(Closed) Vision Insurance and Eye Doctors

posted 7 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
Hostess
18646 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I would try going someplace like Walmart.  I went there when I didn’t have insurance and it was pretty cheap for the exam.  Unfortunately, the glasses will probably be a few hundred if you don’t get any extras.  I think you need to go to the doctor, you can be causing a lot of eye strain by having the wrong prescription.

Post # 4
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

Usually insurance doesn’t cover much in the way of eye exams anyway. I have worn glasses since I was 7 and contacts since I was 12, so I am very well-versed in the land of eye doctors. Some things to know: 

The price for an eye exam includes only the price for a glasses eye exam. If you want contacts too, they will charge you for a contact lens fitting, which is usually the same price as the glasses exam or sometimes even more. The contacts price is not usually advertised, so be sure to ask before you sign up if you’re getting this. You can get an exam for just glasses, but to get one for contacts you have to get the glasses and contacts exams both. Check around for specials at vision chains and places like Walmart; a glasses-only exam can be had for $50-$75 on average I’d say if you are a bargain shopper.   

Second, you are under no obligation to buy glasses or contacts from the eye doctor, and they must give you a copy of your prescription if you ask for it. If you have a lower prescription, you can buy glasses from internet websites for very affordable prices. My husband has pairs from http://www.39dollarglasses.com that turned out very well. He paid about $65 total for their standard polycarbonate high-index lenses (thinner than run of the mill plastic lenses) and an extra of anti-glare coating. (You absolutely want to get anti-glare coating—it prevents headaches and improves vision, especially if you use glasses while working at the computer or watching TV.) Usually stores will try to lure you in with the promise of a cheaper eye exam and then charge you a huge markup on the glasses. If you tell them you plan to get the glasses online, you may be able to get them to price match—you never know. 

I’d get a new exam and a new pair of glasses rather than try to repair the old ones. After a few years the finishes they put on the lenses start to deteriorate and chip off, so their lifetime is limited anyway. Wearing glasses with the right prescription is important to keep you from getting eye strain, too. 

Good luck! 

 

Post # 5
Member
659 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

insurance specifically for vision is a bit of a rip off IMO.  Where you get some money back is a flex spending/health savings account. If you have one of those (or are able to during open season), I recommend it – It helps me with my contacts and my annual fitting (which is annoying, I get the same lenses every year!!!)

Post # 6
Member
1418 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I am up in Canada, but this may still be helpful!  My eye doctor charges $75(ish) for the eye exam.  I get my glasses and contacts at Costco – if you buy your contacts at Costco, the contact fitting appointment does not cost extra (it’s just the cost of contacts).  Glasses can be a few hundred dollars, but that depends on what frames you choose.  If your current frames are still in good shape, you could just get new lenses, which would be cheaper.  I think the last time I did this, the lenses with the coating on them were around $100, as opposed to several hundred dollars more for new frames.  That was for standard lenses though – no bifocal or anything more advanced.

I would recommend getting your eyes checked though.  You don’t want to strain them and cause more problems for yourself in the future!

Post # 7
Hostess
18646 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

@jindc: Oh I agree about the FSA!  We love ours!

Post # 8
Member
2090 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I do have vision insurance, but its craptacular and I *love* my eye doctor, so I pay out of pocket. I just had an eye exam a couple months ago and I paid $125 (additional $75 for contact lens fitting).

If you have a BJ’s near you, I got my old glasses there, and they were pretty cheap (can’t remember how much, it was a few years ago, but cheaper than I thought they would be).

Post # 9
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

go to an eyeglass chain that runs promotions (like an eye exam and 2 pairs of glasses for $99). you’ll end up paying more than the advertised price for upgraded lenses or better frames, but it’s still pretty affordable.

Post # 10
Member
439 posts
Helper bee

I got an eye exam and a pair of glasses at Walmart for under $100 (I got the cheapie $9 frames, which were cute enough).  I only needed glasses, though.  If you need contacts, it’s a bit more.

Oh, and prescriptions are only good for 2 years, so you’ll probably need to get an exam.

Post # 11
Member
6 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I’m in optometry school and have worked in optometry offices for almost 5 years. First, if your glasses lens is scratched, there’s really nothing you can do to make the scratch go away or “repair” the lens–your only option would be to get the lens replaced. If you bring your glasses to an eye doctor’s office or Lenscrafters, etc, they can read the prescription of the lenses, but by law, are not allowed to make you new lenses without a valid prescription from an eye doctor. If you’re trying to avoid having an eye exam and really feel confident that your eyes are doing fine with your glasses (minus the scratch!), then you could bring your glasses in and ask the optician what the prescription is.

There are a few websites you can order glasses from, like chelseamorning pointed out above, that don’t check with doctor’s office on prescriptions, and you can just enter in the prescription you had read off of your current glasses. Our insurance covers vision, but my fiance wanted to use the benefits for contact lenses, so he has gotten ~$23 glasses from http://www.zennioptical.com with a sturdy frame and the antireflective (anti-glare and anti-scratch) coating on the lenses. Of course, you can get even cheaper glasses than that without special coatings.

You mentioned your contact lenses as well–for what it’s worth, the expiration date on contact lenses only refers to the solution that they’re stored in. Honestly, if you just disinfected the lenses overnight in multipurpose solution/hydrogen peroxide solution/whatever you use to clean your lenses, they would be fine to wear.

All that being said, if you had issues focusing in the past, it may be best for you to have an eye exam just to make sure your eye muscles are still doing okay, and you’re not harming your eyes by wearing an old prescription. You mentioned going to an ophthalmologist before–if you have medical insurance, you may be able to have an eye exam covered by that policy. Last summer, I worked in an ophthalmology office where patients with medical insurance would pay their medical copay, and pay an additional fee for the refraction (process that determines your glasses prescription) or a contact lens fitting exam (as several others have also mentioned). For glasses only, (and this was in Atlanta) the refraction fee was $39, and the contact lens fitting fees ranged from $50-125, depending on the complexity of your contact lenses and prescription.

If you don’t have medical insurance, or your copay is pretty high, you could also try calling a few offices in your area and asking what they charge. Most offices have a no-insurance rate that may be cheaper than you think, as they’re hurting from the economy as well, and want your business! Otherwise, as others have mentioned, there are usually specials you can find in the mall optometry offices, or at Target, WalMart, etc.

Hope this wasn’t too much info–I just got so excited seeing a vision related post! Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with, and good luck! 🙂

Post # 13
Member
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

@KLP the puff test is for glaucoma. Lots of the little tests you probably remember from going to the eye doctor, including that one, are considered part of the eye exam and don’t cost an extra fee. The doctor’s office should be able to explain what is included in the price, but it might be more than you think! 

Post # 14
Member
169 posts
Blushing bee

I have vision insurance but just go to Lens Crafter’s for my appointments/glasses. My appointment without insurance is $60 (+ $50 when I get the 3D eye scan which I think is just a ploy for more money..). It gets bumped down to $10 with my insurance.

Because I have insurance I can’t use Lens Crafter’s 50% off deal but they run them all the time. I think with my frames (D&G so a little pricey), and lenses (I get the lightweight, scratch proof, non glare) it costs around $450 without insurance? It goes way down with insurance.

Post # 15
Member
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

If this is any reassurance… My husband was really hesistant about going to Walmart for his vision check/glasses, but it turned out to be a great experience.  When he needed new contacts a year later, he went back to the same store and the same optometrist was still there.  They were just as professional, etc. as any other place that he or I have been to for our vision. 

Post # 16
Member
13101 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’m shocked so many people are saying the their vision insurance doesn’t do them any good!  I have to pay about 70 cents every two weeks for my vision insurance and it covers one exam in full every calander year and covers either a years worth of contacts or a new pair of glasses (frames and lenses) every calendar year.

So for just over $18 a year a get an exam and either new glasses or contacts!  It would be stupid for me to not carry my vision insurance as I’d pay way more without it.

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