If you’re a contact lens wearer there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you save money in the long run when buying your lenses. Here are just a few useful pointers…
Buy your lenses online
You can save a lot of money by ordering your lenses online and having them delivered to your door rather than purchasing them in a store or directly from your optician. Many contact lens wearers have found that by shopping online they can find many trusted retailers of contact lenses offering exactly the same product at a much lower price than if they had purchased it in a shop.
This is because online suppliers that supply reputable brand contact lenses buy their stock directly from manufacturers. When you make a purchase from them, they send their stock out directly from a warehouse, which means that there are no overheads to pay for shops or property, meaning that you get a better price as the consumer.
To purchase lenses online, you’ll need to have a copy of your prescription (it is your legal right to request a copy of your prescription at any time from your optician). Your optician must give you a copy of your prescription, even if you choose not to purchase lenses from them. If you find a retailer that sells lenses without verifying your prescription, they may not be a legitimate retailer. Also beware that if you buy contact lenses from abroad, the retailer doesn’t have to follow UK regulations, so you will not be covered in terms of health and safety.
When you purchase lenses online, it works out cheaper if you buy in bulk, especially if you wear dailies. Some retailers may offer discounted or free shipping for bulk orders of lenses for six months or more.
Avoid own-brand lenses
If you wear own-brand lenses and purchase them from a shop such as Specsavers, don’t believe that you only have to purchase your lenses from that retailer. Did you know that a lot of high street retailers such as Specsavers and Boots sell their ‘own brand’ contact lenses, that are actually manufacturers’ lenses in own-brand packaging? Boots Premium Dailies for instance are actually Ciba Vision Focus Dailies in different packaging. Don’t be fooled by the printing on the box – it is actually more cost-efficient to buy the lenses online directly from the manufacturer. If you wear own-brand lenses, check out this chart from Vision Direct to see what manufacturer produces your lenses. Always ensure that you keep to your prescription.
Get money back via a healthcare plan or cashback scheme
You can opt into a healthcare cash plan, which will enable you to claim back the cost of your lenses and other health costs, whether you have purchased these through the NHS or not. A healthcare cash plan is technically an insurance plan, and you’ll need to pay a monthly premium to have one. You can then reclaim part or all of the costs of your lenses (there is usually a maximum amount you can claim back from your insurer).
If a healthcare plan isn’t for you, you can sign up to a cashback scheme by creating a free account on a cashback website. You can find out more about cashback websites by clicking here.
Switch to monthly lenses
If the cost of daily lenses is proving too much, why not switch to monthlies? Some monthly lenses can be worn for a full seven days without being taken out, and you can even sleep in them, too. You do however need to carefully research the right monthly contact lenses for your circumstances, as sleeping in the wrong monthly contact lenses can restrict oxygen from getting to your eyes. If you let oxygen become restricted this could lead to dangerous eye infections and neovascularisation. Monthly contact lenses generally allow higher amounts of oxygen to the eyes because they are made from silicone hydrogel. Overall, monthly lenses should save you money because you have to buy fewer pairs of them. You throw them away every month rather than every day, resulting in costs for just 24 pairs of lenses a year.
Beware of subscription services
Don’t always think that you are getting the best deal by signing up to a contact lens subscription service. In the long run, this could cost you more money, as subscription packages normally include solutions, aftercare consultations and other products such as eye drops that you might be paying for unnecessarily. It is worth considering whether it is better to opt for a pay-as-you-go approach to buying contact lens solution and additional extras, so that you only pay for the lenses, which could work out cheaper as you’re only paying for what you really need.