Eye care costs rose just 0.3% last year

Good news for consumers: Costs related to eye care increased less than costs for any other health care service or related cost during 2012.

The Eyeglasses and Eye Care Services Index, compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), increased a mere 0.3 percent during 2012. That was well under 2012's overall inflation rate of 1.7 percent and a fraction of the 3.2 percent increase posted for health care costs overall, according to BLS Consumer Price Index data.

The index for eye care has traditionally risen more slowly than the BLS' other professional health services indices. That is because, unlike other indices, it reflects both fees for professional services and the cost of commodities such as eyeglasses and contact lenses. Professional fees tend to rise faster than prices for commodities, according to the BLS. In addition, eyewear is often placed "on sale" by retailers, which is reflected in the index.

The Eyeglasses and Eye Care Services Index is based on approximately 680 quotes for services provided by optometrists, opticians, and ophthalmologists. To see how eye care costs stack up against other health care costs, view the chart below.

Comparison of eye care cost increases to other health professions

August 28, 2013

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