Glasses without insurance: how much they cost, and the best place to buy them

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Not everyone can afford insurance that provides vision care coverage. If you need glasses and are worried about the cost, then we’re here to help. 

We compared dozens of retailers to bring you 15 retailers with the best prices. We’ve also included links to deals that will save you money. 

It is possible to get long-lasting glasses at an affordable cost, even if you don’t have insurance to cover them. For all our tips to avoid overpaying for spectacles, read all the way to the end. 

Let’s begin!

How Much Do Glasses Cost Without Insurance?

VSP Vision Care reports that getting glasses will set you back $576 if you don’t have vision coverage. This includes:

  • an eye exam, 
  • single vision lenses, and 
  • frames

If you are already covered for eye exams or don’t need one, you’re still paying a hefty cost. 

Statistica reports the following average costs in the United States:

  • $231 for frames, and 
  • $112 for single vision lenses

The actual price ranges from $8 for bare-bone plastic or metal frames, to as high as $600 for brand prescription glasses. 

These are the factors that affect the price:

Online Vs Offline

Online eyewear shops eliminate the costs of middlemen in the supply chain. Therefore their prices are lower than brick and mortar stores. By buying glasses online, consumer reports indicate that you may end up saving up to 40 percent. Also, without middlemen, online stores can offer more discounts than traditional storefronts.

Online stores give you the ability to shop around more easily. So you can do price comparisons among multiple online retailers and you might find a good deal.  

Even though the prices are low, you don’t have to worry about quality when buying your glasses online. All US retailers must adhere to FDA regulations, which guarantee the quality of your glasses. 


Luxury vs. Budget Brands

If you shopped for glasses at one of your favorite luxury brands, their cost might have shocked you. 

Luxury brands such as Valentino and Calvin Klein have designer glasses that retail for up to $1,000.

Thankfully, budget brands like Warby Parker and Tortoise & Blonde offer affordable alternatives that are just as trendy as their luxury counterparts.

The list of glasses brands later in the article will be exclusive to budget brands.


Type and Style of Frame

The type of frame is a major factor that contributes to the cost of eyeglasses. Eyeglasses retail in plastic, metal, or biodegradable frames. Plastic frames are usually less expensive than metal frames. For example, a pair of acetate (high-quality plastic) frames can retail for as low as $10.

However, plastic frames break more easily, and with time they fade. So if looking for budget-friendly glasses that are built to last go for metal frames. 


Lenses Add-Ons and Treatments

If you decide to add a protective coating or customize the lenses for a more enhanced look, the overall costs of the glasses may shoot upwards. 

The price of add-ons varies depending on the retailer and the specific add-on. However, add-ons such as anti-scratch, anti-reflection, smudge resistance, and UV blocking are not expensive and last the entire lifetime of the lens. 

To save more on costs, choose an add-on feature that may be worth paying for. For instance, blue-light protection helps reduce digital eye strain. 

Cheapest Places to Buy Prescription Glasses Without Insurance

1. EyeBuyDirect

EyeBuyDirect sells quality prescription and fashion eyeglasses directly to consumers. It stocks luxury and budget brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Theory. A standard frame with single-vision lenses retails below $40. 

Single vision lenses retail between $6 and $15 while bifocal lenses start from  $29, and progressive lenses at $49. Make use of their virtual try-on feature to see how the glasses fit. 

It takes EyeBuyDirect 7 to 14 business days to ship your order and allows 14 days return policy and a one-time replacement. The retailer accepts FSA or HSA debit cards. 

Available Deals: BOGO 50% off frames with code 2LOOKS, 30% Student & Veteran Discounts, Loyalty Programs Bonuses

2. Liingo Eyewear

At Liingo Eyewear you can buy your choice prescription, non-prescription glasses, sunglass style lenses, or blue light lenses. The cost of these glasses ranges from $79 to $129.  

The retailer accepts cash, FSA, and HSA debit cards. You can try the glasses virtually on their website or at home. If the glasses do not fit, return them within 60 days for a full refund or replacement. 

Available Deals:  75% Off All Lenses Use Code: HAPPYEYES

3. Warby Parker

Do you need affordable, designer eyeglasses? Then Warby Parker is your store. Here you can get single vision lenses for as little as $95. The cost will increase if you choose extra features. For thinner single vision lenses, you will pay an additional $30 while the thinnest lenses will cost you an additional $130. 

If you add the blue-light protection expect to pay an extra $50. You can choose up to 5 different eyeglasses to try on at home before making your final purchase.

Available Deals: Up to 50% Off Lenses on Holiday Gifts; Buy Now, Pay Later With Affirm on Order $37+ 

4. Discount Glasses

Discount Glasses is a renowned eyewear retailer for high-quality and affordable frames and lenses. They stock a wide range of glasses for both adults and kids. On their clearance section, you can find single vision lenses starting at $13.96 and on the non-clearance section, the lenses start at $20. Progressive lenses cost between $20.99 and $50.99.

You will receive your glasses within four days of ordering. Unlike other retailers, with Discount glasses, you get up to 365 days return policy and free shipping regardless of the price. 

Available Deals: Mystery Deals for up to 70% Discount, Clearance Sales, Glasses under $30 

5. GlassesUSA.com

GlassesUSA.com has stylish prescription glasses on clearance. The single vision lenses retail for $19. While regular frames start from $39 and the designer pairs are slightly above $100.

Simply log into the site to book an eye exam appointment and enjoy their low prices. The retailer will ship your order within four business days. 

Available Deals: Buy One Get One Free, Use BOGOFREE code, Student Discounts, Regular Clearance Sales for up to 60% Discount on Frames & 25% Discount on Prescription Lenses

6. LensCrafters

LensCrafters is synonymous with cheap eyewear. It has glasses with versatile lenses and frames.  The single vision retail at about $58 while frames at  $70. 

LensCrafters offers a 30% discount to AARP members, military, and teachers. There is a seven days turnaround time and 30 days return policy. The retailer also takes most credit and debit cards, as well as HSA and FSA debit cards.  

Available Deals: Up to 50% Discount on Frames & Lenses

7. Lensabl

Lensabl is your go-to online eyewear retailer if you need quality lenses to fit into your old frame.   Their standard lenses are plastic, feature UV protection, and are scratch, and shatter resistance. You get all that at only $77. Progressives lenses start at $197 while designer frames cost around $200.  

To make the glasses more affordable Lensabl partners with Vision to Learn (a non-profit organization) to offer eyeglasses to children from low-income families.  

Available Deals: Holiday Sale for Lens Replacement & Frames

8. Zenni Optical

If you need prescription glasses with high-index lenses, get them starting at $6.95 from Zenni Optical.  The retailer also stocks progressive lenses which cost $27.95 and bifocals at $17. You can add blue light protection at $16.95 or sunglass tint at just $4.95. 

If you are a police officer, firefighter, nurse, or any other medical personnel enjoy a 10% discount on all purchases. Your order will reach you within 14 to 21 days and has a 30 days return policy.

Available Deals: Up to 50% Off on Frames & Lenses

9. Walmart Optical & Vision Centers

With multiple locations across the country, Walmart Vision centers are the most convenient and affordable stores to buy glasses without insurance.  The single vision lens price range from $10 to $40. 

Transition lenses start at $65. If you need bifocal lenses you will pay an additional charge and the total cost may be around $80. 

This giant retailer ships your order within three days and gives you up to 60 days to claim a refund if you are not happy with the purchase. 

Available Deals: Up to 60% Discount on Frames & Lenses plus Eye Exam

10. Sam’s Club Optical Center

Do you shop at Sam’s Club for your groceries? If so, hop into their Optical Center and get your eyewear from as low as $59. These are for single vision lens with plastic frames. They feature UV protection and are standard scratch-resistant as well as non-glare. Progressive and Bifocal lenses are also available ranging from $160 to $250.

All the glasses from this retailer come with a one-year warranty. Plus, you enjoy free same-day shipping. 

Available Deals: Get 2% Cashback on Qualifying Purchases – up to $500/Year

11. Target Optical

Target Optical is a store with a high user rating, so expect high-quality products ranging from customized designs to recommended eyeglasses. Expect to pay $50 for frames and between $75 and $100 for single vision clear lenses. You can upgrade the lenses to transitions by paying an additional $100.

If you are an AARP member you can get  $10 Off on each pair of eyeglasses purchased. Also through the OneSight’s OnSite Voucher Program, Target optical provides free glasses to low-income families. To qualify for the free glasses your income must be verified by a non-profit organization such as a church, school, or Redcross. 

Available Deals: Up to 50% Discount of Designer Brands

12. Costco Optical

For $110, you can get your choice of eyeglasses at Costco Optical. You also get a $30 discount on each extra pair of eyeglasses you buy.   However, you need to join their membership program to get an exclusive selection of prescription glasses and sunglasses.

If you are a senior citizen you can enjoy discounts of up to $230 on certain optical services every three years. Your order will arrive within 7 to 14 days. If not happy with what you get you can claim a full refund within 90 days. 

Available Deals: Save up to $95 on Lenses, Use Code: LIFEMART

13. Felix Gray

Felix Gray sells prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses starting at $195. Each pair you buy has blue-light protection. And if you order your glasses via the online site you enjoy a 20% discount.

Students, first responders, healthcare professionals, teachers, and military personnel also get to enjoy discounts. Felix Gray also offers free U.S shipping.  

Use their virtual try-on tool to see if the glasses fit. Your order shall be delivered within 3 to 5 days and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Available Deals: Get an Extra 20% Off on Orders $145+ Site-wide, Use Code: EVERYTHING20

14. Eyeconic

Are you looking for the latest Gucci eyeglasses? Then Eyconic is your store. Eyeconic stocks various eyewear from top-notch brands but expect to pay more. For standard glasses with simple frames prices start at $130.

The main advantage of shopping at Eyeconic is that all their prices include the cost of lenses and frames. All out-of-pocket payments get a 20% discount. You can also use FSA and HSA cards to buy the glasses

Then, get your order delivered to your doorstep within two to three business days, and enjoy a 60-day money-back guarantee. 

Available Deals: VSP, MetLife, and Cigna Members Save up to $220 on Eyewear & Contacts

15. 39dollarglasses

Shop at 39dollarsglasses and get the latest frames with single vision prescription lenses for as low as $39. Frames also start at $39 and sunglasses at $48.95. Bifocals and no-line progressives will cost around $119. You can virtually try the glasses. 

Shipping is free for orders above $99. Plus, it offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and 1 to 5 days shipping time. 

Available Deals: 4% Cash-Back Rewards Program

How Can You Save On Your Glasses?

Often, we associate high-quality glasses with a hefty price tag. Yet, you can get cheap eyewear without compromising quality. Here are some tips to help you spot those unbelievable prices on quality eyeglasses you want: –

1. Know What You Want

Do you know the specs of the glasses you want? What about the aesthetics like the style of frame and lenses add-ons? If you know the glasses that you want, you can search online for the brand and model to compare prices. 

2. Take advantage of Free Try-ons

Various online retailers offer free virtual try-on,  so you can try different lenses and frames before you buy them.  Alternatively, you can visit any stores near you and try several glasses. This will help ensure that the eyeglasses fit comfortably, so you know you are getting your money’s worth.

3. Keep the same frames and lenses 

If your prescription is still the same since the last time you visited the optician and your frames are broken you can save money by not buying new lenses. Just purchase new frames and ask the retailer to fit in the same lenses.

On the other hand, if your lenses are scratched but your frames are still in good shape, you can take your frames to the store and have only the lenses replaced.

4. Shop Around Holidays 

Most optical stores and online eyewear retailers have the best deals during holiday sales. For example, buy your child high-quality but affordable glasses using a back-to-school coupon. Or, get your parents the reading glasses they need using a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day discount. And, check if your local optical store has a clearance sale. Confirm if the glasses you want are part of the clearance stock on offer. 

5. Take Advantage of Loyalty & Savings Programs

Retailers have loyalty programs that enable you to unlock rewards as you increase your spending. For example, glassshop.com offers its loyalty program members a $10 gift card once they make the first purchase. Seeeyewear.com will give you the 6th pair free if you buy 5 pairs of eyeglasses. Other rewards you can earn include free shipping and additional discounts like the anniversary discount. 

Should You Get Insurance To Get Your Vision Care Covered? 

Typical health insurance excludes eye exams. Hence, if you have eye concerns that interfere with your work, school, or lifestyle, it is prudent that you get additional vision care insurance coverage. Such a cover gives you access to the following benefits below. However, you have to be careful and avoid agents who just want to twist and churn you into changing your current coverage.

  • Annual eye exams
  • Routine preventive eye care
  • Prescription eyewear

It is also recommended to find an insurer that offers plans in your area and go for a plan that you can easily afford. Humana offers vision insurance plans starting at $16 to $18 per month, and VSP offers plans starting at less than $17 per month per person. These are good options to start with. 

Apart from the monthly premium, you might co-pay (pay a portion of the costs) every time you need eye care services or products. The higher the premium the less you co-pay.   If you need an eye exam, or eyeglasses soon, opt for a plan that does not have a waiting period. 

Other Options

Comprehensive Protection Plans

Note that vision care insurance policies do not pay for elective eye care procedures like Lasik. For this, you may need a comprehensive protection plan. These plans pay for extra eye care services not covered in a vision care insurance policy. These services include: –

  • Lens coatings and enhancements
  • Elective vision correction surgery

Using FSA/HSA Funds

Finally, you can use your FSA (Flexible Spending Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account) funds to pay for eye care expenses including eye exams, new prescription glasses, contact lenses, eyewear care accessories, and even certain surgical procedures. You also can use the FSA dollars to cover your partner’s and children’s eye care expenses.

Medicaid

If you contribute to the Medicaid plan, you can take advantage of the Medicaid vision coverage to cover some eye care expenses. However Medicaid vision cover varies by State since each state runs its own Medicaid plan.  

Check with your State’s Medicaid plan to see what vision benefits you qualify for.  In most states, adults who are above 21 years old and have Medicaid, may get free routine eye exams and prescription glasses once every two years.

Now that you know how much glasses cost without insurance, which strategy will you use to order eyeglasses online without insurance? If you have health insurance, start by confirming that the eyeglasses you need are excluded from the policy. Then, compare then locate these eyeglasses in one of the 20 best places to buy glasses without insurance listed above. That way, you can take advantage of the discounts or holiday offers applicable. Don’t forget to claim a reimbursement using your HSA or FSA funds.

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