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4 Things You Need to Know About Buying Eyewear [INFOGRAPHIC]

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There have been a lot of stories counseling Americans not to buy eyeglasses from their local eye doctor. This is not only bad from a personal health perspective but also from a personal finance perspective.

Here are some facts that everyone needs to know before choosing their specs.

1) Retail (e.g., Pearle Vision, LensCrafters) is NOT always cheaper! Independent research shows that buying glasses at an independent eye doctor is still less expensive than at many corporate retail chains…by a lot! When you add vision coverage, like VSP Vision Care to the mix (which nearly 20% of Americans have), that price is even lower.

For example, a consumer who purchases a Ray-Ban frame with progressive lenses will save $595 with VSP coverage at an independent eye doctor versus using an insurance company focused on retail store sales and purchasing glasses at LensCrafters ($746 vs. $151).

2) If you have a complex prescription, many online retailers can’t make you glasses. The little secret that most online sites don’t advertise is the fact that they only sell single vision lenses, not progressives. Or if they do sell progressives, that you  are responsible for providing your measurements. So if you have a complex prescription, need glasses to help you see at multiple distances, or are over the age of 40, the chances you won’t be seeing as clearly as you could are pretty high!

3) Beyond price, glasses need to do more than just look good. Glasses are unique in that they are the only fashionable medical device (so far!). Your glasses must be customized to you in every way to maximize their role to help you see clearly. And, while can find some great values online, your eye doctor should, and must, play a critical role in helping you select the best frame and lenses that are right for your individual needs. Just a few things your eye doctor and their staff ensure:

  • Up-to-date prescription: Your eye doctor will make sure your prescription hasn’t changed and your eyes are healthy through a comprehensive eye exam before picking out your new style. This is especially critical for young children whose eyesight can change regularly. Glasses with the wrong prescription don’t help you see!
  • Lens enhancements: Lenses may seem like an afterthought, but the right ones can make a big difference. Today’s digital lens technology is more affordable than ever  before, especially with vision insurance, and makes a huge difference in helping you to see your best. Your eye doctor and their staff are a great resource to learn about specialized lenses and coatings to fit and enhance your personal lifestyle needs.
  • Measured to fit your face: Measurements are essential to ensure that your prescription works for you. Because your face is unique so are the way your lenses fit your frames! Your eye doctor and their staff will take your personal measurements to ensure that once your new frames are in hand, they fit your face properly and not only look good on you but help you see.

4) Buying discounted frames online may cost you money in the long run. If you find a deal that is too good to be true online, it probably is. Extremely discounted designer and brand name glasses sold online are usually done so through a “gray market,” which is unofficial, unauthorized or unintended sales by the original manufacturer. This is important to know because, if these glasses malfunction, you may not have an option to get them fixed under warranty. If you purchase through your eye doctor, you have the confidence in their direct relationship with the frame manufacturer.

This is a guest post from VSP Vision Care President Jim McGrann.

Consumer Reports Infographic

96 Comments

  • Marcos says:

    David, this was a response you provided….Thank you for the feedback. We’re always looking for ways to better meet the needs of our members. In the meantime, I would like to share that 25% of glasses made at online retailers are actually incorrect. And while most of them are still decent prescriptions, you won’t see your best without an accurate prescription. This statement is indicative of an insurance salesman or a person who accepts VSP`S. You have many satified customers who don’t like being taken for a ride and truely are feed up of being told to take more money out their pockets to pay these ridiculous prices for standard lenses and frames. They have an option now to draw a line in the sand. So your knock of the online retailers getting the glasses wrong was not right. You should play nice and not critize. There’s enough money to go around.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Marcos, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re right on my tone. I should have worded it differently to not sound antagonistic. I agree with your comments and there certainly are online retailers who are providing quality products. However, there are many who are not and whose products have posed safety concerns in recent years. The figures I noted were based on third-party research unaffiliated with VSP. I believe the link to the research is in that same thread and helps clarify comments and potential concerns. Let me see if I can track the link down and repost in another reply. -David, VSP

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  • Danielle says:

    My son just got new glasses and is having a hard time seeing out of one side. Could the prescription be wrong? Will we have to pay for another checkup and new frames if there is a problem?

    • Tracy T. says:

      Hi Danielle – it’s best to check with your doctor’s office. Each one may have varying return policies, but typically it shouldn’t be a problem to go in and exchange the glasses if the prescription isn’t right. Good luck! -Tracy, VSP

  • RH says:

    Can you please clarify VSP’s coverage for frames and lenses at a place like Warby Parker? The frames are reasonably priced, but transitional lenses are pricey. If I were to order progressive lenses, about how much would VSN cover?

    • Tracy T. says:

      Hi there – great question. It all depends on if your plan covers out-of-network benefits. Check out your specific plan’s benefits by logging on at vsp.com or give us a call at 800.877.7195. If you do have OON coverage, you can use it at places like WP; you’ll just need to submit a reimbursement form. -Tracy, VSP

      • Tyler says:

        I do have VSP OON coverage. However, there are separate coverages for the frames and lenses (70 for frame, and 50 for single-vision lenses). Warby Parkers don’t seem to be itemized like this and instead are sold as a “package”, $95 for both frame and lenses. The OON coverage makes me think it would cover $120 for frame+lenses, so it seems like these should be fully reimbursed. Is that true? Is that how other Warby Parker claims have been processed? Thank you.

      • David C. says:

        Hi Tyler, so long as there is an itemized receipt to show how much each costs, it shouldn’t be an issue. To be safe, you may want to give customer service a call to determine exactly what would be required. 800.877.7195 -David, VSP

  • Ray Ban 3025 says:

    How do our customers benefit?

  • Ang says:

    Before I had VSP insurance, I had my yearly eye exam done (which I paid in full for). I am interested in purchasing contact lenses but everywhere I go to compare prices… its still a lot of money. I was advised to try COSTCO stores. My question is: Is costco an approved retailer? or are they consider out of network… and I dont mean for eye exam but only to purchase contacts or glasses.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Angela, it depends on your plan. Give member services a call and we can tell you if you have benefits that can used at Costco. 800.877.7195 -David, VSP

  • Olga says:

    I had a question…I received my glasses almost a week ago and I felt my eyesight weird when first tried them on. I was told to wait up to a week to adjust. I notice my left eyes prescription isn’t correct and am calling tomorrow to see what will be done. But my question is this…If I am unhappy with the frame I chose and want a different one and higher in price…can I switch or is it just too late?

    • Tracy T. says:

      Hi Olga – You’ll have to check with your provider based on his or her return/exchange policies. Good luck! -Tracy, VSP

  • Ciel says:

    Every time we ask about better selection, better service, better prices, the VSP rep just tells us to check the website or call the 1-800 phone number, as if we hadn’t thought of that ourselves. If this is the best VSP can respond to legitimate customer concerns, I’m done. I’m looking forward to next open season when I can pull the plug on my VSP plan.

    • Tracy T. says:

      Hi Ciel – I’m sorry to hear this. We definitely want you to have the best experience possible. I’m happy to personally look into any questions you have. Would you mind sending me an email at prteam@vsp.com? Thanks, Tracy from VSP

  • Strategerizer says:

    I’ve been with VSP for a couple of years and am starting to understand how misaligned VSP is with patient interest – it seems mainly to satisfy the private practice interests. It is unfortunate and likely not a sustainable business model (I hope).

    Why are the benefits so low for out-of-network providers or why are you not including places such as Costco Optical. They provide same service but at more competitive prices. Why support private practice and the Luxottica monopoly? Why not take the fat out of the system? Encourage and build relationships with the providers that give us – the patients – the most value?

    The way it currently stands it looks like VSP is set up to only provide discounts on services and products that are more inflated than the rest of the market. I can get a better product/service at Costco and pay less out-of-pocket than going to private practice doctors with VSP benefits.

    PLEASE, as an insurance provider, align your interests with the patients. Otherwise VSP may not be anything more than a marketing agent and in the long term benefits brokers may fight back.

    • Tracy T. says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback. At 65 million members strong, we strive to put members first by connecting them with high-quality, affordable eye care. We are proud to provide the lowest out-of-pocket costs in vision. Most of the 30,000 providers on our network are small-business owners, and we do in fact offer plans that include retail partners such as Costco. We are not affiliated with Luxottica.

      If you are looking to get the most out of your benefits, I suggest giving us a call at 800.877.7195 before you visit your doctor next, and someone can walk you through your specific plan to help you find the best savings options.

  • KR says:

    I am looking for smaller aviator sunglasses with a prescription. I’ve seen Maui Jims in my eye doctors’s display — but was told that my VSP insurance can’t be used for the prescription lenses because Maui Jim does their own lenses, so the doctor’s office can’t send the frames to their usual lab. Is this accurate? Do I have any options for using my insurance for these lenses? Can’t I just choose to put normal prescription lenses into a Maui Jim frame?

    • David C. says:

      Hi KR, that’s a great question. MJ does have a lens requirement but you should be able to use your benefit for it. Let’s take a look at your specific benefits and we can help you get the most value. 800.877.7195. David from VSP

      • Pam A. says:

        David, is it possible to cancel my order of prescription glasses once they reach VSP? the optometry place said it would only take 2 weeks for them to come in and 2.5 weeks later they say it will be 3 weeks. it’s frustrating because i spent almost 400 dollars on the one pair.

      • David C. says:

        Hi Pam, once the order is placed you don’t have much time to cancel it. However, you can call customer service and explain to them your frustration and see if they are able to do anything to help. We try to correct things when possible. -David, VSP

  • Chris Valdez says:

    Please add Warby Parker to the list of approved vendors. No reason to pay more than $100 for eyewear. This industry is a hustle.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Chris. Thank you for the feedback. We’re always looking for ways to better meet the needs of our members. In the meantime, I would like to share that 25% of glasses made at online retailers are actually incorrect. And while most of them are still decent prescriptions, you won’t see your best without an accurate prescription.

    • merry says:

      I agree -please add warby parker to your approved vendors or at least amend your reimbursement policy for purchases through WP. I find my VSP benefits less and less useable – less and less of a benefit. In terms of incorrect lens from on-line providers I have had no trouble with on line purchases – But I have had a very expensive experience having to get a new exam and new glasses after a VSP Dr. gave me the wrong contact lens prescription two times in a row – the cost was 6 months worth of bi-focal contact lens that were incorrect and then $160 more to get a new exam from another eye doctor. Giving them a third try to get it right was not an option. I have a simple prescription and the price and ease of Warby Parker can’t be beat. TO only reimburse for the frame because they do not break out the lens as a separate cost is ridiculous.

      • David C. says:

        Hi Merry, please give us a call about your contact lens exam issues–that is not in line with the experience you should be getting as a VSP member. Unfortunately, we can’t add WP to the network because they are a competitor, but we are hoping to have new online solutions soon. -David, VSP

  • leonardo says:

    Vsp saved our family almost a thousand dollars for our glasses. And we saw an opthomolgist( forgive spelling still somewhat displayed.) We’re very satisfied.

  • Vicki says:

    I visited a local VSP network doctor yesterday and I felt very pressured to pick and purchase glasses. I am not happy with my choice or purchase and feel that with the high coverage I have I couldve gone elsewhere and gotten glasses I like at a much more reasonable price. I want to return tomorrow and cancel my order, is it possible? and if so, how long will it take for my benefits to reset so I can use the allowance at another vsp network provider location?

    • David C. says:

      Hi Vicki, can you give us a call at member services? We’d like to get a little bit more detail on your situation and try to make things right. Give us a call at 800.877.7195 and explain to the representative as you have in your comment above. -David, VSP

  • Sallie says:

    AAre frames and lenses from Warby Parker covered by VSP?

    • David C. says:

      Hi Sallie,

      WP frames may be covered as an out-of-network benefit under your plan, but give Member Services a call to make sure. I should note that the reimbursement is much lower for out-of-network services, so I would recommend searching on vsp.com for a doctor near you who has all the frame options you want. In fact, you get a larger frame allowance this year for choosing the preferred designer brands we have listed on our doctor search. -David, VSP

      • Judith says:

        David,
        Cutting straight to the point I’m trying to make: the style(s) I like are simply not available through VSP providers. It looked to me as if the brands and styles covered by VSP are targeted for an older market. The styles I was looking for are made by Warby Parker or 7 For All Mankind, etc. I checked VSP.com (repeatedly) for other providers, I pored over the catalog of brands and frames on the VSP.com website (repeatedly), and I visited the offices of local providers in person. It’s pointless for me to keep paying premiums for vision insurance that does not meet my needs. I won’t renew.

      • David C. says:

        Hi Judith, I’m sorry your experience has not been positive. We try to appeal to all age ranges and offer more than 25 designer brands, each featuring dozens of different styles. Unfortunately, no VSP doctors carry WP or 7FAMK because of minimal quality standards many online glasses do not meet. I’d be happy to discuss your out of network benefits if you would really like to use your benefits for these online glasses. Just give our Member Services team a call and we can provide you with how much your out-of-network benefits will be. We can even go over how to quickly fill out a reimbursement form and send it in. -David from VSP

  • cb says:

    Hello, what if the I do not like the selection frames that the independent eye doctors carry?
    thanks

    • David C. says:

      Hi Cb, great questions. Selection does vary by doctor, but you can search on vsp.com for a doctor that carries the preferred brands of your choice. You even get an extra frame allowance for choosing one of these designers! -David, VSP

      • Judith says:

        I was not able to find the style or brands (Ray-Ban or 7 For All Mankind) I wanted at any of the local VSP providers. I had to purchase eyeglasses elsewhere. Very disappointed.

      • David C. says:

        Hi Judith, I’m sorry to hear you’re having difficulty finding a frame you like. Our 30,000 doctors each maintain their own frame inventory, so it varies from practice to practice. This year members get a larger frame allowance for preferred brands listed on our doctor directory. We hope you take advantage of those, but if you’ve already made your purchase, please feel free to reach out for any help needed when filing a reimbursement request (if allowed by your specific plan). _David from VSP

  • Jeanette Collinsworth says:

    Up until approximately 8 years ago, I had reasonable good distance vision. My farsightedness allowed me to read signs from a long distance. Then gradually I noticed when I looked across the sanctuary a church or across the office, I couldn’t see faces clearly and everything was quite hazy. My husband and I both went to have our retinas checked and the doctor told me my retina was fine but I had a problem with my cornea. He sent me to a cornea specialist and I found out that I have Fuch’s Corneal Dystrophy. I guess that explains the hazy vision I started experiencing. I have been wearing progressive bifocals for about 10 years and now I find that I really have difficulty reading, even though my lenses are set according to my prescription which has not changed for the past two years. Is it possible for me to improve my prescription so that I can read books and street signs?

    • David C. says:

      Hi Jeanette, since your condition is medical, I would refer you to your doctor for the best advice on success you would have with digital progressive lenses. However, you can certainly ask if it would make a difference for your situation, and it very well may. -David, VSP

  • Matthew Mabey says:

    This video and article have caused me to realize that part of VSP’s business model must be to act as a cheerleader for independent eye care businesses. What I’m still trying to figure out is what the financial incentives for VSP and the eye care businesses are.
    The notion that the eye wear will ever be cheaper at an independent eye care business is just plain ludicrous. I can either get the same thing, but cheaper, at a big-name retailer; or I can get a lot more for my money at the big-name retailer. I keep retrying using the independent eye care businesses for the actual eye wear, but every time I get the same result: a big hole in my budget for an equal or inferior product. The big-name retailers are usually saving VSP money too!
    What is VSP’s incentive to push the more expensive (apparently to both VSP and their customers) option? Please be straight with me.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Matthew, we do have the largest network of private practice doctors, but we are a not-for-profit organization. Although markets do vary and we don’t set prices at any provider locations, it is often much cheaper to use your VSP benefits at an in-network provider than to pay out of pocket at a retail store (out of network). If you feel you’re not coming out ahead with insurance, I might suggest doing a little price comparing with doctors in your neighborhood. You can even search on VSP.com to find doctors that offer extra incentives and preferred frame brands to help you get the most bang for your buck. I hope that is helpful. -David, VSP

  • Connie says:

    We’ve had VSP for several years now and always go to an independent/private doctor. We’re extremely pleased with the quality of service and glasses (frames & lenses). With the $150 frame allowance, we typically only pay 40-50 out of pocket, including our exam co-pay. Our doctor makes recommendations based on the results of our exam and our lifestyle. We have VSP high, and the higher premiums are worth the coverage.

  • Jon says:

    Not all VSP doctors measure your eyes. They don’t even specific the correct length of the side to your ear. I usually have to tell them to lower bifocal point. They just take a frame and bend it around your ear. I only found one good optometrist but he is dead. No luck with others. The assistants do the work.

  • david chapman says:

    I have used a VSP doctor more than once and had mixed results. At 6’3″ when I received my progressive lenses I was convinced that the prescriptions were off causing me to tilt my head down while driving to see signs in the distance. I brought the glasses back and even though I asked them if they could remake the lenses with the distance prescription extended a tad lower-was told that’s the way they were-they had made no mistake in measuring. I am wondering if any other tall people feel the same-as if we look through a different portion of the lens and therefore that should be taken into consideration. As an aside-I was not given a refund of the difference in cost between the progressive and standard single prescription (distance) lenses.

    • David C. says:

      Hi David, a challenge with some progressive lenses can be adapting to them. UNITY progressive lenses boast some of the highest adaptation rates in the industry. The lenses you got may have had a warranty or guarantee. If you have the details of your prescription and it was recent, I would encourage you to give us a call at 800.877.7195 to see if you qualify for any sort or reimbursement. -David, VSP

  • Judith C says:

    The “independent” doctor offices in your listings seem all to carry the same brands of designer lenses. I’ve looked at all of their catalogs and I haven’t seen anything I like nearly as much as online retailers like Warby Parker. I don’t know how the quality compares, though.

    I’ve had bad fittings on the last two pairs of eyeglasses purchased at my independent doctor’s office. The staff who assisted me when choosing and measuring frames did not listen to me when I tried to tell them that I wear my glasses lower on my face than they thought I should. (In fact, I was actually told how I *should* wear them, even as I was explaining that they are uncomfortable to me that way.) They measured and ordered the glasses according to what they thought best, apparently, because I must tilt my head up & back to see my computer screen out of my multi-focus lenses.

    VPS has saved me lots of money but I also have two pairs of glasses I don’t like and can’t wear.

    Obviously, I won’t go back to that office. And I don’t know where to go, or whom to trust, for good quality lenses that fit correctly and in a style I like.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Judith, you can find a different doctor near you by visiting vsp.com. The study you referenced looked for frames that were available to retail chains and independent practices–an apples to apples comparison, but please note that frame selection does vary by each practice. Please feel free to call us with any questions you have or if you need help finding a doctor near you: 800.877.7195. -David, VSP

  • Dawna says:

    I’m confused, I have single lenses so maybe thats the difference. When I ask my Dr. for my Rx I request that I also receive the pd or measurements that are needed so that I can get a good fit when I order new glasses. I have never paid more than $30 for on line glasses but have paid $150 for them from the Dr with VSP I felt the Dr’s office was ripping me off but now I’m wondering if VSP is trying to get me to buy more expensive for no or little reason? By the way there reason I bought glasses at the Dr this last time was that we just changed to VSP and the new Dr charges extra for the measurements. I thought it might make a difference but my new glasses are not any better than the online glasses.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Dawna, it is a bit easier with single vision lenses, but keeping the eye doctor involved helps ensure the glasses fit your face and that the lenses are not only correct, but also fit you well and are safe (shatter resistant). Purchasing from less reputable online retailers can compromise any or all of these areas. -David, VSP

  • Constance says:

    My perscription is high, but not complex, and I’ve had great success with buying utilitarian computer task and music reading glasses from online – they are cheesy, oversized, and a little thick, but the optics are fine and I love having different pairs for different tasks – there is no way I could afford this solution through a brick&mortar store. I wouldn’t buy progressives online, but then they aren’t always the best choice for functionality anyway. My Optician is happy to check my cheap chinese glasses for me, because I buy my european fashion frames with the way pricey progressives lenses from her.

  • michael says:

    I’m all for an independent Doc. I went to Walmart two years ago and kept relling them the prescriotion was wrong. They kept saying u just need wear them longer. I’m a nuclear inspector. My eye sight is critical. I took to wearing readibg gkasses for inspections. January I can get new glasses. I will be seeking a new doc.

  • Mike says:

    I know my collarsize (16.5) shoe size (9) chest (42), hat size (7.5). Why is an optician needed to measure the distance between your pupils? Get a ruler, measure yourself, order online and save $$$$ HUNDREDS

    • David C. says:

      Hi Mike, although the distance you reference is very precise, it can in fact be done by yourself. However, in most cases, the lenses sold online are plastic and use old technology (a one-size-fits-all approach). Today’s digital lenses take many more precise measurements unavailable from online retailers. Some of those measurements include how the lenses sit in the frame you choose and how that frame fits your face. You can absolutely get by with the older technology and rough estimates for PD, but your vision will be no where near as precise as getting those advanced measurements. Think of it like buying a suit of the rack or having that suit tailored to you, which one would fit better? -David, VSP

  • Barbara Casteel says:

    I have VSP through my work, plus I use the VA for eye exams. After my exam, I take my script to their authorized vendor, who sends it out to an outside facility for the glasses to be made. Can I also use VSP for the part that the VA doesn’t pay for?

  • Brent McDonald says:

    I just found out different… First I purchased my new frames and the best lenses possible at a private company (VisionWorks). I was getting anti-glare, progressive and transition lenses which were also supposed to be digital; I had asked about Unity lenses, and was told that these’digital’ lenses were better.
    Only a couple days later a friend suggested that I check out Costco so I did. I found out that I could get their best lenses and their most expensive frames for $110.00 cheaper than what I was going to pay at the private co. Thankfully I was able to cancel my order.
    It does pay to shop around!

    • David C. says:

      Hi Brent, were you able to get digital lenses? I’d recommend getting a detailed description of the products so you can do a true apples to apples comparison. For example, sometimes retailers offer discontinued frames at a lower price and plastic lenses, etc. -David, VSP

  • Rocco says:

    $151.00 progressive lenses and Rayban frames. I don’t believe it. I go to Rosin’s Eye Care in Cicero, Il, who is in the network and I pay over $400.00. Where can I go next time to pay $151.00?

    • David C. says:

      Hi Rocco, if you feel inclined to shop around to maximize your benefits, we have 30,000 doctors in our vsp.com doctor directory. You can even search by featured brands. -David, VSP

  • All of this information is very helpful and great advice
    I do all of the above
    Nice to know I’m doing the right things.

    Thank you

  • Esteven says:

    I have VSP insurance and have been buying my glasses from the Independent Doctor that I see. I recently stopped at the eye center at a national retailer to compare the price of glasses and frame (I have progressive lenses). The estimated cost of lenses and glasses at the retailer was about 10% less than what I paid at my Doctor. With the cost of the insurance added to the cost I paid for the glasses and lenses I would have saved a considerable amount of money. Even adding the cost of eye exam, I would have saved alot of money. AND, I am much more happy with the adjustments made by the retailer. At the doctors office I feel the sales people are more interested in selling and not so much concerned with the fit of the glasses. They are telling me what I want in style and lense shape (trying to get me to wear what is current and not what I want in frames). I am currently looking into changing doctors. I may even cancel my insurance and just pay for everything myself. (I have a friend at VSP and they say my plan at my cost is a very good deal). My point is that sometimes the doctor you see and the services offered are not the best for everyone.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Esteven, prices will vary from location, but here are a couple things you can check to help make sure you get the best value: Brand name on the frame, material of the lenses, and if the lenses are digital (this makes a really big difference for progressive-wearers). You can also search for other doctors at vsp.com if you’d like to explore other in-network locations near you. -David, VSP

  • John D. says:

    The cheap labs that these independent eye doctors are forced to use to keep costs down are the real problem. 5-15% off every time. Had to have lenses recut two times and still not right, but original eye doctor no longer in this plan. I never have these issues with the larger retailers.

    • David C. says:

      Hi John, thanks for the feedback. Many doctors choose their own labs, but we do recognize the importance of getting lenses right the first time and offer a network of the highest-tech labs for our doctors to use if they choose. -David, VSP

  • Sarah says:

    Sounds like a crock to me. Who charges nearly $800 for a pair of glasses after the insurance pays their part? I got 2 pair of designer frames (one with a special bifocal prescription, and after my insurance I only had to pay less than $300.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Sarah, designer frames do range from less than 100 to more than $1000, so that could be one issue. Feel free to give us a call with your specific needs so we can help you get the most out of your benefits for the lowest possible out of pocket costs. -David, VSP

  • Jude says:

    Your points are valid and I agree, for the most part. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the local optometrists here have a small selection of expensive designer frames. They are too ornate for my taste, or have some little detail meant to set them apart (I guess) but which doesn’t appeal to me. Ideally, I’d like a marriage of well-made, professionally fitted lenses with a better choice of frames. A person can hope.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Jude, thanks for the feedback. Selection does vary from practice to practice. Please feel encouraged to check out other locations near you by searching on VSP.com -David, VSP

      • Bobby says:

        David: Can you explain why my VSP plan allows for a $130 frame in-network but drops it all the way down to only $70 out-of-network? Common sense would seem to dictate that VSP is creating inflationary pricing in-network but I wanted to hear the official reply.
        Also, besides completing the VSP remimbursement form, what do I need to provide VSP in order to receive reimbursement after buying frames outside of the network? For children, what is the minimum reading lens strength required to be placed in the new frames in order to qualify as a valid lens and frame for reimbursement (up to the benefit limit)? Thank you, Bobby

      • David C. says:

        Hi Bobby, we’re able to leverage our supply chain to provide you with the best discounts within our network. Processing claims outside of our network is substantially more expensive, which is why the benefit is less. Of course you may use your benefits anywhere (if your plan allows for that), but there is a reduction to accommodate that pricing difference. Also, just to clarify, we don’t set prices for doctor offices. Your coverage helps determine the maximum you’ll have to pay, but we don’t create the price points at our 30,000 doctor locations.

        For your reimbursement form, you just have to fill it out, send it and include itemized receipts. We’ll take care of it from there. I’m not sure I understand your last question about children’s frames. They do need to be prescription, but your doctor would determine the appropriate corrective needs. -David, VSP

  • Beth says:

    I’m confused. The study compares the cost of the same pair of glasses purchased with VSP coverage at a local eye doctor, vs. glasses purchased with “other” coverage at LensCrafters. Isn’t the appropriate comparison the cost of two sets of glasses purchased with VSP at two separate retailers (local eye doc vs. LensCrafters/Costco/Warby Parker/whatever retailer you like)?

  • Gwen Minnier says:

    Wow, I want to know where the person who save $595 went for glasses. At my independent retailer, I can maybe save $200 so I can still get my glasses cheaper at JCPenneys. Are there different levels of VSP coverage because I have never saved anything close to $400 on a pair of glasses.

    • David C. says:

      Hi Gwen, coverage does vary by company. This example also focuses on progressive lenses, which are more expensive than traditional lenses (regardless of location of purchase). -David, VSP

  • Tracy says:

    I understand getting an exam yearly, but you can take the updated prescription info from your doctor and go to lens crafters and get your glasses for half the price. Private practices just charge too much, there’s no reason we should still be paying $500 + for frames and lenses when you can get the same thing at Lens crafters or even WalMart for $250 or less. I’m not talking about designer frames either. Plus my experience has been the person helping me at the dr wasn’t qualified to fit the frames anyway.

  • Allson says:

    What about purchasing through sites like zennioptical.com? I’ve been purchasing my glasses through them for several years now and have not noticed any trouble. Sometimes the glasses fit too big on my face but I just kept that in mind when I put in my next order. Is there anything wrong with using retailers like this? I am just getting generic frames with standard corrective lenses…. no need for ray bans or any other name brand designer here…

  • hugh devlin says:

    VSP didn’t work for me for correctives lens @ Sears & Fred Meyers, who are on the perferred providers list, I don’t know what to do about that?

  • Jennifer says:

    The only issue I have is that the VSP provider jacks up the price of the frames that you can find at other places like Pearl Vision and Lens Crafters for cheaper. If they didn’t jack up the prices it would be a good deal, but not when I can buy the frames for $90.00 less and get a certificate that they are real somewhere else.When I get my Gucci glasses from VSP I didn’t get a certificate that they were real, nor did I receive a Gucci case for them (they said they didn’t have one at the time). Also, the selection is not very good at the VSP providers I’ve been to.
    Then I find out that I can’t just buy my frames at VSP, I also need to get the lens at the same time or I won’t receive the discount. So if you like a frame, you can’t buy an extra frame at the same time. If I bring my own frames in, they won’t put lens in them. Personally I don’t see the advantage of having this provider. All of the VSP providers near me have all been super rude and I’ve been forced to use them. Very unhappy with VSP. I won’t be signing up for this so called ‘benefit’ next year.

  • Mike says:

    Seems like most of this information is bogus. I just bought progressive lens for my racquetball glasses and received a $25 payment from the eye coverage. The reason? We got you a discount of $65 (which the provider gives) and those were DELUXE lenses, not standard lenses. After 20 minutes on the phone with a representative, I was brow beat to the realization the eye plan will pay more on OUT DATED technology than they will to help buy current best technology. VERY DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!!! I paid $365 in monthly premiums and $200 co-pay on a set of $300 lenses. RIP OFF! Will drop the eye plan in the future

  • [...] are up-to- date prescriptions, lens options, and precise measurements so the glasses fit your face. VSP’s Infographic explains exactly what you need to know before buying [...]

  • carla hoffman says:

    This is perfect and a need to know Up-to-date prescription: Your eye doctor will make sure your prescription hasn’t changed and your eyes are healthy through a comprehensive eye exam before picking out your new style. This is especially critical for young children whose eyesight can change regularly. Glasses with the wrong prescription don’t help you see!

  • Nikki H says:

    Even if you think you see clerly, always get your annual eye exams.

  • Lisa s says:

    I only buy from independent doctors….the quality of the lenses are far superior, especially progressive, transitions, and crizal lense treatment.

  • J says:

    That’s a joke seeing how they use ray bans as an example. I’m buying Maui jims for the quality and look so I’m not buying prescription which is way cheaper than buying from a private .

    • David C. says:

      Hi Dolejoriginal, the price comparison was based on popular prescription frames available at both retail and private practices. -David, VSP

    • Jim says:

      Maui Jim sets the retail price of their sunglasses. Any retailer, private or corporate, has a contract that stipulates they will not discount Maui Jim sunwear. Anyone selling for less is violating that contract and will not be selling them for long. They will also have no warranty support.

  • judith wyman says:

    wanting info about vsp please.

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