3 Tips to Save Money on Eyewear

save money on eye contacts


Americans spend 33 billion dollars every year on prescription glasses and contact lenses. I understand how expensive eyewear can be since I wear contacts. And because glasses and contacts can be so expensive, I want to share some tips, as well as my personal experience, on how to save money on eyewear.

1. Get an eye exam at Costco, Sam’s Club, or Walmart
If you don’t have insurance that covers an eye exam and you are in need of an eye exam, don’t go to an eyeglass chain or a private eye doctor office. It will cost so much more money. Instead, get an eye exam at Costco, Sam’s Club, or Walmart. At Costco, it’s usually about $70 for an eye exam and $120 for a contact lens eye exam. Sam’s Club and Walmart cost about the same. Store prices vary by region, so call and check a few stores prices before making an appointment. And these stores have licensed optometrists that perform the exam in an in-store exam room.

2. Buy Eyeglasses and Contacts Online
Don’t get stuck purchasing glasses and contacts from the optometrist. I’ve worn contacts, and sometimes glasses, since I was a teenager. For years, I always just ordered my contacts and glasses from my optometrist following the appointment. And for the longest time I didn’t know that there were other options out there that are less expensive and just as good quality. The contacts I wear normally cost $55 per box if I order them from my eye doctor, but by purchasing them online I was able to save nearly 50 percent! I researched many online stores to find the best deal for contact lenses and here is what I found.

The best deal for my contacts was from DiscountContactLenses.com. They were $34.99 per box, which includes six contacts and is a 3-month supply. Plus, I found a 20 percent off promo code for being a new customer, which brought the total per box down to just $27.99. And they shipped the contacts to me for free. So instead of paying $55 per box, I only paid $27.99 per box! That’s nearly half of the cost of what I’d been paying to purchase them from my eye doctor. And it was the exact same brand and box of contacts. (Side Note: For about 7 years, I purchased my contacts from VisionDirect.com, but unfortunately, as of May 2017 they shut down, so I did a lot of research to find which online stores had the best prices on contacts.)

I researched other online sites and found that the next best places to purchase contacts is from Sam’s Club and Costco. Then Walgreens if you locate a good promo code, and then Walmart.com. Other sites that I haven’t tried but I’ve you might want to consider looking at for contacts is 1800AnyLens.com and 1800Contacts.com. It is always a good idea to check a few sites before you order contacts online to make sure you find the best deal for what you need to order.

If you are looking for eyeglasses, purchase them online from Coastal.com or ZenniOptical.com where you can get generic frames and lenses for $20 shipped! The reason they can sell them so inexpensively is because they make them, and they don’t have to go through a middle man. And sometimes, Coastal.com has promotions where you can get your first pair of glasses free. All you’ll pay is shipping and handling and the cost of any lens upgrade. This promotion comes and goes, so you have to watch for it. For your first pair of glasses, you might want to consider ordering them in-store to ensure the fit is right, but after that, order them online!

3. Keep Your Old Frames
Just because you have a new prescription, it doesn’t mean you need new frames. While you may need new lenses for your glasses if your prescription has changed you don’t need to purchase new frames if your old ones are still in good condition. When shopping for new frames, be sure to stick with elegant and classic styles, rather than the latest trend that way you can have with them for a few years.

By doing these things, you can save a lot of money on glasses and contacts. What other tips to do you have to help you save money on eyewear?



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  1. These are great tips! I have an sppointment with Costco for an upcoming eye exam and have read great things about their cost and customer service.

  2. Doris Springer says

    So did you buy a box of one month supply for that price or 3/6 months?
    Because we pay $35 for a 3 month supply.

  3. If you have a high prescription (+/-4.00) or a complicated one, I don’t recommend buying glasses online. All of the measurements are very important and should be done in person by someone who knows what they’re doing. Try not to cheap out on something as important as your vision!

    • I agree that if you have a complicated prescription you should have that done in person. For me, since I don’t have a complicated prescription, it works to order my contacts online. Thanks for your comment.

    • I disagree; I have a very high index prescription, need progressives, and wanted transitions with an antireflective coating, etc. etc.
      Translation? It’s a complicated prescription and I DID order online and had a great experience:
      Will certainly go back! MUCH less expensive than in person; I got ALL of the measurements I needed when I requested my prescription; used the measurements on my existing frame.

      • I’m really glad to hear that even though your prescription is a complicated one, you’ve had a good experience ordering online. I think people will be interested in knowing that you can order a complicated prescription online and that it can work out great. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  4. Having the edges polished will make the glasses look thinner.
    Especially due to the augmentation that prescription lenses add, you don’t need your eyes battling with the frames; you simply want the whole look to blend smoothly.
    Fodeez also has a Frames for Children program in place.

  5. These are some really great tips for getting your eyes checked for a cheap price. I actually just got my eye exam, and now I can pick out some glasses. I want to make sure I pick good ones, but I also don’t want to spend a fortune on them. I’ll definitely make sure to check stores online!

    • I’m glad you were able to read some of these tips before you purchased your glasses, and I hope you’ll be able to find glasses you like that don’t cost too much. Thanks for your comment!

  6. How do you get the eye doctor to provide the measurements necessary to order online? I’ve got the script for lenses but not facial measurements.

  7. As of May 2015, Costco’s exam for contacts is $95 + a mandatory contact training which is $25. Total cost is $120 and I don’t know if they would charge extra for certain contact fittings.

    We went ahead and made an appt with the Dr. we’d seen before. They charge $95 for the exam and $55-90 for the training/fitting depending on the type of contact you need.

  8. I can’t decide if I need anti reflective coating …..at SAMs $130 extra …..no optical insurance ..retired ( that means old …lol) and I am getting transition lens. Any comment appreciated

    • Linda, that would be challenging not to have insurance and have extras that you need for your vision. I would just suggest that you call around to a few different places and ask a lot of questions to see who has the best deal for what you need. After your exam, see if you can get a better deal for your vision wear online. I’m sure the people at VisionDirect.com would answer any questions you have before you order. Hopefully, doing a lot of research will help you find the best deal for you.

  9. Thanks for sharing great tips to save money! Finding some discounted coupons can be challenging. After my long research, I found cheapestplacetobuycontacts.com which offers good coupons on branded contact lenses.

  10. I wouldn’t say that $80 for an eye exam is cheap. You can get a coupon from Vision Works sometimes for a $10 or $20. As for ordering eyeglasses in the mail it’s not worth the bother. How do you adjust the frames? If there’s an error in the order I would rather take them back myself to resolve the issue. Spending money on postage to fix the problem causes you to fork out more money.

    • Mary,

      Prices have gone up since I originally wrote this post, so thank you for the tip about getting a coupon from Vision Works to save money on an eye exam. My mother-in-law purchased glasses online and she hasn’t had a problem with them and had a good experience. She paid $40 for her glasses and had a slightly more complicated prescription. She save a lot of money because the last time she purchased glasses through the eye doctor, it cost her $300. Even if she had to send her glasses back to get them adjusted, it would have still cost her less money. And I’ve been ordering contacts in the mail for 6 years now from VisionDirect and have never had to return any of my contacts because of a problem. I realize others might have a different experience, but we’ve had great experiences ordering glasses and contacts online.

  11. Elaine Bazany says

    Where can I get my new prescription put in my old frames

    • Whichever vision center or eye doctor you go to ask them about the cost to change out the lenses and keep your frames. You might want to call around to a few places to find the best deal.

  12. Chrystal Hays says

    Back in the 1980’s, my brilliant little sister found some cool old frames at a thrift store, and had her lenses put into those.
    If you don’t have a complex rx, this can still be a fun way to get new frames or have an extra pair made. You can experiment with vintage styling or an unusual look for under $10.


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