When it comes to eye care, the office visit is expensive enough. But, if the diagnosis happens to result in the need for glasses or contacts, the cost can skyrocket. Before you go to your next eye visit, make sure you understand how you can save money on glasses and contacts.
I remember taking my son to the eye doctor because he said his eyes hurt. The end result of that visit meant glasses. While I was prepared for the diagnosis, I wasn’t prepared for the hefty price tag that came with them. I could not believe the total cost for a pair of kids’ glasses! WOW!
While his prescription stayed the same this past visit, I’m not sure we will be able to stick with the same glasses after his next visit. He says his eyes are hurting a bit again and he is outgrowing his current frames. Because of my initial sticker shock, I realized that I had to figure out what to do to save money on his next pair.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR GLASSES OR CONTACTS
According to Vision Source, the average cost of glasses in the United States is $196. As you add more features such as scratch-resistant coating or purchase name-brand frames, the cost continues to increase. If you happen to have insurance, you may pay a fraction of the cost, if anything at all. However, if you don’t have insurance coverage, you are left to pay for the glasses out of your pocket.
When it comes to contact lenses, the average price is $22 – $26 per box. One box will provide enough lenses for a few weeks, meaning you may need to purchase up to 10 boxes per year. That makes the cost around $220 (or more) annually.
SAVE MONEY ON CONTACTS AND GLASSES
1. Check prices before making your appointment
Before you can get glasses, you need an exam. Check with the local offices to find out who has the lowest price on the office visit. You may be shocked at the difference in prices. It can vary as much as $20 or more.
The average cost for an eye exam can vary greatly. If you get one through a large chain such as Walmart or America’s Best, the cost starts about $50. However, if you visit a private optometrist, you may expect to pay $200 or more! Just becuase you get your eyes checked at a chain does not mean that you aren’t getting a doctor who cares and knows what they are doing.
2. Skip the add-ons
Before you even consider purchasing glasses, understand your options. Doing so can ensure you don’t fall for the up-sell. Some features are great, such as anti-scratch coating for kids, but you may not need some of them. Understand what each add-on has to offer and whether you really need it or not. A little research can definitely help you save money on glasses and contacts.
Some of the most common add-ons can cost as little as $8 up to $350 or more! For instance, your provider may offer free anti-scratch coating, but charge up to $100 for transition lenses. Knowing the prices before you shop helps avoid sticker shock when it is time to pay.
3. Comparison Shop
Don’t settle for one pair of frames because they are there. Try on several of them and take note of the style. Then, shop around to find out who has them at the lowest price. Make sure you visit your local offices as well as reputable online retailers.
If you need contacts, get an estimate from your doctor and do the same. Call other offices and retailers who sell contacts to find out their prices. It is also important to review online retailers, such as those listed below. Doing so ensures you get the absolute lowest possible price.
Another simple trick you can use to save money on glasses. Your office might be able to match those of a local competitor. Keep in mind, however, that most of them won’t be able to match the low prices you find online.
5. Buy OnLine and Save 70% and more
Years ago, none of us would have ever considered purchasing our glasses or contacts online. That seemed crazy. But, as technology has evolved, so have options available to us as consumers.
Many times, the same glasses or contacts you would purchase locally can be much less expensive when using an online retailer. However, your eyes are too important to purchase them through someone you “Googled” to find. It is imperative you use someone who knows what they are doing, and whom you can trust.
There are countless online retailers who offer contacts and glasses at a discount that can save you more over purchasing them locally. Some of these include:
- DiscountGlasses has sales and discounts to keep your budget in check; and prices start as low as $19.95. Shipping is free when you spend $50 or more. An added perk is that they offer free returns, just in case they do not work for you.
- DiscountContactLenses will save you as much as 70% off your next contacts purchase by going online. Shipping is free when you spend $99 or more. They also frequently offer new customer offers that will save an additional 20% off your purchase.
- GlassesUSA has discounts of 60% or more on glasses. They offer free shipping and returns and have a 100% guarantee.
- 1800Contacts offers a wide selection and style of contacts at affordable prices. Shipping is always free.
6. Reuse the same frames
When you need to upgrade your lenses, there is no need to purchase frames as well. Ask to swap your current lenses for the new ones with the updated prescription. It is a simple way to save a lot of money (especially when you love your frames and don’t want to have to find new ones).
7. Buy your contacts at Walgreens and save 20%
One simple way to get cheap contacts can be to buy local! Walgreens offers new customers a discount of 20% off their first purchase of contacts. You cannot use your Balance Rewards points to pay for contacts, but you may qualify for a rebate! Check out their rebate center for offers from various contact lens providers. When you combine the code with the rebate, you can get some big savings on your contacts.
8. Use your Flexible Spending Account
Check with your employer about their flexible spending account. You can add funds during the year tax-free and use them on various health-care items and prescriptions. If your plan allows you to use this money towards the purchase of glasses, it is a great way to get them tax-free!