The cost of contacts for an annual supply ranges from about $360 for a pair of monthly contacts to a high of $800+ for top-of-the-line colored daily contacts.
This range in prices is high because there are so many different types and kinds of contacts. Unfortunately, color contacts tend to be more expensive than their non-color counterparts because of the extra technology that goes into manufacturing them. However, color contacts still only cost a few dollars a week, which might be a small price to pay to change the colors of your eyes.
Thankfully, there are many ways to save on contact lenses, including using our price comparison tool to find the lowest prices online, manufacturers’ rebates, online coupon codes, and vision insurance benefits.
Later in this article, we will break down the prices of different types of colored contact lenses.
Colored contacts have many cost factors
Contact lenses treat a variety of refractive errors, from basic things like myopia or hyperopia (near or farsightedness) to slightly more nuanced things like astigmatisms, presbyopia, or even strabismus. Colored contacts are no exception! They make colored contacts that can correct your vision while also enhancing or altering the appearance of your eyes.
These contacts can also be purchased without any ‘power’ or prescription in them for those looking for a purely cosmetic contact lens!
Colored contacts come in daily, monthly and two-week styles, which means there are several different options to choose from at different price points.
When meeting with your eye doctor, it’s essential to let them know your monetary constraints so they don’t prescribe lenses you can’t afford. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t just buy the cheapest lenses possible if they don’t work well for you. There’s a delicate balance between finding something good enough and wearing something that is hurting your eye simply to save.
This is an important point because some people don’t realize that they need a valid prescription to order colored contacts in the US, even if they don’t need any ‘power’ or vision correction. In other words, if you just need plain blue contacts for brown eyes with no adjustment for vision, you still need a prescription. The same is true if you need colored contacts for astigmatism.
Related: see the best colored contacts
The average costs of different types of color contact lenses
To know roughly how much color contact lenses will cost, we looked at the current prices for the most popular colored contact lenses.
We used those prices to calculate the average cost per day to wear different types of contact lenses. Here are the details.
Cost of Color Contacts:
- Monthly Color: $1.17
- Two Week Color: $2.10
- Daily Color: $2.22
Additional costs for colored contact lenses
Compared to wearing glasses, contact lenses have many advantages. For starters, you can’t really tell you are wearing them. This is cited as the most important reason that many people wear contacts. Secondly, contact lenses are also better suited for physical activities like sports.
However, with these advantages also comes the fact that contact lenses can carry some additional costs.
For one, it’s possible to wear the same pair of glasses for years on end. You definitely can’t do that with contact lenses, which means you’ll be potentially buying new contacts more frequently. If you try to buy contacts with an expired prescription, you’ll also have to get an updated eye exam which can cost $50+ (if you don’t have vision insurance).
Finally, if you don’t wear daily lenses, you’ll need to buy contact lens solution to clean your contacts.
Even with the higher cost, many people (myself included) still wear daily disposable contact lenses for their convenience and safety. In addition, daily contacts don’t need to be cleaned and sterilized, which lowers the risk of infection from improper cleaning.
Colored contact lenses cost & insurance
Like health insurance, patients pay a set monthly premium to participate in the vision insurance plan. The monthly premium is the fixed payment that you make for the benefit. Your premium payment is typically automatically withdrawn from your paycheck if you signed up for your vision plan through work.
Depending on what the vision plan entails, the vision insurance can be used to cover a percentage of fees for eye exams and glasses or contacts. The vision plan tells the provider how much to charge the patient for services and products. The provider then bills the insurance for the services provided to the patient.
Different vision insurance plans have different prices and coverage allowances. Some vision plans may cover everything, while others may cover a percentage or provide a set allowance for things. For example, a vision plan may grant the patient a $100 allowance towards contact lenses, and the patient will have to pay out-of-pocket for any balance.
Lowering colored contacts cost with rebates
Contact lens rebates are an incredible way to save money on contact lenses if you are ready and able to buy an annual supply of contact lenses upfront.
In exchange for buying a full annual subscription (and thus becoming a loyal customer of their brand), some manufacturers will offer a rebate with proof of purchase. You can learn more about the different rebate programs available at these links:
Cost of contact lens solution
The best brands of contact lens solution start right around $10 for a box of two bottles. The higher-end brands cost closer to $15. A tall bottle (approximately 350mL) should last about a month of thorough daily use.
For that reason, you can expect to spend about another $50 to $60 per year on the best contact lens solution (unless you wear daily lenses).
The cost of some of the most popular brands
1 Day Acuvue Define 30 Pack $2.13 per day
Air Optix Colors 2 Pack $1.17 per day
Air Optix Colors 6 Pack $1.02 per day
Dailies Colors 30 Pack $2.13 per day
Dailies Colors 90 Pack $1.54 per day
Freshlook Colorblends $1.82 per day
Freshlook Colors $1.82 per day
Freshlook Dimensions $1.82 per day
TORIColors $1.67 per day
Where to buy contact lenses
You have many different options for where to buy your colored contact lenses. You can buy them from your doctor’s office where you get your eyes checked, at big box stores like Walmart and Target Optical, at specialty eye stores like LensCrafters, or online at countless different places.
Our contact lens price comparison tool makes it a breeze to quickly see which websites offer the lowest prices so you can quickly make a purchase knowing you got a good deal.
If you want to know what we think is the best place to buy colored contacts online (to save money), you can see our full list of the best places to buy contacts.
Camilo is the founder of Contacts Compare and is a contact lens enthusiast who has been buying, shopping, and comparing contact lenses for over 12 years. He started Contacts Compare because it was nearly impossible to compare prices quickly to make sure he was getting the best price possible. He holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. His favorite contact lens is Acuvue Oasys 1-Day with Hydraluxe.