For $360 a year, less than $1 per day, you can now wear the “latest” in daily replacement contact lenses. They’re advertised as comfortable, packaged in a recycled, stylish cardboard box, and they’re cheap, advertised at less than half the price of other name brand daily contacts. So how can you go wrong?
Sorry to burst your Hubble-bubble, but good marketing may be the best thing going with all of the Hubble Hype. What Hubble calls state-of-the-art is a lens material that is more than 20 years old. Methafilcon A, the lens material used to make Hubble contact lenses, is from a time when lens manufacturers celebrated when oxygen permeability through their lenses reached a DK value in the teens. The DK value indicates how breathable a contact lens is, which in turn affects how much oxygen your cornea gets when you wear the lens throughout the day. Hubble contact lenses have a DK value of 18 where most new 1-day contact lenses are between 2-8 times more breathable. Johnson and Johnson’s newest daily replacement lens, Acuvue Oasys 1 Day, for example has a DK value of 103, and Bausch and Lomb’s Biotrue 1 day lens, which is priced similarly if not cheaper than Hubble’s lenses is still double the DK of Hubble’s lenses at 42. Perhaps the greatest contrast is found with Alcon’s Daily Total 1 lens and its whopping DK of 140!
Oxygen Deprivation is Possible with Replacement Contact Lenses
And if you think oxygen is not important, you’re mistaken. Oxygen deprivation at the cornea leads to a breakdown in the outer layer of cells on the cornea, permanent changes to the number and shape of cells in the inner layer of the cornea, and can lead to the growth of new blood vessels in the cornea. All of these findings increase the risk for infection and scarring and can ultimately lead to vision loss.
What is the Real Cost of Replacement Contact Lenses?
So what if cost is the most important factor for you when it comes to choosing a contact lens? It’s important to note that Hubble is not significantly cheaper than other daily replacement lenses on the market. Bausch and Lomb’s Biotrue 1 day lenses for example can run about $320 for an annual supply after rebate at your eye doctor’s office. This is $40 cheaper than Hubble’s “bargain pricing,” and with more than twice the amount of oxygen and UV protection as added benefits. And if the name Biotrue Sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the name of one of the leading multipurpose contact lens solutions on the market. It’s a product that was so successful at keeping lenses moist throughout the day that the same molecule was incorporated into the company’s leading 1-day lens.
To sum it up, for a lower price you can get a more breathable lens with a lot of moisture and a birthday in this decade!
What if doing something good for someone else or other generations to come is a factor in your contact lens selection? Are you concerned about waste with a contact lens replaced so frequently? If you chose to wear a monthly replacement lens, you would only be disposing of 24 contact lenses a year. However, if you wore two 1-day contacts daily for 365 days of the year, the amount of “plastic” material that you would discard from 730 contact lenses each year is still less than the plastic in the single credit card used to purchase those lenses. That’s a pretty small footprint. And your good deed for selecting a truly state-of-the-art healthy contact lens doesn’t have to stop there. Johnson and Johnson Vision Care, makers of Acuvue Oasys 1 Day, has a manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Florida (instead of Hubble’s Taiwanese production) and more than half of the employees manufacturing the lenses are veterans of our military. It feels nice to support them doesn’t it?
Replacement Contact Lenses Have Value
A significant number of the new products introduced by the contact lens industry in the past 5 years have been daily replacement contact lenses. This is not a surprise, as it is well documented that 1-day lenses are the safest way to wear contact lenses and they are the fastest growing segment of the contact lens market. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try them, make an appointment with your eye doctor and ask to try one of the more breathable 1-day lenses available. For many it’s a relief to leave behind the nightly regimen of cleaning contacts and storing them in contact lens solution, at an additional savings of $100 annually for solution.
So what if you did opt for the latest in contact lens technology in a more breathable lens material with UV protection, optics that provide better night vision and more moisture? What would that cost you? Approximately $512 after rebate for the year or $1.40 per day for one brand, and that’s without applying any insurance benefits you may have. Or $560 after rebate for another brand for a lens that “feels like nothing” and approaches 100% water at its surface. That’s $1.54 per day. That’s a low price to pay to not think about your contacts (because you can’t feel them), and to know that your cornea is getting the oxygen it needs.
Who Prescribes Your Contact Lenses Is Important – Consult An Eye Doctor
One last point to consider: Who prescribed your Hubble Contacts? If it was your eye doctor that’s great! With a doctorate degree and many years of training, he or she knows best which contact lenses are right for you. Unlike the hat you picked up on vacation, contact lenses are not one size fits all. They are a medical device and if fitted improperly can cause harm. The bottom line is check with your eye doctor to see if Hubble contact lenses are right for you, and don’t trust that Hubble will do the leg work for you; online retailers often don’t make contact with eye doctors to confirm a prescription request. Why? Because they can sell more lenses if a doctor isn’t given the opportunity to review a prescription for an antiquated product….that’s illegal by the way.
There is some truth to that old adage: It’s not the package that’s important; it’s what’s inside that counts. Hubble has certainly wrapped their lenses in a pretty package and brought it to you by way of a nicely done marketing campaign. But $1.40 per day or even $2 per day is not such a high price to pay for healthy eyes and clear comfortable vision. What is your vision worth?