When everything becomes clear …
Contact lenses are designated as ‘Medical Devices’ and as such impose a legal standard of clinical care we, at Aarons, take very seriously. It is vital for everyone to appreciate what is being purchased and what the costs represent.
We have, for many years, separated the contact lens product costs from the essential professional fees. We have, however, tended to combine the two, potentially masking the individual fees.
Potentially high costs of routine contact lens examinations and prescription eyewear can be of real concern; and spreading the cost, along with automatic discounts, can help.
The Clarity contact lens package is only a supplement to regular health cover. It is a wellness benefit designed to reduce your costs for routine preventative eye care such as contact lens aftercare appointments and purchase of contact lenses and spectacles. It does not protect you against eye injury or disease.
What are the true costs of buying Contact Lenses?
Contact lens optometrists and internet companies have been guilty of not giving a clear pricing structure.
Whether explained to you or not, fees must always cover not only the cost of the contact lenses but also the cost of professional time and expertise.
Professional charges vary depending on the practice’s commitment to you.
Online suppliers obviously do not incorporate any professional fees and do not commit to your ongoing ocular care.
Some optometric practices do not value professional services either, offering infrequent and very quick checks; ticking a legal box but not really satisfying the medical expectations.
Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with full time cover of ‘Medical Optometrists’ licensed to prescribe drugs to treat immediately. We have totally committed to the medical ethics of contact lens practice.
What is a ‘Medical Optometrist’?
The need to change the way optometry works has been evident for many years. The traditional role of an optician as a simple technician prescribing and fitting optical correction does not reflect the clinical needs of a struggling health service.
Historically optometrists were allowed to fit contact lenses but were not allowed the medical tools to intervene in the rare, but significant, instances of infection. This potentially puts patients at risk. Non-medical optometrists have very few avenues; under treatment carries significant risk, conversely an unnecessary referral wastes patient time and hospital resources.
Medical Optometrists treat immediately with licensed drugs specific for the presentation.
The practice of referring acute presentations to an eye hospital incurs enormous inconvenience and cost in time for the patient. Further, the patient’s GP surgery is charged by the hospital for the clinical service. This situation is an unnecessary community cost as these situations should be dealt with by the optometrist chosen by the patient to manage their ocular care!
Independent Prescribing, Medical, Optometrists became a legal reality in 2009. Peter Frampton is very proud to have been one of the first 30 optometrists in Britain to achieve Independent Prescribing qualifications. Most medical optometrists work in the hospital setting. There are still very few practicing in the community where they are, arguably, need most. It remains a very exclusive group but every optometrist in Aarons is either a medical optometrist or completing the qualification. Aarons has now made the commitment to only employ medical optometrists to ensure a seamless service for our contact lens patients.
Contact lens wearers should value the clinical service of Medical Optometrist above the commodity.
Clarity supplies a service: not simply contact lenses. Unless you live a long way from the practice and cannot access this service it is the minimum we would recommend.
The service includes:-
1. Medical (Independent Prescribing) Optometrists
Aarons is the only practice in Northumberland with permanent, qualified ‘Medical Optometrists’. Medical (Independent Prescribing) Optometrists, still quite rare in Britain, can prescribe drugs for the eye without referral to a GP or hospital. Coupled with our ‘Instant Access’ this is the service, we believe, patient’s should value most. As a ‘Medical Device’ we feel a medical clinician is vital for a comprehensive contact lens service. When monitoring treatments we also have an out-of-hours emergency number as well (see our website video).
2. Instant Access to Care for emergencies
You are buying instant access to the clinic. Our policy dictates a ‘Medical Optometrist’ is always on the premises during opening hours. If you present as an emergency you WILL be seen. It is always good to know if you have a red or irritable eye, or if your vision seems blurry you can present for a ‘Contact Lens Check’ without charge.
3. Routine professional care throughout the period of wear.
This is a legal and clinical necessity. We allocate half an hour for this professional service. Time is necessary for any comprehensive medical service; never undervalue this professional commitment.
4. Fitting and refitting of lenses as required.
A thorough aftercare check and advisory process should not only ensure ocular health, but also that the lenses used are appropriate for your needs. Dailies, Fortnightlies, monthlies, Torics, extended wear, multifocals, Specialist Lenses; we cannot guarantee to customise a service to the individual without taking the time to understand those needs.
5. The price of the lenses.
A lowly fifth on our priority list for the patient. It is unlikely the actual contact lens commodity can be found cheaper on any internet site; please check and compare with our website; www.aaronoptometrists.com.
Extra bonuses include:
6. Replacement contact lenses due to loss or tears will be replaced free (Note: This does not apply to patients who self-trigger their lens purchases, have bespoke customised lenses or buy lenses on the internet)
7. 20% discount on spectacles purchased.
8. All non-prescription sunglasses, including Oakley and Ray Ban, are supplied VAT FREE: ensuring significant ongoing savings.
A full eye examination, which covers general ocular health and spectacles, is not the same as a contact lens aftercare. Some contact lens wearers tend to allow regular eye examinations to lapse, since they believe this is part of the contact lens check.
Contact Lens Only Prices (Internet Prices)
If the contact lenses are bought separately, perhaps through the internet, then the professional care will have to be purchased privately.
Contact lenses would appear cheaper if no professional charges are mentioned. When purchasing lenses in this way you are buying only the product (i.e. the contact lenses). There is no health or ocular care included. This is misleading because legally you need to have regular ocular health checks to continue to purchase lenses. Since all professional time would then be charged for privately, it is rarely any cheaper in the long run.
- Contact lens annual exam fee - £60
- Contact lens re-fit/check-up - £35/per appt
Furthermore, there would be no discount eligibility for other purchases, which you would automatically receive with the full professional care. This would include:
- No FOC or replacement lenses if torn or lost
- No discount on spectacle purchases (up to 20%)
To supply lenses in this way then by law your contact lens prescription must not be more than 12 months old.
Consequently, you will require one contact lens annual exam at £60 and a possible further check-up within the year at £35 to maintain a current prescription.
Also if during the check, non-contact lens related problems appear to be present you may be advised to have a full eye examination as well at a further charge.
We would not recommend buying contact lenses in this way, especially when it is rarely cheaper once the optometrist’s private charges are met.
Contact Lens Professional Fees
|Daily Contact Lens Wearers
|Monthly Contact Lens Wearers||£8.00/Per Month|
|MF/Bespoke Contact Lens Wearers
Comparison Costs for Clinical Procedures
|NHS eye examination - child||FREE||FREE|
|NHS eye examination - adult||FREE||FREE|
|Private eye examination||£45||£45|
|Contact Lens annual exam||FREE||£60|
|Contact Lens check-up||FREE||£35|
|Optical Coherence Tomography|
|Retinal Nerve Fibre Analysis (GDx/OCT)||£15||£15|
|Acute Red Eye Management||FREE||£35|
|Emergency Eye Treatment||FREE||£35|
|Chronic Ocular Service Disease Management||£35 per appt||£35 per appt|
|Dry Eye & Ocular Service Disease||£45||£45|
INSIGHT - one step further than Clarity!
Sometimes the right of choice is restricted by financial constraints and because at Aaron’s we believe everyone is entitled to the best possible care we have introduced Insight; a stand alone package which Clarity members can choose to become a member of for a top up fee.
This is an elite scheme, specifically designed to enable us to give advice on the most appropriate methods available to help protect, correct and maintain a healthy vision lifestyle; while helping the patient to spread the cost.
For a small monthly fee we will ensure you receive the best eye care possible.
What better and simpler way to look after your vision than with Insight by Aaron Optometrists.
Ask for details on INSIGHT
Contact Lens add on Fee (when combining Clarity with Insight)
|Daily Contact Lens Wearers
||£ 5.00 add on per month|
|Monthly Contact Lens Wearers||£ 4.00 add on per month|
|MF/Bespoke Contact Lens Wearers||£ 4.00 add on per month|