Monday, April 7, 2014

Eye care galore

I had my annual check up in February, and I am fortunate that my prescription (I am near sighted, and have worn corrective lenses since I was 10), has "stabilized" in the past few years.  Of course, as 40 approaches, I have already been warned that in the next 5 years or so, I may need "readers."  Terrific.

I have worn contacts since I was 14, and have worn different types over the past 25 years.  I LOVED wearing daily wear (fresh pair every day!), but developed an irritation with them, since they are not as sturdy, don't have as much eye lubricant, and probably at the time, the materials weren't as advanced as they are today.  For the past 8 years or so, I have worn 2-week lenses.

I have a kidney condition where my kidneys don't filter protein properly, and as a result, my contacts would get a build up of protein.  I used a hydrogen peroxide based solution to help bubble it away, in addition to multicare solution for rinsing.  Plus rewetting drops.  By the end of 2 weeks, even with all that care, they still were pretty icky.

I decided to try dailies again.  Using the most common daily wear lenses as a comparison, it would only cost $50 more a year than what we have been spending, when you account for all the solution I had to use.  My eye doctor has a $75 re-fitting fee (which will be covered by our FSA), and I tried the daily wear again last week.  Yeah....that lasted all of 3 days.  I called them and went back in this morning, and my only other option was significantly more expensive ($90 a box time 8 boxes for the year!  That is $720!!!).

I order my lenses on line, so I am sure that I could find them cheaper.  But not by THAT much.  I can't go from spending $150-ish per year (for lenses only) to $720.  Nope.  I was willing to go up for the cost of the lenses since I would be using significantly less solution.  But that was too rich for my blood.

I am back to a 2 week lens, but it is the next upgrade from what I have been wearing.  The basic advantage is that it has more lubricant so the "dry eye" effect should be less.  But as a whole, I am no better off.  The lenses on-line are $18 a box (cheapest I could find), so we are still in the $150 range. 

It is a bummer, but I tried.  At least I have upgraded lenses now, and I have 2 weeks to order more before these will be ka-put.  In my experience, ordering on-line is easy and I usually have them within a week.

However, I did find a pair of glasses (mine are 8 years old, and at least 4 prescriptions ago), that I really likes.  Frames and lenses come out to $300.  I am not comfortable ordering my glasses on line, since it would be so much harder to correct anything that isn't right.  $300 isn't bad for glasses that I will probably have for another 5-8 years.  G-man will go back with me to check them out and give a second opinion.  But I think they will work.  (And of course Lenscrafters doesn't carry them, but I am going to call and see if they can order it and just price check it all before I do anything).

I am glad we have our FSA for these items.  All of this requires the extra step of sending it all in (vs automatic  reimbursement when something goes through our insurance), but it is totally worth it. 


  1. $300 for frames and lenses aren't that bad. Can you purchase your contacts with your FSA money? I think you should be able to do so.

    I have worn glasses or contacts since I was 11. I can't even get of bed without my glasses on. For everybody who has 20/20 vision naturally, they don't know how blessed they are. Then again, we are blessed to have corrected 20/20 vision.

    1. Yes, we use FSA funds for the contacts. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

      I can't see past my arm length without corrective lenses, and that is being generous. I am so used to wearing something to be able to see, I don't even think about it anymore. I am too afraid of LASIK.

  2. My yearly eye appointment is tomorrow. I've worn glasses for 17 years (I'm 27 FYI). I actually don't care for contacts. Many people blink less with contacts and since I work at the computer, I blink even LESS. So it irriates my eyes. Plus, since the invent of plastic lenses sans nose pieces, glasses are much more comfortable. However, I do usually get one supply of contacts per year to wear with sunglasses or to special events. I always make my eye doctor give me my prescription and order elsewhere to save $ (boy they don't like that lol)!

  3. About 2 months ago, my husband had an eye appointment. He figured his already pretty bad vision had changed and he was right. He came home and told me he bought new glasses and a years worth of contacts. He wears two week ones as well. His benefits only cover every two years and this was a non-covered year. I almost had a stroke when I saw that he had paid $759 for glasses and contacts. Depressing!!! He got irritated that I was irritated, saying that he needed to be able to see to make a living. Guess that is hard to argue with. At least my daughters glasses were covered for $300 of the $370 price tag. Ugh! So glad I have good vision.

    I truly feel for people who do not have coverage for this type of thing.

  4. Have you tried some of those online sites that sell cheap/affordable frames and lenses? I have a regular prescription, and last time I quoted it (I think, they were very cheap. I had just renewed my contacts, so I never got them, but I'll never again use the eye doctor to buy glasses. I honestly hate my current glasses I got from them, and they refused to fix the scratch the glasses got within 7 months of light use (again, I am mostly a contact user).

  5. Wow, seems like 10 or 11 is the age to get glasses. LOL Same here and last year, for the first time in over 15 years, my prescription changed. Looks like the approaching 40 thing really is true and so old-age long-sightedness has started and somewhat corrected my existing short-sightedness. I'm a full half a measurement (cannot remember what they're called or how to spell it and too tired to go and look it up now, easier just to type a long explanation about why I'm not calling it by the right name ) less blind that I was before. I tried contacts for a brief period but never really got on with them. Could get them in no problem but loathed getting them out, or trying to as the case so very often was. The last few times I wore them I ended up just trying to make myself cry so they'd come out with me having to dig around in my eyes. I've always wanted to get lasered (even though I'd kind of terrified of it) but never had the money - and years ago they wouldn't do it anyway since they said I wasn't bad enough (-3.75 and -3.25 so okay, not as bad as some but still definitely dependent on glasses). I'm also glad that plastic frames sans nose piece are back and in so many nice varieties, they're so much more comfy. I really didn't have any money spare to get my new glasses last year so I went to one of the big chains here in Germany - they have a big "glasses don't cost anything" advertising campaign. Of course once you choose to get plastic rather than glass lenses, scratch-coating, anti-reflective coating, nicer frames than the clear plastic 10 euro ones, etc., etc., etc. it's another story. I got fairly basic frames and not too many extras. Because I also bought their 10 euro per year insurance, I ended up paying just short of 100 euro (about 140 USD). The insurance has given me some piece of mind though, normal things like breakage and theft are covered but it also covers changes in prescription of more than 0.5. Old-age long-sightedness won't completely cancel out my short-sightedness and I will apparently need bi-focals eventually but I could have another change in prescription before then so that's one thing less to worry about. I also have astigmatism (very slight, but another reason why contacts weren't great for me) and once years ago I had to get new glasses adjusted three times before they didn't give me a headache, something about the axis of the lense not being quite right. So I belong to the club who would probably never buy glasses off the internet, has to be a shop I can go back to, preferably one, like now, on the same street as I live on.

  6. Mysti, lasik was the best thing I ever did. I was legally blind and went to 20/15 20/20. I should have done it years ago. It was worth the $2700.00 and I would do it again even if I had to borrow the money.