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The cost of glasses can vary widely depending on several factors, such as frames, lens accessories, retailer, and insurance coverage.
This article discusses the cost of different glasses, why they are priced differently, where to buy them, and more.
Glasses are available with and without a prescription, and the prices of these glasses may vary. Although corrective lenses can cost more, health insurance can cover the cost.
An eyeglass prescription will have a range of diopters (D), values that describe a person’s vision. Ophthalmologists generally call 0.00 diopters “Plano”. The negative and positive numbers represent the need for vision correction in each eye.
Learn how to understand an eye prescription here.
People with lower prescriptions may not need corrective lenses and can find suitable over-the-counter reading glasses. However, they Maybe not suitable for everyone, including:
- astigmatic people
- people who need a different strength lens in each eye
Old people 40 to 60 years old will usually be able to use their reading glasses for several years before needing to update them.
People should have regular eye exams whether or not they need a vision correction.
Learn more about eyeglass prescriptions here.
The price of glasses can vary depending on several factors, including:
- the retailer
- frame type and style, for example, store name or brand name
- prescription strength
- add-ons to goals
- health insurance coverage
- protection plans
However, the type of lens is the main cost factor. Retailers often charge more for lens additions and customization. Types of lenses include single vision, bifocal or progressive lenses. Complements include photochromic lenses and protective coatings.
Retailers may offer Transitions (photochromic) lenses as an add-on feature. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun activate this type of lens. Natural light darkens the lenses, which allows people to use them as sunglasses.
Retailers may offer protective coatings, such as anti-reflective coating, for lenses for an additional charge. Lens coatings can help reduce the risk of lens breakage or scratching.
The mirrored coating on prescription sunglasses can provide additional eye protection as they can reflect light away from the eyes and help reduce glare on sunny days. However, mirrored coatings can make objects darker and reduce the clarity of a person’s vision.
Not all manufacturers use the same materials to make lenses. Some retailers may offer the option of choosing a different material at checkout for an additional charge.
According to American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), some common lens materials include:
- Glass: Glass is the most scratch resistant material, but it can be heavier than other options.
- Plastic: Plastic lenses weigh less than glass lenses and may offer optics slightly better than polycarbonate or trivex, but inferior optics than glass lenses.
- Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate lenses are thin, light and have good impact resistance and UV protection. They are thicker than high index materials for high prescriptions but thinner than plastic.
- Trivex: Trivex lenses offer excellent impact resistance and UV protection, but require thicker lenses for higher prescriptions. They are thicker than high index materials for high prescriptions but thinner than plastic.
- High index materials: These materials allow taller prescription lenses to fit into standard sized frames, but may weigh more than other materials
Retailers can manage health insurance differently. Some stores may allow a person to process their insurance in advance, while others may have to pay the full cost of their glasses, and then the insurance company will reimburse them.
A person may also be able to pay for their glasses using a Health Savings Account (HSA) or flexible spending accounts (FSA). A person may wish to check their insurance coverage to make sure they can use it for their glasses.
Learn more about Medicare and eyeglass coverage here.
Please note that the author has not tested these products. All information is based on research.
GlassesUSA offers several options for frames, prescription strengths and supplements for their lenses. They also provide frame sizing guides, help identify existing eyeglass prescriptions and free returns.
GlassesUSA does not directly accept health insurance, but provides forms that allow customers to submit a claim directly to multiple health insurance providers. A person may also be able to use their HSA for their glasses.
Learn more about GlassesUSA here.
Warby Parker offers several different styles and materials for their frames and lenses.
The company works with various insurers and will help clients submit their claims to their insurance company if they have insurance.
A person can try on their glasses at home when shopping from Warby Parker. A person can choose between single or multifocal lenses, transitions, polycarbonate lenses, or thin lenses.
Learn more about Warby Parker here.
Customers will have to pay the full amount for their glasses in advance. Insured persons can then submit the receipt and other necessary information to their health insurer for reimbursement.
EyeBuyDirect offers both branded and branded frames. Users can choose from a range of lens add-ons, such as:
- single or multifocal lenses
- blue light blocking, tint of sunglasses or photochromic lenses
- different glass thicknesses
- lens coatings
Learn more about EyeBuyDirect here.
LensCrafters offers both online and in-store shopping. People who buy in-store can have an eye exam with a LensCrafters ophthalmologist before purchasing their glasses.
LensCrafters offers a variety of frames and lens options. A person can also claim his purchase on his health insurance if he has it at the cashier.
LensCrafters offers the following types of lenses:
- progressive or simple vision
- LensCrafters brand or lenses
- different thickness
- light blue lenses or darkening coatings
Learn more about LensCrafters here.
Coastal offers a variety of discounted and branded glasses.
When a person chooses their frames, Coastal lists the features and types of lenses that the chosen frames can accommodate. This can help a person decide if their chosen setting will work for them.
Coastal lenses offer additional protective coatings, sunglasses and progressive, single focus and Transitions lenses.
A person can also choose to donate a pair of glasses to someone in need when they purchase a new pair of glasses.
Learn more about Coastal here.
According to AAO, glasses can help correct:
Non-prescription glasses offer low-wattage lenses to help with clarity of vision. They may be suitable for people who only need minor correction to read or use devices, such as cell phones.
A person should have regular eye exams to stay on top of their eye health. How often a person has an eye exam will depend on their individual needs.
Regular eye exams can help an optometrist diagnose eye conditions and start appropriate treatment early. Early treatment can help prevent vision loss.
As a person’s vision can change over time, regular eye exams can also help ensure that a person is using a prescription that is appropriate for their needs.
The cost of glasses may vary based on brand, materials used, insurance coverage, and additional lens coatings.
Not all types of glasses or lenses are suitable for everyone. A person may need a prescription for their lenses, or they may be able to wear non-prescription glasses that they can use while reading and similar activities.
People should have regular eye exams regardless of the vision correction. Eye exams can detect changes in vision and eye abnormalities.