If you're thinking about getting colored lenses that will enhance or change your eye color, you've probably been wondering how much do colored contacts actually cost and what the price difference between such contact lenses and the regular ones is.
Although there are a few factors that can affect the costs which will be covered in this article, colored contacts generally cost 70 to 80 percent more than non-tinted lenses. Also, lenses that are a basic single color often cost less than those that have an advanced mix of shade in order to produce a more natural look.
The costs may also vary according to the brand, how often they need to be replaced (daily, monthly, or even annually), and whether the lenses are corrective or just colored.
Regardless of whether you want to wear colored contacts for vision correction or cosmetic purposes, keep in mind that you will still need to obtain a prescription from an optician. So, even if you're planning to purchase decorative lenses, an eye exam is required (in case you buy the lenses through a retailer that is registered in the U.S.)
What are colored contact lenses?
Before we start talking more about the factors that will affect the costs of colored contacts, it's important to know what these eye-catching lenses actually are.
To put it into simple words, colored contact lenses are specially developed to change the eye color by mimicking the appearance of the iris (the colored part of the eye).
Although such lenses usually cost more compared to the regular ones, people tend to buy them not only for medical but for cosmetic purposes as well.
There are three basic types of color lenses available:
OPAQUE TINTED LENSES (ideal for those with darker eyes)
these lenses allow you to completely change your eye color by adding a non-transparent tint to the lense. They also come in special effect forms so they're often used in movies that include characters like vampires, cats, zombies, or similar.
ENHANCEMENT TINTED LENSES (ideal for people who want to make their eye color more vivid)
They add a solid color to the lens but are still transparent enough to keep your natural eye color.
VISIBILITY TINTED LENSES (ideal for those who don't want to change their eye color)
The blue or green tint of such lenses help the contact stand out during removal and insertion but don't change or affect your eye color in any way.
Typical costs of colored contacts
The costs depend upon the type and style of the lens. If you're looking for disposable color contact lenses, you can expect a price from $45 to $90 a month.
Extended wear lenses (they are typically worn from a week to 3 months) cost between $12 to $90 for a monthly supply.
If you would still prefer a more long-term solution, there are colored contacts that need to be replaced annually. Such lenses cost between $55 and more than $200.
Why do colored contact lenses cost more?
Colored contact lenses involve greater research
In order to make the contacts not just more appealing, but also safe to use, colored contacts involve greater research, especially in terms of color study and the manufacturing process. The goal is to produce unique designs without obstructing vision or doing any other harm to the human eye.
They're made of advanced materials
Today's color contacts are made of a so-called hydrogel material that allows enough oxygen permeability in order to keep your eyes moist throughout the day. Newer versions of such contacts also guarantee UV protection which contributes to the increase in the prices.
They're functional and aesthetic
While regular contacts stay transparent in your eyes, colored lenses offer that extra aesthetic value while also being functional. This is one of the main reasons why many people who do need some sort of vision correction prefer the colored lenses. The functionality is on point while the appearance is eye-catching.
What can increase the costs of colored contact lenses?
ASTIGMATISM - if you are looking for colored lenses that will correct your astigmatism, you will probably have to spend more money on purchasing colored contacts. Such lenses need to make sure to align astigmatic correction properly while keeping the lens from rotating the eye. These colored lenses generally cost twice as much as color lenses that are made for cosmetic purposes or nearsightedness.
CUSTOM COLOR CONTACTS - they are mostly made for people who have some type of eye deformation and these contacts need to be individually produced. Custom color contact lenses are quite an investment and usually cost several hundred dollars per lens.
SPECIAL-EFFECT CONTACT LENSES - they are usually used for movie shooting purposes, as well for Halloween and other types of costume parties. They're mostly sold separately and cost between $50 to $200 per lens.
Are colored contacts safe to use?
Colored contact lenses are medical devices, so finding a contact lens that will suit your eyes while preserving your eye health is a must.
Even if have perfect vision and you're planning to wear your colored contacts for cosmetic purposes only, you need to keep your habits in order to protect your health.
As long as you maintain proper lens care and follow the recommendations given by your eye care professional, it's safe to wear colored contacts.
What to know when buying colored contact lenses
- If you have a personal or family history of eye conditions, you should consider seeing an ophthalmologist instead of an optometrist for your eye exam.
- Another thing you should do before purchasing colored contacts is to check whether your insurance company offers any coverage options. Some of the insurance companies cover the purchase of colored contact lenses if a prescription is required.
- Although you may think that buying contacts online is always the cheapest option, it's not always the case, so make sure to check all options before making a final decision. You should also ask your eye care provider about their possibilities for discounts. Some providers include a free eye exam with the purchase of the lenses, so it would definitely help to keep your money in your pocket.
- Make sure that your lenses are CE&ISO-approved before buying them. Unfortunately, many companies on the market are selling contacts that could do more damage than good and this is not something that should be ignored. Your health should be the number one priority and watching out for potential scams will save you from having serious medical issues in the future.
- Make sure to check out the discount retailers on the market as well. They usually offer specialized care as well as face-to-face interaction and are in most cases cheaper compared to a doctor's office. However, such merchants won't be able to handle more demanding medical needs.
Advice for wearing colored contacts
Just as with regular, non-tinted contacts, maintaining proper care of your colored lenses is extremely important. Here are some tips and recommendations that should be followed regularly:
- In case your eyes become irritated, painful, or red, or you feel that your vision is affected in any way, remove the colored lenses immediately. If you keep facing the same issues after cleaning and disinfecting them, don't continue wearing them, and make sure to contact your eye care professional.
- Make sure to keep your hands clean - wash them with soap and warm water before touching your eyes or the contacts.
- Don't wear your lenses after you have used them for the recommended time frame
- Never sleep with lenses that aren't designed for overnight use. It can increase the risk of different types of infections and other serious medical issues
- Clean your colored lenses every day and never substitute solution with water. You should also avoid using tap water to rinse your colored contact lenses.
- Make sure to use your contact lens solution the right way. You should pour a little bit of solution in the palm of your hand and then gently rub the lens until it's clean.
- Never share your contacts with other people. This can seriously increase the risk of eye infections.
The bottom line
Non-tinted contact lenses generally come at an acceptable price, so you can easily get a pair of non-tinted lenses for under $9.00.
When compared to colored contacts which cost 70 %-80% more, it's more than obvious that when it comes to the pricing, non-tinted contacts are the winner.
Still, there are many people who decide to buy colored contact lenses for various reasons, including the visual appearance and the advanced materials used in the productions of such lenses.
Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to find contacts that will be functional and will make sure to keep the health of your eyes on point.
Whether you decide to buy a $9 pair of contacts or lenses that cost $200, you want to make sure that you have followed the recommendations of your eye care professional to ensure the best fit and health for your eyes.
After all, the goal is to get the best value for your money, without compromising your health in any way.