Yes! You can definitely use funds from your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to purchase prescription glasses. (FSAs and HSAs can be used for many other vision- and eye health-related expenses, too, but we’ll discuss that more in a bit.)
Don’t have much experience with FSAs or HSAs? Don’t worry—we’ll help break it down for you, from the basics of your account to what you can purchase with it.
Get to Know Your FSA or HSA
FSAs and HSAs are savings accounts that allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars from your paychecks for use on health-related expenses. Both an FSA and HSA can be used for prescription glasses and many other eye health expenses.
But before we dive into everything that is and isn’t covered, let’s get to know your FSA or HSA a little better. While the two programs can both be used to cover costs for many of the same things, there are some differences between these two types of accounts to keep in mind, including the maximum you can contribute each year and whether or not your funds will roll over from year to year.
Access your account or reach out to Human Resources at your place of employment to get the full scoop.
You Can Use an FSA or HSA for Many Vision-Related Expenses
Now that you know you can use your FSA or HSA for eyeglasses and other vision health needs, you’re probably excited to learn more about what exactly is covered.
Although vision insurance will cover much of your eye care needs, there are still things you’ll have to pay for “out of pocket.” That’s where your FSA/HSA can help. (Want to learn more about vision insurance? Check out our article: Is Vision Insurance Worth It?)
The basic rule of thumb is that if the item or service is medical in nature—in other words, it’s being used to correct your vision or treat a condition—or it’s necessary for using said medical item (such as cleaning or repair materials), then it’s likely eligible for coverage.
When Can I Use My FSA or HSA for Glasses?
Your FSA or HSA will pay for glasses if they are correcting your vision. Single-vision glasses are often covered by vision insurance, but there are many types of lenses that you would otherwise have to pay for out of pocket if you didn’t have a flexible spending or health savings account.
You can use your FSA or HSA for:
Is There an FSA or HSA Glasses Limit?
No! Vision insurance typically only covers one pair of eyeglasses, but what if you want multiple pairs? Good news: You can use your FSA or HSA funds to purchase as many pairs of glasses as you’d like. Got some extra funds available? Have a little fun and find some additional styles of glasses that you love!
Can I Use My FSA or HSA for Contacts?
Yes, you can! As is the case with glasses, your FSA or HSA will cover prescription contacts because they’re used to correct your vision. But contacts that aren’t considered medically necessary, such as non-prescription colored contacts, wouldn’t be eligible for coverage.
Use Your FSA or HSA for Other Vision Expenses
Here’s a glimpse of some of the many other vision-related expenses you can typically use your FSA or HSA for instead of burning a hole in your wallet (or purse, or pocket, or…sock?).
- Prescription safety goggles or swim goggles
- Eye exams
- Eye drops
- LASIK and other corrective surgery
- Copays and deductibles
- Contact cleaning solution
- Contact lens cases
- Glasses travel cases and carrying cases
- Eyeglass cleaning supplies
- Eyeglass repair kits
- Travel expenses for vision correction procedures or treatments
You should always check with your FSA or HSA provider to ensure the expenses you’re considering are eligible. Sometimes a letter of medical necessity might be needed if your expense falls in a grey area.
What’s Not Eligible
If the item or service is not considered medically necessary, then it most likely won’t be covered by your FSA or HSA. Here are some examples of what usually is not FSA- or HSA-eligible:
- Non-prescription glasses
- Non-prescription sunglasses
- Non-prescription contacts
- Extended warranties for eyewear
- Insurance premiums
How to Use Your FSA or HSA for Glasses or Other Vision Expenses
Many flexible spending or health savings accounts will provide a debit card. If you have one, you can use it to pay just like you would use a typical debit card. Other programs require that you pay out of pocket and then request reimbursement after the fact. In those cases, you’ll need a copy of the receipt and any other required documentation. Check with your provider if you’re unsure of how to use your account.
Don’t Let Your FSA or HSA Funds Go Unused!
Using FSAs and HSAs for vision expenses often gets forgotten—don’t let that be the case for you! You can use your FSA or HSA funds for glasses or other vision-related needs, whether you’re shopping online or in-store. Due for an exam? Go ahead and book it—your funds will cover that, too.