NEW YORK—U.S. consumers who require vision correction pay about $500 annually for eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exams and insurance, compared with about $100 for those who have had LASIK surgery, according to a new study. The study, conducted by a consortium of ophthalmologists and optometrists known as, pointed out although glasses and contacts are game changers for people with “bad vision,” the annual costs of an eye exam, new eyeglass lenses, a year’s supply of contacts, and prescription sunglasses can add up to a considerable amount of money over the course of a person’s lifetime.

They estimated the costs as follows: an eye exam ($79 with insurance, $117 without), glasses ($167 on average) and/or contacts ($196 on average), and eyecare products ($40)—a total of about $500 a year. The lifetime cost of this type of eyecare could amount to $31,000, according to the researchers.

LASIK, by comparison, is relatively cost-effective and is less expensive than many Americans realize, the researchers said. The survey respondents estimated the total surgery costs $5,752 on average, but they overestimated it by nearly $500. LASIK costs anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye, with the nationwide average being $5,264, according to MyVision. However, the researchers said that the surgery will pay for itself in about 10 years, with an annual cost of about $100 a year.

Among the other highlights from the survey:

  • 28 percent considering LASIK due to inflation and rising costs of eye health.

  • 75 percent of people with glasses or contacts have considered LASIK. The top reason people are putting off the surgery is cost, and inflation is having an impact. More than 3 out of 5 (61 percent) said they would get LASIK if the cost wasn’t a factor, and 28 percent say inflation has made them reconsider the surgery. Other top concerns about LASIK include side effects and pain.

  • People who have already gotten LASIK said they went from paying $370 a year in eyecare costs to only $114. The top three ways people paid for LASIK were upfront or out of pocket (60 percent), insurance (15 percent) and financing (13 percent).

  • 90 percent of those who have gotten LASIK reported they were happy with how their eyes turned out after the surgery. conducted the survey in July 2022. 1,058 people with vision problems or corrected vision were asked about the costs of eyecare. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 82 with an average age of 39. is an effort by a group of expert ophthalmologists and optometrists to provide trusted information on eye health and vision.