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    How To Choose And Pay For The Right Contact Lenses

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    According to the American Optometric Association, an estimated 45 million Americans, or 15% of the American population, wear contact lenses. This number is expected to increase over the next five years as more and more individuals decide to make the switch from glasses to contact lenses.

    Many people don’t know what to look for when choosing the right contact lenses. Moreover, many users are unsure of how they will pay for their new lenses. Keep reading for a deeper look at both of these questions and the accompanying answers.

    Length Of Wear

    The first question one should ask themselves when choosing contact lenses is how long they plan on wearing them. Not all contacts are made to be worn for the same amount of time and this is a major factor to consider when deciding upon contact lenses. 

    • Several Day Wear: Some contacts can be used for up to 30 days depending on the lens. While this simplifies some aspects of wearing contact lenses, it requires the individual to be quite diligent about their lens care. Additionally, wearing the same lenses for extended lengths of time can result in fungal infection on the eye
    • Single-Use: By far the most common type, single-use lenses are designed to be worn once then discarded. Although these lenses may be more costly, it significantly reduces the amount of time spent on lens care and lowers the chances of a fungal infection resulting from a dirty contact lens
    • Overnight Wear: Contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the eye and must be removed while the user sleeps. However, some lenses are designed to allow more oxygen to reach the eye, allowing the wearer to keep them in overnight

    Type Of Lens

    While there are several different types of contact lenses, the vast majority of wearers will end up choosing between soft lenses or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses. 

    Soft Lenses

    Soft lenses are made of plastic polymers that are flexible and will form to the wearer's cornea. They’re the most common type of lens, with over 75% of contact lens users wearing them.

    Pros

    • More comfortable than RGP
    • Fall out of eyes much less than RGP
    • Less likely to collect dust or other foreign objects
    • Less likely to result in a corneal fungal infection

    Cons

    • Less durable than RGP
    • Requires a higher degree of lens car
    • More prone to drying out

    Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses

    RGP lenses are made of a harder material and allow a much higher amount of oxygen to reach the eye. Because of this, RGP lenses are often referred to as extended wear lenses, given the fact that they can be worn for longer lengths of time as well as overnight.

    Pros

    • Can be worn overnight
    • Result in a more clear/crisp vision
    • Better for those with corneal astigmatism
    • Require less lens care compared to soft lenses

    Cons

    • Most users find them less comfortable than soft lenses
    • Take longer to get used to than soft lenses
    • Can scratch or break
    • Much more prone to falling out

    Vision Issues

    Not all vision issues are caused by the same problem. Both glasses and contact lenses can be broken down into four major categories.

    • Farsightedness: Known by the medical term hyperopia, farsightedness refers to the eye's ability to see objects clearly at a distance but not close up
    • Nearsightedness: More formally called myopia, nearsightedness refers to a person's ability to clearly see objects that are up close, but not far away
    • Bifocal Lens: Bifocal lenses come with two distinct prescriptions, typically one for objects up close and one for objects far away
    • Multifocal Lens: Multifocal lenses are very similar to bifocal lenses but include more than two distinct prescriptions

    How Much Do Contact Lenses Cost

    The cost of contact lenses depends on a variety of factors including lens type, brand, prescription type, and insurance coverage. In general, soft single day use lenses will cost much less than multi-use RGP lenses. Prices will also increase if the wearer requires bifocal or multifocal lenses.

    In general, one can expect to pay between $150 - $1,500 a year on prescription lenses.

    How To Pay For Contact Lenses

    • Insurance: Some insurance providers will cover prescription contact lenses in full or in part. One must read their specific agreement to determine what coverage they’ll receive
    • Medical Loan: In many cases, one’s health insurance won’t cover the cost of contact lenses and if the individual doesn’t have the cash on hand to pay for their lenses, many online lenders will grant medical loans to cover the costs
    • Credit Card: Many people choose to pay for their contact lenses with their credit cards. This can be a convenient solution, but if not paid off on time, high-interest rates can greatly increase the overall cost of the lenses

    Bottom Line

    For several reasons, many individuals strongly prefer contact lenses over glasses. Unfortunately, unlike glasses, contact lens use requires a repeated investment which is something that not everyone can afford. Those in this situation should strongly consider medical loans as a financing option.