How to Save Money on Glasses and Contacts

Eyewear can get expensive in a hurry. Here are ways to fix your poor vision without breaking your poor bank account!

If you want to fix your vision problems and you don’t like having lasers shot into your eyes, then glasses or contact lenses are probably the solutions for you!

But both of these sight solutions can get pricey. Glasses can costs hundreds of dollars and  Contacts need to be regularly replaced or you’ll risk growing some sort of “venom” creature in your eye.

One could even imagine that venom creature yelling “show time” before jumping out of your eye to cause mischief. Even worse, that could happen in a public place, like a theater. Perhaps one close to you.

So how can you avoid venom “show times” in a theater near you?

By using these expert tips, you’ll be able to get more affordable contact lenses and glasses. And if you just showed up because you googled “Venom showtimes in a theater near you” and then somehow landed on this page, we feel strongly that look into affordable eye care as well.

Why? Well, judging by the reviews that movie has garnered, your desire to see it probably means you should get your eyes fixed.

Do some research.

It might be tough to study up if you can’t read properly due to your poor vision. But whether you need to squint a little or get a friend or family member to help out, doing your research will save you money in the long run.

The first step is making sure you’re seeing the most affordable optometrist you can—who still has reasonably good reviews and is board-certified. This is especially important if you don’t have vision coverage and will be paying out of pocket. And there’s a chance you may not have vision coverage, even if you have other coverage.

“My agency works with Medicare beneficiaries, but my tips would really apply to readers of any age,” explained Danielle K. Roberts, co-founder of Boomer Benefits (@boomerbenefits). “I thought I would give some insight on this and what we tell our own policyholders because many of them don’t realize that that Original Medicare does not cover routine vision care.

“I always recommend that they shop around for an optometrist that offers the lowest cost for cash-paying patients. After getting your prescription, head out the door! Without vision coverage, shopping for glasses at the doctor is often the highest cost.”

Doing some additional research also means you’ll be better equipped to determine exactly what you need to get and how to get it most affordably.

“Knowledge up,” suggested Scott Hamula (@shamula), Associate Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at Ithaca College. “Familiarize yourself with the different measurements opticians use to describe eyeglasses; lens width and height, bridge width, and temple arm length. Then, match those indicators up with pairs that best fit your face to get a sense of the size for which to shop.”

But where should you go to shop?

Go online.

When it comes to affordable eyewear, you’re better off surfing the net than hitting the pavement.

“Glasses can be expensive, especially if you buy them in store,” warned Ashli Dawn, personal finance blogger at Moolah Mogul. “A few years ago I started buying my prescription glasses online and I’ve saved a ton of money.

“There are a number of companies that actually send you a range of glasses to try-on before you buy (and they’ll usually cover shipping both ways, too). You’ll need your full prescription and your pupillary distance to order online (make sure you request your pupillary distance from your optometrist.) You can technically measure this yourself at home, but your optometrist is the most accurate.”

And she wasn’t the only one who emphasized the importance of getting your pupillary distance measured.

“I used insurance to get my eye exam,” lifestyle blogger Erin A. Smith (@JustErinSmith) told us. “Once I got home, I used the information in my prescription release to order glasses from Zenni Optical. All of the glasses in the store were over $100 for one pair.

“I was able to buy three pairs online for less than $70. I will note that you may need to call your eye doctor to determine your pupillary distance as it is not always listed on your paperwork but they should have it on file.”

Hamula offered us some additional tips for getting the best values on eyewear online: “Create an online account. This way, retailers will email you special offers on frames, lenses, or both, and typically shipping is free and your satisfaction guaranteed.

“Place items in your cart and WAIT. Retailers will email you both a reminder that you have items in your cart AND they will typically offer you an extra incentive offer to ‘buy now.’ Also, search online for discount codes just to be sure you’ve got the best ones before buying.”

But of course, you need to be careful when it comes to your eyes.

Make sure they’re legit.

Saving money is vital, but if your eyewear isn’t going to properly fix your vision, what’s the point of spending the money at all?

Although it might be nice to support online mom and pop glasses and contact lens warehouses, if the company doesn’t have much of an online presence, you should consider that a bad sign.

Look for online reviews when making your decision, and choose a place with an actual customer service line if possible, so you can connect to an actual person if your contacts or glasses are late.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get the affordable eyewear you need. Unless you weren’t able to read it, in which case, we’re sorry.

We’ve written tons of posts that aim to help people save money. (One way to save tons of money? Steer clear of predatory no credit check loans and short-term bad credit loans like title loans, payday loans, and cash advances!) If you want to learn more about saving money, check out these related posts from OppLoans:

What are your best strategies for snagging affordable eyewear? We want to hear from you! You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Ashli Dawn is the owner and founder of Moolah Mogul. A reformed overspender, she is passionate about financial literacy, helping people crush debt, and making budgeting fun. When she’s not behind her laptop, you can usually find her at the park with her husband and 2-year-old son, eating Indian food at her favorite local restaurant or with her nose in a book. She currently resides in North Carolina.
Professor Scott Hamula (@shamula) is the chair of the Strategic Communication Department and program director of the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) major at the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College.
Danielle K. Roberts is a founding partner and senior executive at Boomer Benefits (@boomerbenefits), a national agency specializing in Medicare-related insurance products since 2005. Serving thousands of Medigap policyholders in 47 states, Boomer Benefits helps baby boomers learn the ropes regarding Medicare.
Erin Smith is a 20-something lifestyle blogger from Maryland. Her blog, Erin A. Smith (@JustErinSmith), shares her passion for beauty, food, and travel. She also enjoys using her platform to bring attention to topics like miscarriage and mental health in order to create positive conversations for change.

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