Updated on 

October 29, 2021

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How Much Do Glasses Cost?

How Much Do Prescription Glasses Cost Without Insurance?

Prescription glasses can be budget frames or expensive. Designer frames like Ray-Ban will be more expensive independent retailers like Warby Parker. Budget frames from Zenni, Walmart or Costco will be the cheapest.

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.

This is usually around $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?

No, vision insurance does not cover non-prescription glasses.

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.

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. They correct 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 lens sections. They correct myopia and hyperopia as well as presbyopia.. 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. This 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).
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. 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 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.

Which Factors Affect The Cost of Eyeglasses? 

The price of your pair of glasses depends on the type of lenses and frames you choose and any add ons you buy. It also depends on where you purchase them and whether or not you have vision insurance.

Here are the main factors that affect the cost of eyeglasses:

  • 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 from 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. 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.

5 Cited Research Articles
  1. 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/
  2. “Choosing the Right Lenses for Your Glasses.” Designer Eyewear, Lenses & Eye Exams, www.wisconsinvision.com/Wisconsin/Lenses
  3. “How Much Do Eyeglasses Cost?” CostHelper, health.costhelper.com/eyeglasses.html.
  4. “How to Choose Eyeglasses for Vision Correction.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 27 June 2020, www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/glasses
  5. “Non Prescription Glasses.” Etsy, www.etsy.com/market/non_prescription_glasses.
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
AnnaMarie Houlis earned her B.A. in Journalism & New Media with a double minor in Creative Writing and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Gettysburg College. She spent several years as an editor at the helm of New York City's lifestyle scene before transitioning into full-time freelance writing from all corners of the globe. A full-time traveler, AnnaMarie's work is inspired by her fieldwork in communities around the world and grounded in extensive, expert-backed research. Her mission is to empower readers everywhere with the knowledge and resources they need—for their eye health, included.
Author: AnnaMarie Houlis  | UPDATED October 29, 2021
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Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
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Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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