How Much Do Glasses Cost?

5 sources cited
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How Much Do Prescription Glasses Cost Without Insurance?

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

The cost of glasses can range anywhere between $8 and $600 for a standard pair. It can also climb into the thousands for name brands.

The average price for new glasses is between $200 and $300. You can shop for the best price if you don’t have insurance to help pay for them.

Where to Buy Glasses + Contacts

Best Overall: Warby Parker

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Also Great: Liingo

Best Place to Buy Contacts: 1800 Contacts

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.

A new pair of prescription glasses can cost around $120 a year with insurance. This depends on where you live in the US. If you want a more expensive name brand, you will 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, hundreds of non-prescription glasses are available for sale on Etsy, and they cost $27.87 on average

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

Does Insurance Cover Non-Prescription Glasses?

Vision insurance does not cover non-prescription glasses. They aren't considered medically necessary.

Different Types of Eyeglasses

There are different types of eyeglasses to choose from. It’s important to find a pair of glasses that fits not only your vision needs but also 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:

Single-vision lenses

Single-vision lenses have the same prescription power across the whole lens. They correct myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and/or astigmatism.

Bifocal lenses

Bifocals are glasses with 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.”

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.

Progressive lenses

Progressive lenses correct your near, far, and middle vision with a seamless, no-line transition.

Prism lenses

Prism lenses are used to correct conditions such as vertical heterophoria. This vision disorder is 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

Different Types of Lens Materials

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

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a lighter and more impact-resistant material than plastic. It was first used on hard helmet visors and safety glasses because of their durability.

Plastic

Lenses can be made of three kinds of plastic materials, including:

  • CR-39 plastic
  • High-index plastic
  • 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.

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.

Lens Add-ons

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

A 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 glasses depends on the lenses and frames you choose. It also depends on any add-ons you buy.

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

Pros and Cons of Cheap Glasses

Some people don't have big budgets for eyeglasses, so they buy affordable ones in stores.

These are the pros of buying cheap glasses:

  • They are more affordable
  • They are easily accessible online or in physical stores
  • You can increase savings through discounts

These are the cons of buying cheap glasses:

  • They can break easily
  • They can't accommodate complex prescriptions
  • They may not fit well with your face shape
  • You may not get hands-on professional help

How Much Should You Spend on Glasses?

Getting a new pair of glasses costs differently depending on where you live in the US. However, on average, it should cost around $200 to $300.

Aside from the expenses of the glasses themselves, you will also be spending on other fees. This includes:

  • Doctor's fee
  • Initial eye exam
  • Refractive vision test

These will depend on your doctor and their prices.

On average, you should spend around $300. Remember that this price can be higher if you have a more complicated prescription and decide to get branded frames.

Cost of Glasses vs. Contacts

Glasses can be more cost-effective than contact lenses. The average cost of contacts is $32 a month, which can be higher depending on the type of contacts you use.

Daily contacts are more expensive, and they can cost between $30 and $40 for 30 pairs of contacts. Monthly contacts can cost between $20 and $40.

The average cost of a new pair of glasses is $300. You won't need to replace them until your prescription changes, which can take as long as two years.

If you wear monthly contacts, you'll also need to factor in the cost of contact lens solutions and contact lens cases.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

Also Great
glasses usa logo

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

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.
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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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