Theatrical contact lenses are notoriously expensive, but numerous websites offer inexpensive versions for unwary customers. However, the lowest price contact lens is probably the lens that you really want to avoid in this particular situation. If you were shopping for corrective prescription contacts you would want to seek out the lowest price available, since most of the time that just means getting a brand name product for less money. However, in the case of cosmetic or theatrical lenses lower prices often mean dangerously poor quality.
The reason why pricing is a key factor when buying off brand cosmetic or theatrical contact lenses is simply due to who manufactured the contacts. When you purchase prescription contacts you are limited to buying from a number of manufacturers who maintain a certain quality level for all of their products. You can rest assured that a pair of Acuvue contacts will be safe to use, regardless of how much you paid. Thus finding the best price lens is very important in your selection. However, with theatrical contacts, particularly movie monster style theatrical contacts, you run the risk of buying ill fitting or poor quality contacts. As we have said elsewhere on this blog, contacts that do not fit your eyes properly can cause severe damage, even from light use.
As such you need to pick your cosmetic contacts with great care. Be wary of websites that loudly proclaim to have the lowest price contact lenses on the internet; that often means they are some of the lowest quality contacts on the internet. Look instead for brand name cosmetic contacts, websites that sell FDA approved contacts or require a prescription to place an order, and companies that have a good reputation for providing professional quality contacts. By carefully selecting where you get your contacts you can rest assured that you will have high quality special effects lenses without having to worry about any risk or ill effects.
When You Should Get Prescription Contact Lenses Outside Of Your Insurance Provider Network
Vision insurance can help you save a lot of money on your eye exams and purchasing new prescription contact lenses, but believe it or not they are not always the best option available to you. In fact, in many instances your vision insurance may restrict you to some of the worst options available in order to save the insurance company money. This is particularly true of vision plans through an HMO (health management organization) or employer provided insurance. As a result, sometimes it is simply better or easier to NOT use your insurance benefits but rather pay out of pocket for the services that you need.
The key restrictive mechanism in most of these situations is the network of providers that the insurance plan offers you. HMO plans restrict you to only using health care providers within their network, and PPO (preferred provider organization) plans will charge you more money to use eye doctors and contact retailers outside of their network. However, the providers that are covered by your plan may not include the optometrist or ophthalmologist that you are comfortable using. Most people do not need to visit their eye doctors enough times in a year to make it too much more of a financial burden to use a doctor outside of their provider network if they so choose. Other people may be forced to go outside of their network due to the length of time it takes to get an appointment or how far the doctor is from where they live and work.
Another, more rare reason why people choose not to use their vision insurance benefits is that, sometimes, it is just plain cheaper! Some particularly horrible or shady HMO plans may stick you with over priced health care providers, and if you do the math you may be able to find less expensive eye exams and discount contact lenses through a combination of other doctors and online retail stores. In other cases your copay may be expensive enough, and the service at the eye doctor bad enough, that in the end it is just worth your time and money to pay a little more for exponentially better service from your new eye doctor. You have rights as a patient, if you are not getting the quality of service and products that you need, you can always go elsewhere.