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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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Here are 10 tips to saving money on eye glasses, contacts and eye exams.

Glasses are one of those things we all have to spend money on and it can be hard to save money on.  The good news is easier and easier to save money on your eye care.  Here are some tips to help you save money on your next trip to the eye doctor (and filling the prescriptions that follow).

1.  Shop around.

Call around and do your research before you make an appointment.  I wanted to get an idea of how much a glasses exam would cost with no eye insurance, so I called a few different places.  I called a LensCrafters, Costco and two local offices.  I expected the local offices to have the best prices.

-Local Office 1: $108
-Local Office 2:  $89
-LensCrafters:  $85
-Costco:  $69

You don’t need to be a member at warehouse stores to use their optical centers.  Simply let the gatekeepers know you’re going to the optical center.

2.  Customize your appointment.

Sometimes you might not need an entire work up at the eye doctor, dilation and all.  Check with your doctor at the beginning of the appointment and see if you can customize your appointment to save a little money.  Also make sure you study your vision insurance to know what all is covered for your appointment.

3.  Free infant eye exams.

Doctors recommend scheduling your baby’s first eye appointment at six months.  On top of all of the other baby expenses, an eye appointment at 6 months can be a huge hit.  There’s a program called InfantSEE which puts you in touch with participating optometrists in your area who will provide free a comprehensive eye assessment between 6 and 9 months of age.

4.  Reuse your frames.

If your frames are still in good shape but you need a new prescription, take the frames into the doctor and see if they’ll replace the lenses to save some cash.

5.  Skip the contacts.

When you get contacts, you’re probably still going to have to buy a pair of glasses.  If you’re truly trying to save money, skip the contacts and stick with the glasses.

6.  Shop online for glasses.

There are a ton of options for buying inexpensive glasses online.  Some of my favorites are:

-Coastal.com- Coastal.com has tons of glasses, contacts and sunglasses and they always have sales so you can snag a good deal.

-Glasses USA- This is a great option for a wide range of glasses styles.  Plus they have a 365 day warranty and free shipping and returns.

-Warby Parker- Warby Parker glasses are around $95 including prescription lenses and for every pair you need, a pair is distributed to someone in need.  My favorite part is that you can try on as many pairs as you want for free.  Choose 5 at a time and they send them to your door at no charge.

-39dollarGlasses.com- Like the name suggests, most of the glasses you can find on this site are $39 and some sales if you keep an eye on it.

-Zenni- These glasses range from about $10-$25, plus single vision lenses are free!  They have a huge selection and tons of options to sort through all of the glasses to find the right pair for you.

Another plus side to buying online is that sometimes you pay less for additional options like anti-glare, anti-scratch and tinted lenses.

7.  Shop online for contacts.

Use coupon codes when you’re shopping for contacts.  Good places to find deals on contacts are:

-Walgreens

-Vision Direct

-1-800 Contacts

8.Use coupons for contact solution.

If you do decide to wear contacts, you can pay an arm and a leg for contact solution.  Use coupons to buy contact solution and you can usually find it for around $2 at drugstores with contact solution coupons.  It may be a good idea to invest in the brand names rather than store brands.  Talk to your doctor about what brand you should use and stick with it.  You could develop allergies and eye irritation to other brands, so just make sure you have that discussion with your doctor.

9.  Properly clean your contacts.

You don’t want to let bacteria grow on your lenses by never cleaning your case or not cleaning it properly.  I have a friend who constantly had to buy new contacts and her eyes got infected from the contacts.  It turns out the solution was getting a case that cleans your lenses overnight.

10.  Don’t use daily contacts.

Using daily contacts can add up.  Invest in reusable contacts and save some money in the long run.  On that note, buy an entire year’s worth of contacts at once rather than 6 months.  You can save more money when you pay for a year.

    • Leigh Hamrick

      Thanks for the great info Jenny. Also, If you are an AARP or AAA member many eyeglass chains such as Sears & JC Penney will discount your exams. Be sure and ask!

      • Megan

        I didn’t know about the AAA discount. Sweet!

      • wendykw

        LensCrafters does AAA discount also.

    • Megan

      Saving on contacts, solutions, glasses, etc. is something I’ve been trying to figure out for a while. Great tips! Zenni is a great site for glasses. I got a pair for $6 which included shipping and I’ve been using those glasses for 3 years now!

    • El

      My 18 year old daughter went to America’s Best and got eye exam and 2 pairs of glasses for total of $76! Unfortunately I need bifocals so I can’t get such a good deal. I would like to try somewhere like Zenni but of course they cost more for bifocals too.

    • Liz

      You get what you pay for. As an eye doctor I’m bothered by this post. Some people must have contact lenses. Some must have daily contact lenses due to allergies. Others cannot buy glasses online due to needing prism or specialty progressive lenses. Usually the cheaper eye exams mean no time spent with you. Do you want someone to miss a blinding eye disease like glaucoma or swollen optic nerves from a brain tumor because you’re cheap? Save at the grocery and drug stores so you can spend on your health.

    • Guest

      I agree with Liz. I think when it comes to your eyes there is no such thing as cutting corners. I wear daily disposables, they are safe , there is less chance of infection (I’m prone to infection) and glasses are not a good fit for me. Glasses give me a headache.
      I will also add to the “savings” above. If you wear contacts. Many of the companies offer rebates at certain times of the year. Another option is Sams is usually cheaper than any of the online sites mentioned above (even after paying for membership)

    • Becky5

      We have ordered from Zenni for years. Awesome products! We go to our eye doctor (an ophthalmologist) for our annual check up, and use the prescription from that visit to order our glasses. We have ordered bifocals, progressives and single vision lenses with no issues. I don’t feel it’s cutting corners and certainly would not risk my husband, children and my vision. I think the markup for frames is ridiculous! At Zenni, I can get a top of the line titanium frame for $49. The last LensCrafters glasses I got (this past January–with Eyemed I get a pair ‘free’ each year), fell apart after 10 days. A supposed $130.00 frame, and the screw was broken. They fixed it, but still a hassle. I have sent many friends and family the Zenni way, and everybody loves it!

    • Tie Dye Jen

      I shop around for contacts prices every year when I get my eye exam and have not ordered from the same site two years in a row. This year it was CVS optical. I get a year supply for under $100 which is what I used to pay at the eye doctor for 3-6 mo worth! I have pretty bad eyes and have learned that instead of paying extra for thinner lenses to fit a wire frame, I just get the thicker plastic frames and you can’t tell how thick the lenses are.

    • Andrea

      Very pleased with the glasses that I got from Coastal.com! I have VERY high powered lenses, and I’m told by glasses people that I have to have high quality frames, pay extra for thin lenses, and have progressive lenses instead of plain bi-focals. I found some free frames on coastal.com. but had to pay just under $200 for the lenses. This same or similar order would have cost over $500 anywhere in town.

    • Ana

      We just recently bought our son who is 7 at Americas Best. We got 2 pairs for 69. He has really bad eyesight since he has lazy eye. They even included a free eye exam. However lazy eye is actually covered our medical insurance, since it is medical problem.