8 Ways to Save on Eyeglasses

Photo (cc) by 0Four

Last year, my mom bought her first pair of prescription glasses. She wasn’t sure what they should cost, so she simply bought the frames she liked the best. It wasn’t until after she picked up her new glasses that she called to tell me: She had paid $450 for Armani frames.

I think my reaction went something like, “That’s crazy! Giorgio Armani would have had to make those glasses himself with gold-plated screws and diamond lenses to get me to pay $450!”

Then I found out I needed glasses myself. After my eye exam, I was presented with several rows of frames – many costing well over $600. Even the “bargain frames” cost around $200.

Clearly you can spend a ton on eyeglasses. But there’s good news: You can also save a ton. In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers step-by-step instructions for saving up to 90 percent on prescription glasses. Check it out and then read on for more details….

As Stacy showed in the video, my mom could have easily saved hundreds. And you can too. Here are more details…

1. See if you’re covered

Before you schedule an eye exam, check your insurance coverage. Many health insurance plans cover all or some of the cost of vision expenses. But unless you ask, you might not know. For example, my health insurance covers the cost of an annual eye exam – and I wasn’t even aware I had vision coverage.

2. Make use of your FSA

Do you have a flexible spending account? If you can get one through your employer, it should cover many vision services, like:

  • Eye exams
  • Prescription glasses and sunglasses
  • Tinting
  • Reading glasses
  • Contact lenses and solutions

If you’re already contributing to an FSA, use some of these funds to pay for your vision costs. If you’re not contributing to an FSA, do it the next opportunity you have. Since you can contribute money from your paycheck to your FSA before taxes are taken out, you’ll automatically save even more.

3. Start with an eye exam

Before you can buy prescription glasses, you’ll need two things: a prescription matching your vision needs, and your pupillary distance (the distance between your pupils). An optometrist can provide both. And thanks to something called the “Prescription Release Rule,” they’re required by federal law to give you a copy of your prescription, enabling you to take it with you and shop wherever you’d like.

If you’re using vision insurance to offset the cost of the eye exam, make sure to visit a clinic covered by your insurance. If you’re using an FSA, call beforehand to find the cheapest option. For example, my local Walmart offered the cheapest deal I could find – $100 per exam. You may also qualify for a free or reduced eye exam through volunteer or state-run programs. Eligibility varies, but FreeEyeExam.org has a list of free exams by state.

When you visit the optometrist, ask for a written copy of your prescription and your pupillary distance. Then see where the best deals are…

4. Warehouse clubs

Warehouse clubs sell prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses cheaper than many other brick-and-mortar retailers, and you’ll occasionally get even better prices. For example, right now Sam’s Club is offering $40 off your second pair of prescription glasses for Plus members, and BJ’s Wholesale Club has $20 off a complete pair. Check out Costco too.

5. Discount stores

As Stacy mentioned in the video, he picks up simple reading glasses from dollar stores. I buy mine from discount and overstock stores, and I’ve found some great deals. In fact, I just bought a three-pack of decent-looking reading glasses at TJ Maxx for $11.99 – that breaks down to about $4 a pair.

You can find good deals on cheap reading frames all over town. Also check out Ross, Marshalls, Big Lots, and Walmart.

6. Buy online for bigger discounts

You’ll most likely find the best deals on prescription eyeglasses online. Some sites offer basic frames with single-vision lenses and tinting for under $10. Here are a few sites that have gotten decent reviews from bloggers and others:

A word of warning: Some sites sell low-quality products, while others have horrible customer service. Before you buy a pair of glasses from a website, make sure they have a return policy and check out a complaint site like Ripoff Report or Complaint Wire to see if other customers have had problems. Also be aware that online stores are probably best for simpler, inexpensive prescriptions and for those customers requiring less personal service. The more complicated the prescription, the higher the cost, and therefore the risk, of buying online.

7. Take advantage of coupons and special offer deals

The Internet is full of product coupons, and eyeglasses are no different. Before you buy your next pair, use an online coupon site to find a better deal. The GlassyEyes blog regularly posts sales and special offer deals for online eyeglass retailers. You can also find coupons on sites like The Optical Blog, RetailMeNot, and Slickdeals.

8. Find free repair or replacement deals

If your glasses get scratched or bent out of shape, be aware that some retailers offer free repair and/or replacement. For example, LensCrafters offers their customers unlimited cleaning and adjustments. EyeBuyDirect.com guarantees most of their glasses for 12 months. Many optometrists will also replace your contact lenses free if they’re bothering your eyes.

Bottom line? Here at Money Talks, we’re supporters of local brick-and-mortar businesses, especially the locally owned kind. So we’d encourage you to check online prices, then beat the local bushes to see if you can use those prices to get a home-grown better deal. But if you’re focused only on savings, you’ll probably be ordering your next pair of glasses online.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More
10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More

Think you’re a savvy shopper? Find out how retailers persuade you to dig more deeply into your wallet.

9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000
26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000

These lucrative gigs let you work in your slippers.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet
7 Reasons Workers Age 65 and Older Have Not Retired Yet

For some, the golden years are a time to increase the gold — but their reasons for delaying retirement vary widely.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate
10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate

Clever shoppers can save money without sacrificing quality. Here is how to do it.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.