Here's a post for my fellow nerds or should I say those whose vision isn't 20/20.
There are a few ways to keep vision care costs low and I figured I'd share a few tips and tricks. A few I've learned from working at an optomologist's office and since I am not a licensed healthcare provider please to read carefully and feel free to do your own research as well.
To keep your vision care affordable you can say no to certain things and/or scout around to get care/services for a more affordable price!
1. Dilation: You don't need to have your eye's dilated for EVERY visit. Most wiser (older) physicians prefer to dilate the eyes during every routine eye exam while younger physicians choose to dilate every 3-4 years. And if you do not have the time and/or a driver you can ask the physician to reschedule the eye dilation for another day.
2. Retinal photos: At the office where I work we explain to patients retinal photos are an optional part of vision care and its a picture of the back of both eyes. Personally, I will probably have them done every 4-5 years. Depending on the office the price may vary, where I work we charge $35 which I think is fair. This may be a great option for those who are over a particular age and/or have family history of diabetes, glaucoma, hypertension, etc. And if you prefer or need to have them done every year, great!
3. Contacts: If your work does not require it, you have the option to say no to a year's worth of contacts. With my vision: an astigmatism in one eye and needing daily soft lenses, just the contact lenses themselves totaled $600 a year, that does not include the solution, cases, etc. NOOOO thank you. I decided to spend less then a 1/6 of the price for a month's supply of contact and I choose when I want to wear them. I would choose interviews, weddings, special events, babysitting littles whose hands would tug at them. That way I didn't or shouldn't wear contacts I didn't have to!
4. Name brand/top of the line frames: There's no doubt some glasses make you feel like a million bucks but there's no need to go out of your budget for your eye care, including glasses. Once you have your prescription there are a few ways to save some cash on the lenses and prescription.
- Visit your large wholesaler. Costco (at least in my local store) has an optical department. They offer routine eye exams and also have a decent variety of frames and prescription sunglasses to choose from as well as contacts. Frame prices typically start at $30 and go up to $200. They will also clean and adjust any glasses you have purchased from them and may even offer 1 replacement within a year for free (ask if they have any other special perks!). And just to help compare prices I've heard that on average the lowest package price for glasses is $380 at Lease Cr*fters.
- Look online. There are so many websites to purchases frames and add in the prescription for a very low price. I'll let you do your research as to which one to choose from, but I'll only recommend one as they've been great to work with. Eye Buy Direct. The last purchase I made I literally spent $26 for TWO pairs of glasses, with the prescription, a cleaning cloth, pouch for both AND they got to my door step in less than 7 days! I was able to get them for a lower price by finding the discount coupon page on their site (p.s. It's not advertised but if you do a quick google search you can find it.)
- If you are an individuals who is a beneficiary of someone who has or is serving in the United States Armed Services you may know that you may very likely have vision coverage in terms of a routine eye exam (on a military installation covered at no cost to you!) For example, if you have Tricare prime active duty you have one routine eye exam covered every 12 months at no cost. And it is possible at your local post exchange there be an optical department with frames at a low cost. some as low as $4.98 and high as $99 and also offered prescription sunglasses! I know from experience and I spoke with the kindest sales associate at my local optical vision center who quoted me the prices above (and better yet the optomologist offered walk-ins Monday - Sunday, doesn't get better than that!
All in all, do your research and find out what works best for you and your family! Happy savings!