No matter how you purchase them, prescription glasses and contacts are a must have for many of us. According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction, whether it’s glasses, contacts, or both!
Unfortunately, even if you have a relatively “mild” prescription, glasses (including frames) and contact costs really add up throughout the year. Combine those costs with eye exams and any other eye issues that may pop up throughout the year, and it’s easy to see why many of us are curious about ways to save money. If you have any type of eye care needs, check out the following 5 ways to save money on prescription glasses and contacts!
1. Check out vision insurance coverage to save money on prescription glasses and contacts
Vision insurance does not come standard in many health insurance plans, but many insurers offer the option for you to buy it as an add on. If you’ve ever thought of buying vision insurance, you’ll want to consider first how much you spend per year on your eye care.
Once you have that estimate, add up how much your vision insurance will cost per month. If your estimated annual eye care expenses are less than what your monthly vision insurance costs will be, it’s cheaper for you to pay out of pocket for your eye care. If, on the other hand, you spend more per year than what insurance would cost you, opt for insurance.
Also, if you want to pursue getting Lasik eye surgery, first check with your vision insurance provider to make they will cover all surgery expenses. If they consider it cosmetic and won’t cover it, it might make more sense to pay out of pocket.
2. Shop big box retailers
Do you always go to a local optometrist for your annual eye exams? Maybe you buy your glasses at the closest eyeglasses chain. If you haven’t shopped around in a while, both for your eye exam and for your provider of prescription glasses or contact lenses, it’s time!
Costco offers eye exams and glasses frames all in one location, and the price is comparable if not better than other chain retailers. Unfortunately, you can’t shop online for glasses frames (unless you just need readers), so you will be limited by what frames your Costco (other other big box retailer) carries.
3. Use your HSA funds
We already know how much Harry likes his HSA, but if you have a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) plan, you can use this money to pay for your glasses and/or contacts. If your employer contributes money to your HSA, you could pay for your glasses and/or contacts from that and not spend anything yourself!
4. Order online
There are so many ways to save money on your prescription glasses, including Zenni and 39 Dollar Glasses. You can even buy your prescription contact lenses online to save money. All you need is a recent prescription to order, and your glasses or contacts are shipped to you.
Ordering online is a great way to save money and get a bigger selection of affordable frames. While you’re limited to what you can buy at Costco, with online retailers, you can search through dozens of frames all at a price point you can afford.
When ordering online, just make sure you’re using the most recent (within the last year) prescription, as some people’s eyes change as they get older.
5. Use your local optometrist for repairs
Inevitably, your glasses may get damaged. You could drop them, get hit in the face, or any number of insane ways to break or scratch your glasses. Before tossing your glasses, take them to your optometrist and see if they can adjust them to make them work again. There’s no guarantee your damaged glasses can be fixed, especially if a part broke off, but if they’ve just been bent, your optometrist may be able to repair them back into shape.
The same goes for contacts! If your contact rips or is dried out when you open it, visit your optometrist, explain the situation, and she or he may be able to help. If your prescription isn’t too obscure, your optometrist may be able to provide you a pair or two of lenses to keep you going for a little while.
Bonus! Take care of your glasses and contacts with all the free stuff you get!
Yes, free stuff! When you first get glasses, you’re usually given a case (hard is best, but soft is better than nothing) and a cleaning cloth. Use it! With contacts, you’ll typically be given a small bottle of recommended solution and a carrying case.
Take care of your glasses and contacts exactly the way your optometrist tells you to! Use the solution they recommend (for contacts), clean your glasses with the cloth provided regularly, and be gentle on your glasses. When transporting your glasses, keep them in your case. Don’t just throw them in your purse or pocket!
With contacts, try not to sleep with your lenses in even if your optometrist says it’s okay. Make sure to clean them regularly in solution and don’ t rub your eyes (you can scratch or tear your lens!)
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Glasses and contacts, especially depending on prescription, can be very expensive. Use the above tips to save money on prescription glasses and contacts, whether it’s reducing your cost or increasing your options for affording your glasses and contacts. Take care of your eyes, because they’re the only ones you’ll (probably) have.
Nathan Johnson says
Thanks for these tips for saving money on glasses. I have been wearing glasses for almost my entire life and I have gotten used to paying quite a bit for good glasses. It is interesting that you brought up using HSA funds to pay for glasses. That is something that I will have to look into. Thanks for sharing!