Tag Archives: contact lenses

Time to order contacts again — or why I think “contact lens fittings” are a rip-off

Last year after I painfully paid $175 for a year’s worth of contact lenses and the accompanying “contact lens fitting” that wasn’t covered by my insurance, I considered setting aside money every month for this yearly expense. I don’t know why I didn’t, but now I really regret it.

It’s time for me to order contacts again, which means I need to make an appointment with the optometrist for my yearly eye exam. The exam is covered by my insurance with no co-pay because it’s considered preventative care. Anything associated with contact lenses, however, isn’t covered. That includes the “contact lens fitting,” which I consider the biggest rip-off I’ve ever had to pay for health care.

My prescription hasn’t changed since I was a kid. I won’t be changing my brand of contacts either. But I’ll still have to pay an extra $75 for my doctor to write me a prescription for contacts. I need that prescription to order my contacts anywhere, even if I choose cheaper vendors online.

What does the contact lens fitting involve? Well, not a whole lot. After my regular exam, the doctor will give me a trial pair of lenses — the same lenses I’ve been wearing for a year without any problems. Then I’ll schedule an appointment to come back two weeks later. At the second appointment, the doctor will come in and ask me if I’ve had any problems with the contacts that have worked absolutely fine all year. I’ll tell him they’re fine, and he’ll write me my contacts prescription so I can order another year’s supply.


Pardon this rant, but it really bugs me. I called around to several optometrists, but of course they all require this “fitting” appointment. I understand why a doctor I’ve never seen would require something like this (somewhat), but why would the doctor I saw last year who prescribed these contacts that have been absolutely fine for 12 months require me to do this again if I haven’t had any problems?

I suppose the most frugal thing for me to do would be to stop wearing contacts all together and wear glasses instead. But I hate my glasses. My prescription magnifies my vision. So my glasses make my eyes look comically big. Tony doesn’t think so, but I’m just uncomfortable wearing them. Not only that, but it wouldn’t be comfortable to wear glasses at the gym when I’m working out.

I’m usually not one to complain about medical expenses. I do what I have to do to stay healthy, and I understand that things like prescriptions and exams cost money. I value my health, and I consider most health care related costs to be absolutely worth the money. But this just seems so ridiculous and unnecessary. Don’t you just hate when our health care system requires us to pay for unnecessary things just so doctors can profit?

I’ve learned my lesson. This year I’ll be putting aside $15 a month for contacts so I won’t have to pay a lump sum all at once and throw off my budget next year. /rant

Photo by chrismar