How Much Do Glasses Cost Without Insurance?

Posted by Bridget Reed on

The average lifespan of a decent pair of eyeglasses is usually between one to three years. Yours, however, are definitely going to break or need replacing before the three-year mark, and usually around the holidays, when expenses are higher than normal. 

Sound familiar? Eyewear is pricey, and if your healthcare plan doesn’t include vision insurance, you could be facing a serious out-of-pocket expense just to protect your eye health with prescription eyeglasses. In addition to new frames and lenses, you’ll also need an eye exam. Some retailers may offer a free eye exam, provided you buy your new eyewear or contact lenses from them. 

The cost of a pair of glasses doesn’t include protective eyewear either, and everyone should have at least one pair of safety glasses to keep their eyes safe. If you’re hearing the cha-ching of a cash register in your head and wondering how you’re going to afford all this, you’re not alone. 

Approximately 50% of the U.S. population does not have vision insurance plans alongside their health insurance, leaving many of us scratching our heads and contemplating selling plasma to afford the prescription lenses we need.

Never fear: Stoggles is here! Your team of eye care experts has all the information you need to make smart, affordable choices the next time you need to replace your glasses. We’ll also help you learn how to get the prescription safety eyewear you need at a price you can afford (while keeping all of your bodily fluids safely inside your body).

Adding It Up: The Average Cost of Vision Impairment

Whether you’ve been wearing glasses since you were a child or just discovered that your vision is faltering, you know you need glasses to correct the problem. 

Your favorite designers and retailers know you need glasses, too, and they’re at the ready with the latest and trendiest pairs of designer frames with all the bells and whistles and a price tag that might make you reconsider those unfortunate-looking drugstore reading glasses. 

When you begin to calculate the cost of failing vision, it adds up.

Eye Exams

Before you purchase a pair of prescription lenses and stylish designer frames, you’ll need to visit an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Your doctor will dilate your eyes, check out the retina, and determine the prescription needed to correct your vision to 20/20 (or as close to 20/20 as possible).

The average cost of an eye exam without insurance can range from $100-$200, depending on where you go and who you see.

There are three levels of eye care professionals that can help you with eye-related issues and exams:

  1. Ophthalmologists. These are eye doctors that can perform surgery and also diagnose eye-related diseases. They can also administer an eye exam and give you a prescription for corrective lenses.

  2. Optometrists. An optometrist is not a medical doctor but an eye care professional who can give you an eye exam and write prescriptions for eyeglasses.

  3. Opticians. These providers specialize in helping you get the perfect fit when you shop for eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. They can design, fit and dispense prescription lenses, but normally they are not able to give you an eye exam. 

        Some opticians, however, will have an optometrist on site that can give you an eye exam with or without vision coverage insurance. 

        If you don’t have insurance, your cost for an eye exam will likely be more expensive if you see an ophthalmologist instead of an optometrist. Some retailers have an optometrist on-site for quick and affordable eye exams.


        Your level of vision correction and any additional features you’d like to have added (like blue light-blocking lenses or transitional lenses) will determine the price of your lenses. You’ll pay a separate fee for the frames, which we’ll cover later. 

        While the average cost of prescription lenses is approximately $187, you may pay more than double that amount if you don’t have insurance. Quality lenses are essential, and you’ll want to make sure you don’t leave with substandard material.

        Your optician can help you determine whether you need single-vision lenses, bifocal lenses, trifocal lenses, or progressive lenses. Single-vision lenses will cost less than bifocals or progressive lenses. Single-vision lenses only need one prescription for vision correction issues like astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.


        If you’ve never worn glasses before, you want to select frames that make you feel confident and comfortable. New glasses can change your appearance, but don’t assume you need to shell out a ton of money for designer brands just to find a style you love

        There are plenty of low-cost providers that offer attractive styles. The average price of frames can range from $100 to over $1,000 if you choose a particular designer. Typically, there are tiers of frames from which to choose:

        • Discount. You can find discount frames at many big box store retailers. These are affordable frames that are mass-produced but might be of lower quality. If you don’t care too much about style and simply want the least expensive pair of frames available, discount frames can be a solution. 
        • Mid-range. These types of frames are slightly more expensive but also made with more durable materials and usually have an edgier, more stylish look. You can find mid-range frames at brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailers.
        • Designer. Designer frames are created and manufactured by designers. They’ll usually have a higher level of quality and more aesthetically pleasing options than bargain brands. Virtually all optical centers will offer designer frames.

        The frames of your eyeglasses will always cost the most money, but opting for durable material will help you reduce the need for replacing them as frequently.

        Total Cost

        If you’re following along and doing the math, you’ve probably noticed that the “average” cost isn’t so average. There are numerous deciding factors that can change the cost of your eyewear. 

        That said, research supports that the average cost a person will pay out of pocket for their prescription glasses is $196, not astronomical, but still expensive for those of us on a budget.

        What About Safety Eyewear

        Wearing non-prescription safety glasses over your safety eyewear is uncomfortable. Stuffing your regular glasses underneath sweaty goggles isn’t a good look, and chances are, you’ll probably end up shelving the safety glasses and trusting your regular glasses to keep your eyes safe. Bad mistake. 

        Regular glasses aren’t made to withstand eye hazards like a pair of durable safety glasses. Protective eyewear is essential for everyone, even if you don’t work around powerful machines or biological hazards. 

        Eye injuries can happen:

        • While doing lawn work
        • Performing maintenance at your home
        • Taking on a home improvement project
        • While cleaning with chemicals
        • Playing sports like basketball and tennis

        Nearly half of all eye-related injuries happen at home, so in addition to your regular glasses, it’s a smart choice to consider safety glasses, too. At Stoggles, we make it super easy, stylish, and comfortable to get the safety eyewear you need with your very own prescription. 

        Safety: The Stoggles Way

        Stoggles eyewear protects like a durable pair of safety glasses, feels lightweight and comfortable, and visually rivals any designer brand. In fact, we bet you end up wearing them more than your regular eyeglasses. 

        In each pair of Stoggles, you’ll get some impressive features.

        Impact Resistance

        Your regular glass lenses can’t withstand a strike from a rock or flying debris. Stoggles can. Our lenses and frames are crafted from polycarbonate material, which is virtually indestructible. Our eyewear is ANSI Z87.1-2020 certified, which is the standard of safety across numerous industries. 

        We aren’t sure if they’d hold up to a strike from Thor’s hammer, but we’d be willing to test them against that standard. 

        UV Protection 

        The sun can damage your eyes and cause you to develop vision problems. UV protective lenses shield your eyes from this damage and help keep your eyes safe. All Stoggles are made from polycarbonate material, which is naturally UV-blocking. 

        Anytime you’re wearing your Stoggles, you’re basically applying sunscreen to your eyeballs, minus the burning and high amounts of irritation that would likely come with squirting zinc oxide into your eyes. (Please do not apply sunscreen to your eyeballs.)

        Side and Top Shields

        Your regular eyewear leaves your eyes vulnerable near your eyebrows and on the temples. Some safety glasses feature a wraparound lens style. These don’t protect the top of your eyes, and if you try to add prescription lenses, the wraparound style can warp your vision, giving you a not-so-fun funhouse mirror effect. 

        Side and top shields offer protection to these areas and won’t warp your vision or make you look like you’re wearing a prop from an 80s ski movie.

        Anti-Fog Lenses

        You know the drill. Walk from indoors to out, and your glasses immediately fog. If you wear facial coverings for work, you might experience fogging on a more consistent basis. Fogging lenses can be dangerous and a real pain in the pupil. That’s why Stoggles are all created with anti-fog lenses. These are truly best in class: We’ve spent nine months perfecting this product — truly a labor of love. 

        You can walk into a sauna with your Stoggles and still see the half-dressed, sweaty people lining the cedar walls. That might not sound like a selling feature, but having fog-free glasses will save you a lot of frustration. 

        Blue Light Blockers

        Everyone gets exposed to blue light. Blue light is emitted from the sun but also from other sources like LED televisions, computers, and smartphones. Blue light can penetrate your eye deeply, which could cause long-term damage. 

        In addition, staring at a computer or smartphone can make your eyes dry and tired. Blue light-blocking lenses help filter blue light away from your eyes, so you finish your in-depth smartphone-based study of why you cough after eating ice cream or why eating a ball of wasabi is a bad idea. 

        Easy Prescriptions, Easy Style

        If you need corrective glasses and don’t have insurance, the cost can really add up. If you need safety glasses, too, you’ll have another expense. 

        Stoggles are the solution for safety eyewear that can even transition to everyday wear. We offer in-house prescription fulfillment to keep costs down and make our eyewear affordable and accessible to more people. 

        The best part? Stoggles only look like designer eyewear. You’ll get all the protection you need in your own customized prescription without the need to mortgage your home or pawn your car title. Plus, you can use FSA (flexible spending account) or HSA (health savings accounts) to purchase affordable RX Stoggles! Stoggles are a win-win for your eyes and your wallet. 


        ECP Survey Results: How Concerned Are You About Rising COVID Cases? | Review of Optometric Business

        Best Eyeglass & Contact Lens Store Buying Guide | Consumer Reports

        Cost of Prescription Glasses | MyVision

        Cost of Eyeglasses - 2022 Healthcare Costs | CostHelper

        ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 | CDC

        Eye Safety at Home: Preventing Eye Injuries | American Academy of Ophthalmology

        Healthcare FSA Vs. HSA—Understanding The Differences | Forbes Advisor

        ← Older Post Newer Post →