Looking for a way to keep your favorite pair of glasses and save money on new lenses? Replacing prescription lenses in your current frame is often doable, and can cost a fraction of buying an entirely new pair.
Here’s what you need to know about the costs associated with changing out your lenses — and how you can keep your old frames without breaking the bank.
- How Much Does It Cost to Replace Prescription Lenses?
- Can I Replace My Lenses Without Getting New Frames?
- Do Vision Insurance Plans Cover Replacement Lenses?
- Is It Cheaper to Get Replacements From Your Optometrist or Online?
- What Other Factors Should I Consider When Replacing Prescription Lenses?
- Where Can I Get Replacement Lenses Online?
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How Much Does It Cost to Replace Prescription Lenses?
The cost of replacing prescription lenses depends on several factors, including the lens material, your prescription type, and any additional treatments.
Generally speaking, replacing standard CR-39 plastic lenses start at around $50 per pair and can go up to a few hundred dollars for high-index lenses with various protective coatings.
Your total cost will also depend on your prescription type – single vision lenses are the least expensive, while multifocal or progressive lenses are more complicated and cost more.
Most progressive lenses range from about $150 to over $500.
Can I Replace My Lenses Without Getting New Frames?
It’s often possible to replace lenses without getting a new frame – but it depends on the frame (some designs can’t accommodate changing out lenses) – as well as your frame’s condition.
To determine if your prescription glasses are suitable for replacement lenses, inspect them closely for signs of wear and tear such as scratches or bent hinges.
Your best bet is to bring your glasses to an optical shop and ask them if your frame can be salvaged.
In most cases, an optician will be able to tell you if new lenses are a viable option for your existing frames, or whether it would be better to simply purchase a new pair of glasses altogether.
Either way, it’s important to buy lenses that are compatible with your frames to avoid potential damage or discomfort.
If you’re unsure which type of lenses to purchase, contact your eye care provider for guidance. They can help you find the right lenses for your needs and ensure a proper fit.
Do Vision Insurance Plans Cover Replacement Lenses?
Some insurance plans may cover the cost of replacing lenses. Most vision plans offer an allowance towards new glasses each year with discounts for lenses.
In most cases, eye care insurance provides coverage for frames and lenses separately.
For example, many vision plans like VSP or EyeMed will have a basic lens copay of $25, with treatments such as anti-glare or scratch-resistant coatings at an additional cost.
If you haven’t yet used your annual allowance towards new Rx glasses, you may be able to use it towards new lenses for your existing frames.
Additionally, most vision plans provide discounts when purchasing lenses or frames from participating providers, so go in-network whenever possible.
If you are covered by an insurance plan, check with your provider to determine what type of coverage and discounts you may be eligible for.
Is It Cheaper to Get Replacements From Your Optometrist or Online?
Online retailers often have lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores due to lower overhead costs.
However, you usually won’t be able to speak directly with a professional and get personalized advice about the best lens material or treatments for your prescription.
Purchasing new lenses through an eye care provider offers more comprehensive and personalized service.
For one thing, you can bring your frame in for an optician or eye doctor to determine whether your frame can even accommodate replacement lenses.
On the downside, some optical shops won’t replace lenses in an existing pair of glasses due to liability issues – they don’t want to be responsible if your frame breaks while replacing your lenses.
If you have a high or complex prescription, it’s best to have your lenses fitted and replaced by your optometrist or optical shop.
They have access to premium lenses that aren’t available online that may be worth the additional investment cost.
What Other Factors Should I Consider When Replacing Prescription Lenses?
However, this also means that they cost more out of pocket.
You should also take into account any lens coatings you want such as anti-scratch, anti-glare, and UV protection.
These treatments are typically available for an additional fee and can significantly improve the durability of your lenses.
Finally, consider the overall condition of your existing frames. Are they scratched up, bent out of shape, or missing screws?
If so, you investing in a new pair of frames is better than trying to save a few bucks now only to have your glasses fall apart on you a few months down the road.