I wear glasses and contacts; my husband does not. My teenage son is near-sighted and has worn glasses all his life. His eye doctor has recommended contacts which we’ve tried, but have not been successful with. Chances are one of my four other children may also need to wear glasses.
So far, without eye insurance, our eye wear and eye care expenses have run about $350 per year. That includes visits for 2 adults, one teenager, 2 pairs of glasses and one pair of contacts. I’ve learned a few ways to save on our eyes without insurance, and now I’m learning how to do it with insurance. I’m sure I still have lots more to learn with 4 kids to go. Let’s hope they don’t need glasses, too!
One thing I highly recommend is to assess your needs first. My son frequently needed to get his glasses adjusted because he wasn’t particularly careful about taking them on and off. He also had the lens pop out a few times during rough play. If you or your child have the same issue, I suggest looking at a bricks and mortar shop nearby for your needs. Yes, you can adjust them yourself, but a technician at a shop knows how to balance the different parts of the glasses so that they sit correctly and comfortably on your face. If the lens is particularly thick, it can be difficult to get it to sit in the frame correctly. You can also get pieces replaced for free by having the shop do the adjustment. Decide whether you want to get the glasses or contacts in the same place where you get your exam done. If you need to get the glasses quickly, this may be an option. If you can wait, you may be able to get your glasses or contacts cheaper elsewhere.
Shop around for your eye doctor if you don’t have vision insurance. Our current doctor has an office in his home and charged us $60 per visit. A doctor located in a strip mall with higher overhead charge $85 per visit. Eyeglass stores like For Eyes also offer eye exams, but may pressure you into buying a pair of glasses at their store.
Another option is going to Walmart or Costco. Costco’s eye exams run about $50, and Walmart’s are about $70 , or can be as low as $20 depending on your area. America’s Best offers a free eye exam with a special offer of two pairs of glasses for $69.95 and Regular-priced exams are only $45.
Second, shop around for your eye wear, too and don’t automatically buy these through your eye doctor. We have had great success with getting our frames through For Eyes. They usually offer 2 pairs of glasses for under $100. If you need a thin protective coating to prevent scratches or need high-definition lens for a very strong prescription, this typically runs about $139 for 2 pairs of glasses. We have stuck with For Eyes because there’s a shop very close to my children’s school. I’ve had to run all 5 kids there quite a few times to get my oldest son’s glasses adjusted because he got hit in the face in school.
Warehouse clubs offer glasses and contacts along with eye exams; these typically take a week or more to fill. If you want to shop online, many people have had great success with Zenni Optical. If you don’t need to have your glasses adjusted often or you’re comfortable with figuring out how to make the glasses fit your face correctly, this option will work for you.
Free Eye Exam Options
- Best Places for free eye exams. The list covers all of the United States.
- The Foundation of the American Academy of Opthalmology. Check out their site to see if you qualify for a free exam.
- The American Optometric Foundation offers free exams to uninsured low-income people through Vision USA
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