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Discount Eyeglasses: Top Ways to Save Money on Your Glasses

When prescription eyeglasses are an essential part of daily life, the cost of keeping up with an ever-changing prescription while keeping a backup pair on hand can add up. If you require specialty prescription lenses with additional features like anti-glare or scratch-resistant coatings, polarized lenses, blue light blocking coating, or other add-ons, the cost can get even higher.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to save money on your next pair of glasses. From discount eyeglasses to coupons, promo codes, and insurance benefits, you can get a great deal on eyeglasses.

Eyewear at Discount Stores

Discount stores offer affordable prices on a wide variety of eyewear options, closeout styles, and frames that may no longer be sold anywhere else. 

Here are some tips for maximizing savings at discount eyewear stores:

  • Look for clearance items. Sometimes, you can find hidden gems in the clearance section of a discount store or in their “last chance” section. 
  • Consider generic frames. If you are on a tight budget, generic frames can be a great way to save money without sacrificing quality. They are often significantly cheaper than brand-name options, and discount stores almost always maintain a good supply of generic options.
  • Ask about package deals. Some discount stores may offer package deals that include frames, lenses, and other accessories. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have any special deals or discounts available if you don’t see any signs or advertisements for sales. 
  • Check for warranties. Warranties or guarantees are a low-cost way to protect your investment. Many discount stores can help you turn a good deal into a great one with a great return policy or warranty option.
  • Consider damaged items. Because discount stores often stock closeout items from high-end retailers, you may find that some frames have minor scuffs or are slightly damaged. Point out the damage to a clerk and ask if it’s possible to get a better deal as a result. 

Consider Buying Glasses Online

Online eyewear retailers typically have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar stores. This translates into lower prices for customers, often even on designer eyeglasses that cost significantly more elsewhere.

Shopping online for glasses also comes with the benefit of frequent discounts, promo codes, and sales. For many online retailers, if you opt into their email list, you can get a promo code for 10% off your first order.

Some online eyewear stores give you the option to try on frames before you buy. While this can be helpful in making the right choice, it can lengthen the time it takes to get the glasses you need. Some people prefer to go into a traditional store where they can try on many frames in the same visit. 

Use Coupons & Promo Codes

Here are some tips to save the most money via coupons and promo codes:

  • Look for coupons and promo codes online before you make your purchase. Websites like RetailMeNot, Coupons.com, and Groupon are often used by eyewear retailers to push their best offers. Check out what’s available to find maximum savings.
  • Read the terms and conditions. If you are using a coupon or promo code, read the fine print. Some coupons may have restrictions or require a minimum purchase amount, while others may limit your selection of frames or the type of lenses that may be eligible for the discount.
  • Try to stack coupons, cash-back offers, points offers, and promo codes. In most cases, this will not be an option, but if you are shopping online, you may be able to get extra discounts and cash back by going through shopping sites that offer points. You can also pay for the purchase with a credit card that offers cash back.
  • Pay attention to the expiration date of your coupon or promo code. If you notice the expiration date has already passed by the time you’re ready to use the coupon, it may still be possible to get the discount. Call and ask a representative if they’ll still honor it. If they won’t, they may be able to connect you with their latest offer.  

Compare Prices

As you compare eyeglass prices, look at offers from high-end retailers, online shops, and discount retailers as well as your eye doctor. You never know when a sale at a high-end retailer may yield a better deal on a high-quality item than the everyday price offered at a discount store. 

Comparing prices can also help you to identify any hidden fees or additional costs that may not be immediately obvious until you total up the purchase. For example, some retailers may offer a lower price for frames but charge more for shipping or handling or pile on fees for more complex prescription lenses.

Online retailers have a significant amount of competition, so they often offer deeper discounts than you will find in person. But some online eyewear stores do not work with insurance, so the better deal could come through your eye doctor or an in-person eye clinic that sells glasses.

When comparing prices, take into consideration the overall value rather than just looking for the lowest dollar amount. Quality, customer service, refund and return policies, and inclusion of add-ons or accessories can make a more expensive deal a better value than a low-cost pair of glasses. 

Check Insurance Benefits

Many health insurance plans offer vision care coverage, which can include coverage for prescription eyewear, replacement glasses, eyeglass repairs, and eye exams. However, there are huge differences between specific vision insurance plans, so it’s important to know what yours offers and if it’s really going to save you money.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your insurance benefits:

  • Know your coverage. Take the time to review your insurance policy to see what is covered. If you don’t understand the legalese in the contract, check online for FAQs or call to get your questions answered. Look for information on the amount of coverage available for glasses or contacts, co-pays or deductibles, exclusions, wait periods, and annual limits. Generally, most plans will offer a set amount to be applied toward glasses annually or every two years.
  • Choose in-network providers. To maximize your benefits, try to buy glasses from in-network providers who work with your insurance company. Sometimes, there are deals available on eye exams and eyeglasses if you get both at the same clinic. Some plans will simply reimburse you for a set amount if you go to an out-of-network provider.
  • Look for discounts on lens upgrades. Basic lenses are relatively inexpensive, but if you have bifocals or you need additional features like anti-glare or scratch-resistant coating, this may come at an extra cost upfront. Confirm whether your insurance company covers any of these costs. 

Take Your Time

It can take a little more time to price compare and find promo codes when shopping for glasses, but it can result in significant savings. Don’t rush the process, and you’ll be able to get quality discount eyeglasses. 

References

Eyeglasses for School Kids Boost Academic Performance. (September 2021). Johns Hopkins University.

Eyewear & Contacts Deals and Savings 2023. LensCrafters.

Ophthalmic Practice Rules (Eyeglass Rule). (December 2022). Federal Register.

Eyewear Coupon & Promo Codes. RetailMeNot.

Access to Clinical Vision Services: Workforce and Coverage. (September 2016). Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow.

Best Vision Insurance Companies of 2023. (March 2023). Forbes.Trends in Eye Care Use and Eyeglasses Affordability. (April 2019). JAMA Ophthalmology.

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