If you need prescription glasses but can’t afford them, you may be wondering where to turn. Fortunately, there are several organizations and programs in the United States that provide free prescription glasses to those in need.
Here are some of the best options:
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Where To Get Free Prescription Glasses
New Eyes for the Needy is a non-profit organization that provides vouchers for free glasses to those in need.
To be eligible, you must have a valid prescription and your annual income should be less than 250% of the federal poverty limit.
In addition to the voucher program, New Eyes also has an online service for prescription renewals in certain states.
Lions Club International is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping those in need.
While the organization mostly donates glasses to developing nations, local chapters can also help individuals in need of glasses.
Contact your local Lions Club to see if they can help.
OneSight is a voucher program in partnership with EssilorLuxottica that provides free prescription glasses through a Luxottica retailer such as Target Optical, Pearle Vision, and Lenscrafters.
The program is open to those who cannot afford glasses and is available in several countries, including the United States.
VSP Eyes of Hope is a program that provides gift certificates (vouchers) towards vision care and glasses through the VSP network of doctors and opticians.
To be eligible for the program, you must have income under 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, not be covered through private insurance or government program, and not have been a VSP member in the last 12 months.
Vision To Learn is a program that works with schools to provide free vision exams and eyeglasses to school children from K-12 in some states.
The program aims to eliminate vision problems as a barrier to education and has helped thousands of children across the United States.
Medicaid & State Exchange Health Plans
Medicaid and State Exchange Health Plans offer free vision care and eyeglasses for children.
The eligibility criteria vary by state and program, but children from low-income families can often receive free or low-cost vision care through these programs.
Where To Get Free or Low Cost Eye Exams
If you need a new prescription for glasses but don’t have one, there are still ways to get an eye exam for free or at a low cost. Here are some options:
This program offers free eye exams to seniors age 65 and over who are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
This program provides gift certificates (vouchers) towards vision care and glasses through the VSP network of doctors and opticians.
To be eligible for the program, the recipient must have income under 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, not be covered through private insurance or government program, and not have been a VSP member in the last 12 months.
This program provides free vision exams and eyeglasses to school children from K-12 through mobile clinics in some states.
This public health program offers no-cost exams for infants between 6-12 months.
Local Health Fairs and Clinics
Many local health fairs and clinics offer free or low-cost eye exams to those in need.
These events are often sponsored by local hospitals or non-profit organizations and are held at community centers, schools, or other public locations.
Check with your local health department or non-profit organizations to see if there are any upcoming events in your area.
Optometry schools often offer free or low-cost eye exams as part of their training programs. The exams are performed by students under the supervision of licensed optometrists.
While this option may not be available in all areas, it can be a good option for those who live near an optometry school.
A simple web search for optometry schools in your area that offer free eye exams will usually turn up available schools with this option.
Retailers That Offer Free Eye Exam with Glasses Purchase
Some eyeglass retailers such as America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses offer a free eye exam with the purchase of glasses.
While you need to pay for the glasses, the eye exam is free, which can be a good option if you need new glasses and don’t have insurance.
You can also find economical glasses at these places, so even though it’s not completely free, you’re still saving a lot more compared to other places.
Where To Get Low Cost Prescription Glasses
If you’re not eligible to receive free prescription glasses, you can still get a budget pair from some online retailers.
Depending on your prescription and frame you choose, you can even get a complete pair of Rx glasses for $15 or less.
You can get a pair of single-vision prescription glasses at Zenni Optical for about $12 all-in ($6.95 glasses + $4.95 shipping) if you choose a $6.95 frame and 1.50-index lenses without any coatings.
Hard to beat this if you can’t get a free pair of glasses. Though we’d recommend adding anti-glare coating for $4.95 if you can swing it.
Likewise, you can also get a pair of single-vision prescription glasses from EyeBuyDirect for about $12 all in ($6 glasses + $5.95 shipping). 1.50-index lenses without coatings are included.
Anti-glare coating is $6.95 extra and again recommended.