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Tips for Saving Money on Prescription Eye Drops

While those of us who wear glasses or contacts are used to budgeting for eye exams and other vision-related purchases, many patients are surprised at the cost of prescription eye drops.

Most Commonly Prescribed Eye Medications

Optometrists prescribe eye drops for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common treatments include:

  • Antibiotic eye drops to treat bacterial infections in the eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis (pinkeye) is most often treated with ophthalmic antibiotic eye drops or ointments such as Bleph (sulfacetamide sodium), Moxeza (moxifloxacin), Zymar (gatifloxacin), Romycin (erythromycin), Polytrim (polymyxin/trimethoprim), Ak-Tracin, or Bacticin (bacitracin).
  • Steroid eye drops , often used in combination with an antibiotic eye drop, typically treat inflammation in the eye. Steroids may include hydrocortisone, loteprednol, prednisolone, and dexamethasone.
  • NSAID eye drops are typically used to treat pain and swelling after eye surgery and some are used in allergy treatment. Brand names include Acular, Acuvail, BromSite, Nevanac, and Prolensa.

Why are Prescription Eye Drops So Expensive?

In 2016, drug companies brought in about $3.4 billion in the U.S. on eye drops for dry eyes and glaucoma, according to the research firm Market Scope. There has been debate for years about the way these medications are manufactured and delivered and research into ways to save consumers money by using smaller drops or specially designed bottles to reduce waste.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer as to why prescription eye drops are so expensive, and until there are significant changes in the market, patients are stuck doing their best to afford the important treatments they need to maintain their vision.

Finding Discounts on Prescription Eye Drops

If you receive sticker shock when paying for your eye medication at the pharmacy, rest assured that you have options. There are a variety of ways to save money on Rx eye drops:

Here is a look at the average savings patients receive on their eye drops when using a FamilyWize discount card .

Drug Full Name

Brand Name

Avg. FamilyWize Savings %    

PrednisoLONE Acetate Suspension 1 %

Omnipred Suspension 1 %

56%

Latanoprost Solution 0.005 %

Xalatan Solution 0.005 %

60%

Erythromycin Ointment 5 MG/GM

 

18%

Polymyxin B-Trimethoprim Solution 10000-0.1 UNIT/ML-%      

Polytrim Solution 10000-0.1 UNIT/ML-%      

34%

Ofloxacin Solution 0.3 %

Ocuflox Solution 0.3 %

72%

Timolol Maleate Solution 0.5 %

Timoptic Ocudose Solution 0.5 %

51%

Neomycin-Polymyxin-Dexameth Suspension 3.5-10000-0.1

Maxitrol Suspension 3.5-10000-0.1

8%

Tobramycin Solution 0.3 %

Tobrex Solution 0.3 %

63%

Ciprofloxacin HCl Solution 0.3 %

Ciloxan Solution 0.3 %

70%

Tobramycin-Dexamethasone Suspension 0.3-0.1 %

TobraDex Suspension 0.3-0.1 %

64%

  • Search for coupons – A quick internet search will often turn up manufacturer coupons, provided specifically to help patients afford critical medications. If you are struggling to afford a brand name drug for your vision, the manufacturer’s website can be a good place to find assistance programs and coupons.

If your optometrist hands you a prescription, don’t panic. There is help available to make your prescription eye drops more affordable.

Sources:

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