Considering the financial investment required for LASIK, you’ve probably already compared the cost of the procedure versus the cost of years of continually replacing glasses and contacts. In case you haven’t, this article lays out the details — including a few you might not have thought of.
Based upon discount prices for a popular contact lens brand¹, let’s look at a few figures:
• 90 day supply of daily disposable contacts, per eye: $69.99
• Cost per year for both eyes: $560
• Cost of backup glasses, replaced every 5 years: $250 over 5 years
• Total cost per year for contacts and glasses: $3,000
• Time required for LASIK to pay for itself: less than 5 years
• 20-year savings: 12,198
• Return on investment: 306.6%
• Annual percentage return: 0.238%
If only the same could be said for every monetary decision. Think about how often you pay for convenience: pay more for groceries because the neighborhood store is closer than the discount warehouse, avoid the store altogether and pay for shipping to your door, or gladly hire someone else to do a job that would be inconvenient for you. And you’d never go without text messaging, wireless Internet or automatic car windows, would you? Use this table only as an example; actual figures will vary depending on the type of contacts you wear, how often you replace your glasses and the final cost of your procedure. However, the data suggests that for most patients, LASIK more than pays for itself and yields real savings over time.
None of these conveniences offer any real financial return — they just save time and reduce hassle in our busy lives. Yet, we’d never go without them. We don’t really consider the monetary cost because convenience is oftentimes more important. (Time is money, after all.)
When thinking about your eyesight, consider the toll that contacts and glasses take on your lifestyle. Think about the time you spend squeezing in last-minute eye appointments, ordering replacement contacts, and the small (but very real) drudgery of putting contacts in and taking them out every day. According to an independently-conducted survey, the average person spends 63 hours a year managing, changing and cleaning his or her glasses and contacts — that’s more than two days. ²
Glasses and contacts cause other major inconveniences that you simply grow used to. You’ve surely gone for a run or played sports with glasses sliding down your sweaty nose. You’ve messed with your contacts when you travel, because sleeping in them irritates your eyes. You’ve run out of contacts when something unexpected comes up. You’ve fumbled for your glasses before checking on your sick kids in the middle of the night. None of this sounds horrible by itself, but repeatedly and over time, you have to admit that relying on eyewear just to see the world around you is a real pain.
Others have been in your place. Tawnya G., a LASIK patient from Arizona, said, “I’ve worn glasses or contacts since I was nine years old. By the time I was 31, I was pretty much blind without glasses or contacts. I was sick of it! I was tired of stumbling around at night looking for my glasses to take care of my kids. I decided to get LASIK, and it was the best investment I’ve ever made! I made sure to have the procedure before a trip to the Havasupai Canyon. I experienced and saw things on that trip that I would have not been able to without LASIK. I truly feel LASIK changed my life.”
LASIK is one investment that improves your lifestyle and offers positive financial returns. The same can’t be said for most other purchases, where we’re usually faced with tough choices between convenience and cost.
Alex, a LASIK patient from Georgia, said, “My job as a firefighter required me to wear contacts 24/7. As you can imagine, that was often frustrating. I had LASIK in September 2010. My job — my entire well-being — has improved since then. The fact that I will be saving money in the long run also makes this the best decision I’ve ever made. You genuinely have a better attitude with perfect vision. I encourage anyone thinking about LASIK to get a consultation. They will work with you. It truly was a great experience.”
If you haven’t already, take some time to calculate your own numbers. Tally your personal expenditures on glasses and contacts. Schedule a LASIK consultation to get a better idea of the investment it requires. Then go beyond the numbers and recognize that your eyesight is more than just a convenience. LASIK often improves eyesight with one simple procedure. If your eyes are the windows to your soul, make sure yours are automatic car windows.
¹ Nichols, Jason J., OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, and the staff of Contact Lens Spectrum: Annual Report: Contact Lenses 2010.
² Independent online study conducted by Empower MediaMarketing — January, 2012.
Prices from 1800Contacts.