The Golden Age of Contacts?
It always makes me chuckle when someone complains to us about the cost of a box of soft contact lenses. Soft contacts are the cheapest and best they have ever been in history. There was a time in the 80's & 90's when optometrists were making a killing selling non-disposable soft contacts for $200+ each from their office, and even selling "contact lens insurance"...a $30 or so fee that guaranteed you a replacement at reduced cost (not a free lens, mind you, just the promise of a CHEAPER replacement!) if the lens was lost or ripped. This was before disposables and "before the dark times...before the EMPIRE!", the "Empire" being 1-800-CONTACTS. Right now as of Tax Day April 15th 2015 our office "makes" about $4/box selling contacts. WHOOOOO where are we going to spend all that extra dough? I'll tell you: $4 a box is not even enough to pay for the staff to order the lenses or call you when they get here, etc. Our overhead swallows up that $4 lighning fast. 1-800-CONTACTS brought the cost of a box of contacts so far down that it made contacts a commodity. We lose money selling you contacts. This is why we all charge that pesky "contact lens fitting fee" that patients hate so much and insurance companies mostly refuse to pay. So why even bother with contacts? A lot of doctors don't. But those of us docs practicing here in the real world know that glasses have their limits and not everyone is a LASIK candidate, and so contacts are a great, cheap alternative. Very cheap. Cheaper then they have ever been...and they're about to go up. Multiple manufacturers have announced plans to institute "unilateral pricing policies", which are going to drive the cost of a box of contacts up for the first time in 25 years. The age of dirt cheap contacts is coming to an end, mostly brought on (ironically) by 1-800-CONTACTS...the same people who slashed the prices years ago. Coming up soon the oldest, cheapest brands are probably going to be discontinued, replaced by more expensive premium lenses like Dailies Total 1 by Alcon (the best lens on the market right now IMO). So I guess the point is: if you're complaining about the cost of a box of contacts today, you are probably in for a rude awakening in the next few years. Don't look a very cheap horse in the mouth...you're very likely going to be forced to buy a thoroughbred.