Cut eye-care costs

Here are tips for buying budget-friendly frames and lenses

or BJ’s Wholesale Club. "Discount retailers are sometimes good for discounts in eyewear," says Norbeck. But she warns that you could end up overspending if you don’t know what specific product you need or how much it should cost.

"It’s better to go to an independent doctor [for an exam] than a price club," advises Dr. McMinn. He says the practitioners at discount outlets have less experience and may spend less time with their patients than those at independent firms.

Here are some other ways to reduce the costs of your eye care:
n Choose your frames carefully. VICA suggests you consider four factors-your prescription, face shape, individual coloring and lifestyle-before you purchase eyewear. This will keep you from buying the wrong pair of glasses or contacts, which means fewer trips to the eye doctor.

n Find out the costs of extra features before you get them. Scratch protected, tinted and reduced-glare lenses aren’t free! They can boost the cost of your bill by as much as $60, says Norbeck.
n Keep your old frames or purchase them from another store. You can avoid buying expensive frames by getting new lenses put in your old frames. Or consider purchasing frames at a more reasonably priced store and having the lenses replaced. Even the reading glasses sold at your local pharmacy will do just fine in most cases.
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