Contact lenses are medical devices that can cause serious consequences, such as infection, inflammation, permanent damage and loss of vision if not fit and taken care of properly. Examining a contact lens patient takes additional time and expertise. For that reason, there are separate, additional charges for contact lens examinations that patients without contact lenses do not pay.
Contact Lens Fitting in Washington DC
In addition to your regular eye examination, there is a fitting fee associated with trying new contact lenses. There are thousands of types of lenses, and the doctor will need to take special measurements and determine which lens type will work for you. Your initial design fee will cover ocular surface evaluation, diagnostic lenses, lab or shipping fees, fitting analysis and any follow-up visits necessary to obtain a satisfactory fit. If you have never worn contact lenses before, your fitting will include a class in which new wearers receive instruction on application and removal of the lenses and proper care and cleaning techniques. The fee may also depend on what type of lenses you wear; for example, bifocal contact lenses are more difficult to fit and take longer to adjust and fine-tune than standard contact lenses. The fit is finalized after you and the doctor agree that the fit has been successful, or if either of you determine that contact lenses are not an acceptable option for your eyes. Your initial fitting fee includes up to 90 days of follow-up; any additional visits required to finalize your fit are subject to a per-visit fee. Once finalized, any future lens changes in brand or type will be considered a refit and may be subject to new fees.
Contact Lens Supply
After you have been fit with an appropriate lens, you will have the option of buying a supply of lenses that will last up to 1 full year. You will have to replace your lenses as directed, which can range anywhere from daily, to every 2 weeks, monthly, quarterly or yearly, depending on the kind of lens worn. Buying a year’s supply of contact lenses at one time is beneficial because discounts or rebates may be available, and because you will have the convenience of having new lenses on hand when you need to replace them, so that you are not tempted to wear old, dirty or damaged lenses.
Annual Contact Lens Evaluation
Once finalized, per Washington, DC regulations, your contact lens prescription will be valid for up to 1 year. This means you can purchase enough lenses to last for 12 months and no more. After 12 months, the prescription expires. If you want to continue to wear contact lenses, you must return for a comprehensive eye examination and contact lens evaluation. The doctor will verify that your eyes are responding well to contact lens wear, check the ocular surface for any damage and make sure that the lenses are still fitting properly and are the correct prescription for your eyes. The cost for this evaluation starts at $95. This type of examination is necessary if you wish to continue wearing contact lenses. The doctor will not renew expired prescriptions without first making sure that your eyes are healthy enough to wear lenses. To avoid any inconvenience, make sure your annual examination is scheduled on time so that you do not run out of lenses before you are seen. If you wear contact lenses, this examination must be done annually, even if your insurance only allows for a 2-year exam interval.
If, for some reason, you require additional time or visits because there has been a change in the type of lens you wear, there may be additional fitting fees. These cover any extra trials, examination time and follow-up appointments that may be necessary to finalize a refit into another type of contact lens.