart are also worth a try, so planning to explore those options (but doubt they'll beat online options significantly).
Good old glasses seem to be the cheapest option by far, but of course, but this is a young lady who wants her contacts.


I have been using 1-800 contacts for years- one of the best customer service experience ever.I use the phone for ordering and and a live person will pick up usually on the first ring.They are not the cheapest but will no hassle price match any other online vendor you bring to their attention. I wear acuvue daily moist disposables and usually wear them for at least 3 days not so much because I cheap but because I am lazy and never had issues doing this.I read somewhere where the daily disposable and the lens designed to wear for a week are actually the same thing and it is a marketing thing.who knows.I know for sure the convenience of having daily disposables is definitely worth the few extra pennies you might save using a lens you have clean and store to reuse.No way would I ever do that again.

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