Ways to Save Money on Eyeglasses

The cost of eyeglasses at the various well-known national eyeglass centers like LensCrafters or Eye Masters or Visionworks can vary significantly and often the companies who claim to offer the lowest price don’t.  For example, Costco Optical offers eyeglasses at a much lower price than LensCrafters.  Below are tips on saving significantly on your  next pair of eyeglasses:

  • You can find very deep discounts if you buy your glasses online at websites like FramesDirect.com – Glasses.com -- SimplyEyeglasses.com  -- LensesRx.com – Eyefly.com – Zennioptical.com.  You can save 30 to 70 percent at online websites, although it’s difficult to buy glasses without trying them on first and it might be difficult to return them if you aren’t happy.  A few of these websites allow you to upload an image of your face and see how you look wearing different styles of glasses.

  • Don’t let anyone talk you into paying for things you don’t need like a lens coating that protects your glasses from scratches (they already have that) or the photochromic lenses that change from light to dark when you're outside or inside (you need them only if you spend lots of time outside).

  • Don’t pay extra for designer frames since they aren’t of any higher quality.  This fact was exposed recently when 60 Minutes did a story revealing that almost all of the eyeglass frames sold in the USA are manufactured by the same company and made out of the same materials -- glasses that retail for $50 and $500 are of the same quality.  

  • Watch out for “buy one, get one free” offers as the seller will try to tack on all kinds of add-ons to jack up the price. 

  • Stay away from doctors’ offices as they tend to charge more for new glasses than any other group. 
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Free or Low-Cost Eyeglasses

The average price of a  new pair of glasses, including examination, at a major retail chain is more than $250, but less than $50 if purchased online.

Check with all the major retailers in your area that have eyeglass centers, such as Sears, Walmart and Target, to find out if they offer low cost prescription lenses for children and the elderly.  Some eyeglass centers in these stores will fit children and senior citizens with glasses for as little as $25. Target sometimes offers free glasses for kids under 12 in stores with an optical center.

Those who are 65 or older might be able to get free eye exams through  EyeCareAmerica.org.  AARP members can get discounted eye care too.  For those who aren’t senior citizens, the following resources are available:

(1) The Lion’s Club (lionsclubs.org) has helped people obtain free or low-cost eyeglasses for many years

(2) Some states have programs that help citizens and particularly children obtain free or low cost eyeglasses

(3) New Eyes for the Needy is an organization that helps low income people with eye care and glasses.  Their website is www.neweyesfortheneedy.org

(4) Find out if the organization Prevent Blindness (www.preventblindness.org) might offer free eye care in your area