Take away my contacts or glasses and I’m lucky to see two feet in front of me. I can’t imagine a day without them- I’d be fumbling through the house!
But contacts are expensive so here are my tips for seeing clearly without going broke.
Understand your insurance benefits: Every single visit I go around and around with my eye doctor. My insurance offers coverage for both glasses AND contacts- which is apparently unusual. If I didn’t KNOW that my insurance did – my eye doctor would have me paying out of pocket for my contacts versus letting my insurance pay for a majority of it. Don’t depend on the medical office to know your coverage- call the insurer yourself and get a detailed rundown of what they cover, how much they cover and when they cover it. Nothing is worse than getting to the office thinking you’ll pay $50 and being asked for $150. Don’t be afraid to ask about cost. Often they will start a test or exam and not tell you that the cost is separate from the office visit. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Is this excluded in the exam charge?”
Take your Prescription to GO: I used to just order my contacts from the eye doctor and pay whatever they said. Not anymore! With promo codes and specials you can have contacts delivered to your door for much cheaper than the eye doctor office. *Some offices may price match the best price you find online so ask them if they do too! For example- the contacts I am wearing now were $79 for a 90 day supply at the eye doctor office. With FREE shipping (meaning I didn’t have to drive back to the office to pick them up) they were $61 for a 90 day supply. That’s $19 less or $76 per year less for ordering them online! I’ve used ContactsDirect many times with successful transactions. Walgreens is also awesome- they almost always have a 20% or 30% off promo code! 1800Contacts is another favorite of mine! Shopping around = LOTS of savings!
You will need your contact prescription- which the doctor will give you if you ask for it. Then you can upload the paper copy to the website or allow them to call and verify it.
Ask for Trial Pair. Before you pay $75 for 3 months of contacts -ask for a trial pair to wear home and try out. Not all contacts are the same. I LOVE LOVE The new dailies I am wearing – they were only a few dollars more than 2 week contacts but my sensitive eyes are loving the fresh pair everyday. But I wasn’t ready to shell out $150 only to find out that I hated them. Thankfully the contact reps leave a TON of samples at my eye doctor’s office and I was able to leave with 10 days of trial pairs. Plenty of time to try them out, decide I love them and place an order online!
Ask if you can do the same strength in both eyes: Now this is one that is up to your eye doctor to decide if it’s a good idea for your unique vision problems. My eye doctor allows me to get the same prescription in both eyes- this allows me to not have to worry about which is left and which is right. It also lets me buy just 1 box at a time when money is tight instead of having to buy 2 different strengths.
Look for rebates: Once you and the doctor have decided on a brand- check for rebates! In fact, after I purchased my contacts I found a $75 rebate for a years supply! That dropped my out of pocket way down after the promo code from the online retailer, my insurance benefits and this rebate! Go directly to the contact lens company website and look for rebates. Be sure to read all the terms- some require you be a new user, some require them to be purchased at the eye doctor and others allow online purchases but only from select retailers. So read ALL the fine print and keep copies of it ALL when sending it in.
Ask if you can skip the fitting fee. $55 – that’s what my eye doctor charges to “fit” me for contact lenses on top of the exam fee. This year I had to have a new “fitting” because I needed to switch the type of contacts but in the past every year the fitting was the same. If you are going to continue with the same contacts you’ve worn for years and you aren’t having issues- ask if you can skip the “fitting” part of the eye exam. Never hurts to ask and they aren’t going to offer!
Compare counts: Buying a single box is much more expensive by the contact than buying a year supply. But be sure to TEST the lenses before investing in an entire year’s worth of contacts. Also if you’ve noticed a great change in eye sight over the year you may want to do just 6 months. We wasted two entire boxes with my daughter when she had a drastic change in eye sight half way through the year.
NEVER EVER try to stretch them out. You only get one pair of eyes- a few dollars isn’t worth having major problems with your eye sight. Find other ways to save money than using contacts longer than you should.