Savings Comparison: LASIK Vs. Glasses & Contact Lenses

If you’re seriously considering LASIK eye surgery but are unsure if you can afford it, we have compared the cost benefits of LASIK (being able to pass a driver’s test without glasses and contact lenses) vs. a lifetime of glasses & contacts.


LASIK Cost Savings:  One-Time Fee

LASIK is a one-time fee, while glasses and contact lenses require a lifetime commitment. According to industry experts, LASIK will pay for itself on average within 7 years. Here’s why:


      If you wear contacts:

  •   You will have monthly costs for new lenses and supplies. An eye examination is recommended every two years.
  •   Emergency doctor visits will be required if you develop eye irritation or an infection from wearing contacts.

      If you wear glasses:

  • An eye doctor’s visit to examine your eyes every two years is the recommended.
  • If your prescription has changed, you will need new glasses with lenses and frames. Even if you’re fortunate not to need a stronger prescription, you may still want new frames to update your appearance.
  • In addition, some people have more than one pair of glasses just in case one gets broken or misplaced. Designer frames are increasingly expensive and usually not covered by your health care plan.
  • Don’t forget the need for prescription sunglasses.


A Look at the Math

Here are the national average costs associated with contacts, glasses and LASIK supplied by:

2012 Colby Stewart MD, FACS | Disclaimer




  • Contacts: $48 a month
  • Contact Supplies: $12 a months



  • Doctor visit: $150 every two years
  • Prescription glasses: $320 every two years
  • Prescription sunglasses: $270 every two years



  • Average cost for LASIK (nationally): $2,250 per eye (a one-time charge) Plus, after LASIK, you will no longer need to pay for expensive prescription sunglasses.

According to these statistics, if you wear:

  • Contacts and glasses: annual cost  = $1,090
  • Contacts only: average annual costs = $795
  • Glasses only: average annual costs = $370

Here’s a breakdown on LASIK cost savings over time:

  • If you wear contacts and glasses, LASIK will pay for itself in just over 4 years
  • If you wear contacts only, LASIK will pay for itself in less than 6 years
  • If you wear glasses only, LASIK will pay for itself in 12 years
  • If you wear contacts and glasses, your expenses over a 30-year time period could be $32,700. That means LASIK will save you $28,200
  • If you wear contacts only, your expenses over a 30-year time period could be $23,850. That means LASIK will save you $19,350
  • If you wear glasses only, your expenses over a 30-year time period could be $11,100. That means LASIK will save you $6,600

Costs savings over 30 years:

Your actual prices will vary based on your situation. Your annual visits may be more or less expensive than our estimate. You may pay a different amount for glasses or contacts or buy them at in less frequent intervals. Nonetheless, we hope this information will be helpful for anyone who is researching the costs and benefits of LASIK.