The cost of sight.

Take away my glasses and I am absolutely helpless. I have horrible vision; I’m so severely near-sighted (which means I can’t see things at a distance) that I’m almost farsighted. Once something is six inches away from my face, it’s reduced to a blurry splotch of colours. Natural selection would have weeded me out a long time ago if we were still pursued by things with claws and teeth out in the wild. Thankfully though, with a pair of glasses, I can see bears and tigers long before they pounce on me.

I’ve worn glasses since I was in Grade 3 and since then, my eyes have gotten progressively worse. As a result, I’ve typically have had to get new glasses every 2 years to keep up with the change in my prescription. When I was younger, my Mom’s employee benefits covered $200 of the cost of glasses every 2 years – great, until you get to the fine print. It’s not per person – and my Mom, myself and my two sisters all need glasses, so that $200 didn’t go very far against 4 pairs of glasses every 2 years. I shudder to think of the costs.

I’m long past being covered by parents’ employee benefits, and my employee benefits don’t include any vision benefits. That means I’m on the hook for the cost of eye exams and new glasses. I decided to estimate how much this would amount to in a lifetime. I generally get new glasses every two years – I wear my glasses everyday, all day, so my glasses can take a beating. I once had a pair snap in half when my cousin whacked me in the face with a pillow! After two years of wearing the same thing on my face everyday, I’m usually ready for a change anyways.

75 years/2  =  37.5 pairs of spectacles.

37.5 pairs of glasses * $450/pair = $16,875 over a lifetime.

My glasses are typically $450 because I have to order the special thin lenses Photo credit: Canoe.caotherwise, I’d be stuck with coke-bottle glasses like Bubbles. Not really the look I’m going for.

$16,875 that’s a fair chunk of change to spend on your eyes. Looking at that number (no pun intended), I think I’m going to ask my optometrist about laser eye surgery at my next appointment. I’ve thought about laser eye surgery for a while, well, ever since my Mom got it done. I would love to be able to see the alarm clock when I wake up, and financially, it may make sense to have it done. Laser eye surgery seems like a lot of money upfront, but I’m pretty sure it will be less than $16,875. Of course, there are factors related to laser eye surgery, like problems with night-vision and age-related changes in eye strength, but financially, laser eye surgery might be the way to go.

Until I talk to my optometrist, I’m going to put away  $19/month for glasses so when the time comes for a new pair, I’ll be set.

Anyone else wear glasses/contacts? Or have you had laser eye surgery? Would you say it’s worth it?

Categories: Uncategorized | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “The cost of sight.

  1. I’ve debated getting laser eye surgery myself.

    I’m nearsighted, as well and have had glasses since grade 5. However, my eyesight has stayed stable for the last 10 years or so. And my last visit to the optometrist said that my glasses didn’t not need to be changed.

    However, I would LOVE to wake up and be able to see. Contacts also kinda bug me and I can’t wear them for long periods of time when I’m reading/writing/watching tv.

    Several of my friends have had laser eye surgery and have been very happy with the results. One of my friends had very severe near sightedness, and has to go for 2 rounds of laser eye surgery, but she knew that from the initial consultation.

    I would suggest going in for a consultation just to see if you qualify for the surgery, first. That’s what I also need to do.

  2. I HIGHLY recommend laser surgery. I had worn glasses since grade 4 and switched to contacts sometime in high school. I also couldn’t see the alarm clock until I bought the really big numbered one. I had laser surgery in Sept of 2006 and love the results!!! It took a few months for my eyes to really get adjusted and I do find night driving a little bit harder but nothing that would outweigh the benefits of having it done. It cost me about $5100.00 but I opted for the newest type of procedure since I had thinner corneas and I am pretty sure its not that costly now. I get my eyes rechecked every year for warranty purposes and apart from a short time of dry eyes I have had no issues. I agree you should look into it and go for a consult. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your experience! Dry eyes is a pretty small price to pay for vision ‘eh? Especially when visine is so readily available 😉 I am going to look into a consult the next time I visit my optometrist.

  3. I’m also near-sighted and my prescriptions have been getting worse and worse. I just bought my last pair of glasses from Clearly Contacts and I spent about $150 which included the frames and ultrathin lenses with anti-glare coating. Much better than the $400 I spent on my last pair! I highly recommend them.

    I’m going to be speaking with a laser eye surgeon later this year to discuss options because I have astigmatism and I’m pretty sure this means I have to pay more but it would still be worth it in the end I think, not only financially but also like FabulouslyFrugirl said waking up and being able to see would be awesome!

    Let us know what happens. 🙂 Morgaine

    • I have astigmatism too (darn egg-shaped eyes!). Wow, $150 for a pair of glasses – that’s awesome! I’m going to look into Clearly Contacts next time I need a pair of glasses, provided laser surgery doesn’t work out 🙂

  4. I had LASIK eye surgery done a few years ago, and it was literally, the best decision I have ever made. I would recommend it to you for sure. Life without glasses is absolute bliss, and having the surgery saves me so much hassle and money over the long run. I wrote a bunch of posts on my blog about the LASIK process if you ever want to read my story about it. 🙂

    The best feeling in the world? The first time I opened my eyes after the surgery. The drive home, I was just amazed that I could see all of the street signs, and every detail was so crisp. It was incredible.

    • I am definitely going to go check out your posts about LASIK. My Mom had laser eye surgery as well and she wishes she had of gotten it done sooner. If I ever get it done, I know it will take me a long time not to reach for my glasses first thing in the morning.

  5. I think that LASIK is for sure a good decision longterm, but I am just way too squeamish to think about getting laser eye surgery. My workplace reimburses for a pair of glasses every 2 years, which works out pretty well. There are also lots of cheap glasses websites (Zenni Optical in particular is pretty great).

    • Lucky you! I’m so picky about picking out glasses I haven’t been brave enough to try buying them online. I should get myself organized, find a pair I like, write down the frame info then go and see if I can find a good deal online.

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