What’s the better deal when it comes to vision correction

Anyone with less-than-perfect vision understands that 20/20 sight has a rather hefty price tag. Glasses and contact lenses are all an expense those with perfect eyeballs will never understand.

So when I, a nearsighted Nelly, learned about implantable collamer lenses (ICL) and read that Joe Jonas had undergone the procedure, I wondered if switching from regular contact lenses to implantable ones was worth it. 

What is ICL: You know how a contact lens sits on top of your eye? An ICL is a contact lens that gets implanted in the space behind the iris (the colourful part of the eye) but in front of the crystalline lens. It’s become preferred among eye surgeons since it doesn’t deteriorate the cornea like laser eye surgery. 

  • It’s permanent but can be reversed.

  • The quick, non-invasive procedure takes about 20 minutes.

  • Most patients experience same day vision restoration with some discomfort for two to three days after. The entire healing process lasts about four weeks.

  • ICL is considered an elective and cosmetic surgery, so general insurance plans probably won’t cover it.

The cost: An ICL procedure starts at $3,050 per eye, so if you’re not a cyclops, it’s a starting price tag of $6,100. 

  • It’s a big price difference from the $207 I paid for a year’s worth of bi-weekly contact lenses from my optician. It costs me about 56 cents a day to be able to see using contacts.

If I underwent an ICL procedure this year, it would take 29 years to cover the annual expense of my contact lenses.

So, is it worth it? This is a tough call—the freedom to see without fumbling around blindly looking for your glasses or contact case is priceless. But if you have a thing about other people touching your eye and decent health insurance, you might be better off sticking with contacts.