Why Are Contacts So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

Are you looking to purchase contact lenses but have figured out that they are a little pricey and want to know why contacts are so expensive?

If so, continue reading as I dive into all of the factors that can determine the cost of contacts and why they are so expensive!

Why Are Contacts So Expensive?

Contacts are expensive because varieties that correct astigmatism will cost you more than regular contacts. Additionally, bifocal lenses and daily disposable contacts will run higher in price, along with colored contacts and special effect lenses. The big-name contact lens manufacturers have been sued several times, and these lawsuits drive up costs for consumers.

Are you looking for all of the reasons why contacts are so expensive? I have the full list for you below, so keep reading to find out exactly what’s behind the price tag!

1. You Have Astigmatism

If you have astigmatism, you’re going to pay more for contact lenses because lenses that can correct astigmatism are simply more expensive than normal contacts.

For example, these contacts require a more specific manufacturing process and are more customized for the patient than a mass-produced contact lens, which increases costs.

2. You Need Bifocal Lenses For Your Contacts

Bifocal contacts will cost more than traditional contact lenses since it’s a more specialty prescription, just like bifocal glasses will usually cost more than a standard pair of glasses.

3. Daily Disposable Contacts Are More Expensive

You can choose daily disposable contact lenses, which will increase the price and be more expensive than monthly disposable contact lenses.

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However, they are more convenient for a lot of people and are the most hygienic since you change them out every day as opposed to once a month.

4. Brand Name Contact Manufacturers Set Price Minimums

Did you know that Alcon, Cooper Vision, Johnson & Johnson, and Bausch & Lomb, the biggest contact lens manufacturers, have a 97% market share in the United States?

Therefore, these manufacturers control the market and have set price minimums for each contact lens product regardless of where they are sold.

That said, this means they cannot be sold for less than what the company says, so if the company wants to raise prices to increase revenue, nothing can be done about that.

5. Lawsuits Against The Big Contact Lens Manufacturers

There have been several lawsuits against the big names in the contact lens industry, which I’ve named above, and these lawsuits are driving up the prices of contact lenses.

Additionally, the more settlements that occur, the more this cuts into the manufacturer’s bottom line, and they will raise prices accordingly to get their money back.

6. Special Effect Contacts Cost More

6. Special Effect Contacts Cost More

If you’ve purchased a pair of special effects contact lenses, you will pay more for these theater lenses than traditional contact lenses.

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Furthermore, these are for people’s costume parties and Halloween and are often sold in a glass vial, increasing the price.

7. You Opted For Colored Contacts

People who want a little change to their eye color with their contact lenses will pay higher prices than traditional contact lenses that are clear.

Furthermore, if you need a colored contact lens that corrects problems such as astigmatism, it will cost you even more money!

8. You Are Wearing Gas Permeable Contacts

Gas permeable contact lenses are custom-made contacts, and since they aren’t mass-produced contact lenses, they will cost you more money to purchase.

However, one pair of gas-permeable contact lenses can last up to 12 months, so you aren’t being charged much more than a pair of soft contacts in the long run.

9. New Technology Increases Price

If you’ve wondered why contacts are so expensive, you might consider that if the contacts contain new technology, they will be more costly than traditional lenses.

For example, contact lenses can help you monitor your glucose level if you have diabetes, but implementing this technology into the contacts increases the price.

Also, nano wafer contacts were developed to help dry eyes or other common issues as it releases medication into your eyes, but this technology isn’t cheap!

10. The Contacts Offer Ultraviolet Light Protection

You can choose to get contact lenses that offer protection from ultraviolet light, but these particular types will cost more than regular contacts.

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11. The Material Used For The Contact Lens

The price you’ll pay for your contacts will also depend on the material used for them, which means that more breathable options such as silicone hydrogel will be more expensive.

However, silicone hydrogel contacts are much more comfortable and can reduce irritation, so you may be paying a little more but have a more comfortable contact lens-wearing experience.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why x-rays are so expensive, why condoms are so expensive, and why Tazorac is so expensive.


There are multiple reasons why contact lenses are expensive, including that the big companies have set price minimums that don’t allow for them to be sold for less than a certain amount.

Furthermore, the price you’ll pay will depend on the material you’ve selected for your contacts, and newer options like silicone hydrogel will cost more than traditional contacts.

On top of that, if you have astigmatism or need bifocal lenses, you will be paying more than if you didn’t have vision issues that need to be corrected.


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