LASIK Cost Versus a Lifetime of Glasses and Contacts

Woman holding piggy bank

Many patients exploring laser vision correction are sometimes daunted by the price tag, but what they may not know is how much they pay for those relatively “cheap” glasses and contacts over the course of a lifetime. We thought it would be helpful to get some perspective on LASIK cost compared to a lifetime of glasses and contacts.

It’s difficult to know how much corrective eyewear may cost 20, 30, 40 or 50 years from now. However, we do know that if a patient receives LASIK or another laser eye surgery in the near future, the current national average cost is $2,200 per eye. (Depending on the type of procedure indicated for a patient, the cost could be less or much more. Surgery may or may not be required for both eyes.)

Expensive? That’s relative. We’ve done the math to illustrate how affordable laser vision correction is when compared to the alternatives.

How we calculated costs

Not everyone purchases top-of-the-line, designer eyewear year after year. But over the course of a lifetime, the cost of eyeglasses and contacts can still add up to a lot of money—and, for many, a great deal of aggravation.

While there is a wide range of possibilities, and a broad range of prices, we chose reasonable pricing and age ranges for the purpose of a straightforward comparison. We based our calculations on a conservative estimate of expenditures on prescription glasses and contacts, and assumed annual purchases starting at the age of 29 and ending at age 79, which is the average life expectancy in the United States. Some individuals will need corrective eyewear earlier or later, and others will live longer. Individual mileage may vary.

Glasses vs. LASIK

Our glasses vs. LASIK surgery pricing comparison assumes the purchase of one $250 pair of prescription eyeglasses per year. Anyone who has bought progressive lenses, photochromic lenses or both knows that estimate can easily triple, but let’s assume you’re keeping a lock on your spec budget. In the interest of being realistic, let’s presume you’ll also purchase lens cleaning supplies, eyeglass case(s) and the odd reading glasses and/or reading sunglasses over the years, too. We’re calculating $50 per year for patients over the age of 45.

This modest purchase schedule—assuming the price of your prescription glasses doesn’t go up for the 60 years you’re wearing them—adds up to about $14,200 over a lifetime. We didn’t even add in state and local taxes!

LASIK Cost Compared to Contacts

The cost range for contacts may be even greater than the eyeglasses pricing. We’ve assumed the purchase of six boxes of contacts per year at a cost of $60 per box, plus $50 per year for contact lens solution and other supplies. Over the course of a lifetime, your contacts would, conservatively, cost you $19,700.

Again, these eyeglasses and contacts cost estimates don’t take into account inflation, taxes, shipping or other factors that could influence pricing, nor do they factor in the very human experience of having to replace lost or broken prescription glasses over the years.

Harder to quantify than pricing is the inconvenience, annoyance and time commitment of caring for glasses and contacts. The freedom that comes with permanent vision correction can’t be measured.

Lake Lazer Eye Center offers convenient and affordable financing for laser eye surgery to get you out of glasses and contacts. In the event that you’re not a candidate for LASIK, we’ll assist you with a contact lens evaluation or a selection of designer and specialty eyewear.