7 Strategies for Saving on Vision Costs
Follow these tips to get the best value on your glasses, contacts, and exams
If you’ve bought glasses for you or a family member in the past year, chances are you’ve dealt with the sticker shock of eye care. Being able to see clearly is a health necessity for more than 150 million Americans who use corrective eyewear. Not only do annual comprehensive eye exams ensure safe driving, working and other activities, they’re also imperative to diagnosing and treating more serious eye conditions early on. Before you shop for your next pair of eyeglasses or contacts, check out these strategies to save on your eye care.
1. Buy your frames online
The proliferation of online discount eyeglass providers has made it easier than ever to get your frames for less. You’ll typically pay 50-75% less with online sellers versus traditional retailers. Sites like Zenni Optical, Warby Parker and other online retailers have perfected the art of buying online by offering generous home try-on and return programs.
2. Buy your contacts online
Websites such as 1-800-Contacts and Vision Direct typically sell contacts for about 25% less than a traditional eye doctor might charge. By buying in bulk and using online discount codes, you may be able to reduce your costs even more.
3. Skip the add-ons
Many people might be surprised to find that most lenses already include scratch resistant coating and UV protection. Unless your prescription is above +/- 3.00, professionals recommend skipping other expensive upgrades like antireflective coating, light adjusting lenses, or high index or ultrahigh index lenses.
4. Use FSA or HSA funds
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) through your workplace or health savings account (HSA), you can save by using the pretax money to pay for eye exams, prescription glasses, contacts, contact cleaning solution or even lasik surgery.
5. Evaluate your coverage
Even with vision coverage, the costs can add up. Review your healthcare and vision plans to make sure you are getting the most out of your coverage. Your vision policy may have in-network providers that offer cheaper coverage than out-of-network providers. If you have children, you may want to opt out of covering them on your vision plan if an annual eye exam is included in your health plan.
6. Take Advantage of Coupons and Other Discounts
Take advantage of online coupons and watch for deals from retailers and optometrists. You can often get a second pair of glasses for free or a combination discount for buying both frames and a supply of contacts at the same time.
7. Shop at Costco
Consumer Reports recently evaluated eyeglasses retailers, and Costco Wholesale was identified as having the highest overall eye care satisfaction rating in America. Customers report excellent customer service and lower prices. At Costco, the average cost for a complete pair of eyeglasses is $186, while the industry retail average is $220 to $240.