How Much Do Glasses Cost?

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Different Types of Eyeglasses

There are many different types of eyeglasses to choose from. It’s important to find a pair of glasses that not only fits your vision needs but also fits your budget. An eye exam from your optometrist will help determine the best eyewear for your needs.

how much do glasses cost

The six main types of eyeglass lenses include the following:

  1. Single-vision lenses. Single-vision lenses are lenses that have the same prescription power across the whole lens. These types of glasses are ideal for correcting myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and/or astigmatism.
  2. Bifocal lenses. Bifocals are glasses that have two lenses to correct both nearsighted and farsighted vision. You can see a dividing line between the two types of lenses in bifocal glasses. This is called the “transition zone.”
  3. Trifocal lenses. Trifocals are made up of three different lenses that correct not only myopia and hyperopia but also presbyopia, which is the inability to focus in the middle distance. Like bifocals, you can see the transition zone.
  4. Progressive lenses. Progressive lenses correct your near, far, and middle vision with a seamless, no-line transition.
  5. Prism lenses. Prism lenses are used to correct conditions such as vertical heterophoria, which is a vision disorder characterized by eyes that do not look in the same direction while at rest. They also help correct strabismus (eye turn) and diplopia (double vision).
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vector types of glasses lenses

Once you have the correct lenses for your needs, you can choose a lens material for your eyeglasses. Some lens materials include:

  1. Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a lighter and more impact-resistant material than plastic. It was first used on hard helmet visors and safety glasses, so you can trust the durability for prescription glasses.
  2. Plastic. Frames may be made of a CR-39 plastic, high-index plastic, or Trivex. CR-39 plastic is a thermal-cured plastic polymer that is lightweight, but high-index plastic has a higher refractive index that makes them even thinner and lighter. Trivex is a newer plastic material that is as safe as polycarbonate, but is less distorting.
  3. Glass. Glass lenses are generally scratch resistant and tend to cost less than plastic and polycarbonate, but they’re heavier and break easier. These are the least popular frames because they’re so fragile. Due to these safety and weight issues, few modern lenses are made with glass.

Once you choose your lenses and frames, you can include an add on, like a protective coating for the lenses. Here are some of the coatings that may be available to you:

  • Anti-reflective coating. This helps reduce glare and prevent eye strain.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) coating. This helps protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV radiation. UV coating is only necessary if your lenses do not have built-in UV protection. Polycarbonate, Trivex, and most high-index lenses already have 100% UV blocking properties.

The price of your pair of glasses depends on the type of lenses and frames you choose, any add ons you buy, and whether you buy them from certain retailers or your eye doctor. Whether or not you have vision insurance that covers the cost of your new glasses also affects the price.

How Much Do Prescription Glasses Cost Without Insurance?

Without insurance, prescription glasses can be expensive. Whether you buy them at online retailers, in stores, or from your eye doctor’s office will all affect the cost. For example, designer frames like Warby Parker and Ray-Ban will be more expensive than regular (non-brand specific) frames from Walmart or Costco.

The cost of glasses can range anywhere between $8 and $600 for a standard pair — and can climb into the thousands for name brands. The average price for new glasses is about $195. You can shop around for the best price if you don’t have insurance to help pay for them.

How Much Do Prescription Glasses Cost With Insurance?

Your vision insurance may or may not cover the cost of your prescription glasses. Some insurance plans will pay up to a certain amount, such as about $120 a year for prescription glasses. However, if you want a more expensive name brand, you will still have to cover the difference.

How Much Do Non-Prescription Glasses Cost?

Non-prescription glasses are generally cheaper than prescription glasses. They can cost as little as a few dollars. For example, there are hundreds of non-prescription glasses available for sale on Etsy, and they cost $27.87 on average. 

People buy non-Rx glasses for a few reasons, including: 

  • Cosmetic purposes
  • Over-the-counter readers
  • Blue light blocking 

Does Insurance Cover Non-Prescription Glasses?

It is unlikely that your vision insurance will cover non-prescription glasses. Some vision insurance providers will not even cover prescription glasses, though most will cover the cost of your eye exam to get the glasses.

Which Factors Affect The Cost of Eyeglasses? 

Tons of factors affect the cost of your eyeglasses. These include the following:

  • Lens type
  • Frame material
  • Add-ons like lens coatings
  • Where you buy them
  • Your vision insurance plan (or lack thereof)
  • Your geographic location

Cost of Glasses vs. Contacts

There are many benefits of switching to contact lenses instead of glasses. They give you a fuller field of focused vision, and they don’t fog up, get wet in the rain, or distort light. Plus, they could give you a confidence boost and be more convenient if you live an active lifestyle.

However, contacts can be more expensive than glasses. Depending on the types of contacts you get (daily disposables or reusable contacts), you may end up paying less. But you’ll need to buy them more frequently, so the cost adds up over time. You’ll also need to buy a contact lens solution to keep your contacts clean.

Where to Shop for Glasses

Your prescription from your eye doctor does not mean that you have to buy your glasses from your doctor’s office (though you probably can). You can also shop for glasses at major retailers like Lenscrafters and Warby Parker, as well as at stores like Walmart and Costco. You can also order glasses online at sites like GlassesUSA.com.

Vision Center Recommends LensCrafters

LensCrafters provides a huge selection of designer and budget eyeglasses and sunglasses. Free shipping and a 30-Day Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee.

Resources
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Bird, Chris. “Switching from Glasses to Contacts: Pros and Cons.” Southwestern Eye Center, Southwestern Eye Center, 22 May 2019, www.sweye.com/blog/optical-care/switching-from-glasses-to-contacts-pros-and-cons/

“Choosing the Right Lenses for Your Glasses.” Designer Eyewear, Lenses & Eye Exams, www.wisconsinvision.com/Wisconsin/Lenses

“How Much Do Eyeglasses Cost?” CostHelper, health.costhelper.com/eyeglasses.html.

“How to Choose Eyeglasses for Vision Correction.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 27 June 2020, www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/glasses

“Non Prescription Glasses.” Etsy, www.etsy.com/market/non_prescription_glasses.

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