If you’re among the 67 percent of us who wear prescription glasses, you already know that a set of frames and lenses can easily cost up to $400 — or more! Before you shell out for your next pair, read our tips for paying hundreds less.
Pay 50 percent less at Walmart.
Need new lenses because your vision changed, the ones you have are scratched, or you scored a cute pair of frames on eBay? Here’s a money-saving secret you may not know about eyeglass stores: You can bring in most types of full-rimmed frames to have prescription lenses installed, whether you purchased the old ones in that store or not. For the biggest savings, head to a Walmart’s Vision Center, which offers basic, single-focus lenses starting at $35, and UV-protection lenses for sunglasses starting at $59. This will save you about 50 percent compared to other eyeglass retailers.
Nab 80 percent off with Medicare.
Have Medicare Part B? The plan will actually cover 80 percent of the cost of corrective lenses if you have cataract surgery to implant an intraocular lens. Have a Medicare Advantage Plan (aka Part C)? Many cover an average of 33 percent of the cost of any eyeglass frames and lenses. Don’t have Part C and didn’t enroll before the December 7, 2020, deadline? You may still be able to sign up if you have special circumstances, such as moving out of a coverage area. To find out if you qualify to enroll now, visit Medicare.gov/plan-compare.
Shop online for 70 percent off.
Want a new look, need a spare pair, or have to replace glasses that broke? You can find a wide array of frame styles for up to 70 percent less than walk-in retail stores by shopping online. Some options: ZenniOptical, (frames with prescription lenses start at $6.95), EyeBuyDirect (frames start at $6 and prescription lenses at $18.95) and 39DollarGlasses, (frames with prescription lenses start at $39). Bonus: You can try on glasses virtually by uploading a photo or video, and can return them if you’re not fully satisfied.
Tip: For the best fit, grab an old pair of glasses and look on the inside arm for numbers, which indicate the widths of the lens and bridge. Then follow the site’s easy measuring tips. Prefer to get your pupillary distance measured by a pro, or don’t have your current eyeglass prescription? Simply opt for nonprescription lenses before putting frames in your virtual shopping cart, then get prescription lenses installed elsewhere — you’ll still save hundreds!
Score free repairs.
If you’re replacing your glasses because the protective coating wore off the lenses, the frame bent, or there’s another problem beyond normal wear and tear, review your receipt or call the store where you purchased your glasses and ask about their warranty. Many stores and manufacturers guarantee their lenses and frames for a period of time — usually one to two years — and will pay the entire cost of repair or replacement.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.