How To Reduce Eye Care Costs
When you are dealing with the lack of finances, there are many hard decisions that have to be made. And several of these decisions can directly affect your level of health as well. Sometimes you can do temporary fixes to assist you while you rearrange your finances to allow for you to receive the proper care. This article deals with some of those improvisations and fixes to get you through.
This article is not meant for you to ignore your health needs.
Messing with eye care is no laughing matter and should be taken seriously. However, when you don’t have the money to pay for either the Optometrist or the eye glasses—it is a huge challenge. This is meant to just share what Barry and I do personally to try and stretch these costs out as far and few between as we possibly can. After all, like many of you, we cannot afford to pay for the scheduling of these services at the frequency recommended by either our personal Optometrist or the Provincial guidelines.
Although Eye Care Coverage is not the best even if you are Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Plans (ODSP), you have a lot more coverage than the average minimum wage earner. So this article is useful to you if you are receiving these Social Services assistance programs, but it is primarily written to assist those who have absolutely no coverage at all.
Barry and I fall into this category of having no coverage at all. So for us, the challenge of seeing the Optometrist and getting our glasses repaired is a reality.
Spreading Out The Visits
You can save money between eye visits. Hopefully your eyes change slowly, making it easier to go longer between prescription changes.
It is typically recommended that you have your eyes checked every 2 years. The cost of seeing the Optometrist for many years now is no longer being covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). As a result, Barry and I no longer can afford to go to the Optometrist as often. We cannot afford to pay the fees for the eye examination.
In fact, for years, Barry’s eye glasses needed to be updated to bifocals. His reading glasses were never with him when he needed them the most, so I became his reading eyes. Although this was very frustrating and an extra burden on me, I bore it willingly. I read menus, bills, and small print everywhere for him. He couldn’t even see the hand held card payment machines to check whether he was being correctly charged at the cash register. I would check it over and fill in any necessary information and then hand the machine back to him to complete adding his pin number.
Finally the pair of glasses Barry was wearing at that time, broke beyond our ability to repair them. We scrounged around and went without many other things so we could pay for the Optometrist and the resulting new bifocal glasses.
This led to another period of adjustment in our lives as I had to step back and give Barry his eye independence once again. No longer did I have to read everything for him when we were out in public.
I can’t remember how long ago that most recent visit for Barry was—5 years or more, and mine was even further back than that.
Keeping Your Glasses In Good Repair
Even after 5 years it can be difficult to keep eye glasses in good repair. Between normal wear and tear along with the natural deterioration of the materials. I’ve had to replace all the screws, and nose pieces on my glasses. And most recently, the leg on my glasses broke.
It is amazing what a good piece of transparent tape such as Scotch Tape can do. I’m unable to fold the leg on that side, but it is hard to see the tape. In fact, my glasses are sitting better on my face, without sliding down my nose all the time, than they have in years.
For lost screws, use one of those eye glass repair kits from the Dollar Store. It includes the screws and screwdriver. This has been useful many, many times over the years. In fact, this is one of the most valuable, while dirt cheap, investments that you should make if you or anyone in your family wears glasses.
This gives you the tools needed to do many repairs that your glasses may need. Outside of serious breakage such as pictured above.
As for replacing the nose pieces, that was a bit more challenging. However, being in ministry at Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs and having items such as unneeded eye glasses donated to us, I was able to locate a pair with the right nose pieces.
After going 2 weeks without a nose piece on one side and having a sore nose as a result, I decided to replace both at the same time. After all, the original one that was left was now yellowed with age. Now I have 2 clear looking rubber nose pieces in place once again.
So, you see, there are ways to keep some eye care costs down.
The 2 Main Ways To Keep Costs Down
So the 2 main ways to keep your eye costs down is:
- trying to spread out the length of time between visits to your Optometrist
- and keeping your eye glasses in good repair.
These are the 2 ways that you can do to keep the costs down. However, there comes a time when you do need to deal with these issues. Like I mentioned at the beginning, this article is not to have you ignore your eye care—just to buy you the time needed to restructure your budget to allow for it.
Fit It In The Budget
There does come a time when you do need to find a way to put your eye care needs into the budget. And yes, your eye care is a “need” not just a “want”. So even though this can be extremely challenging, there are times when you need to find the money.
Finding the money always takes us back to step 1 of every financial challenge. The budget. If you are not already a member of our Free Stuff Community, sign up below. Within minutes we will send you our free 10 page e-book on Basic Budgeting Worksheet for Beginners.
This worksheet will help you break down your finances into bite sized sections so you can see exactly what you do and do not have. Although many of us shudder at this, myself included, it is something that needs to be done. Only then can you take control back over your finances.
Like I mentioned, my glasses are starting to break beyond the challenge of a missing screw or nose pad, we have to soon find the funds for my eye care needs.
So, we, like you, are going to have to re-examine our budget and try to scrimp and save and see what we can do without to allow for the visit to the Optometrist and the resulting new pair of glasses. It isn’t even as simple as putting a new prescription in my old frames. They are becoming too brittle with age.
Choosing The Frames
When it comes to choosing the new frames for your eye glasses, it is easy to get carried away. So many styles, color and variety to choose from.
However, I always go in with blinders on so to speak. My first criteria is cost. So, I don’t look at the style, color, shape or anything else first. No, I examine the price tags first. Once I have located the “cheap” rack of the eye glasses displayed, then I look at other criteria.
Second to trying to locate the lowest price, I search for functionality. As Barry and I are moving heavy appliances and furniture often daily, my glasses need to be sturdy and strong. Because inevitably, I will have something come smashing into my face at least once a week. As a result, my eye glasses must be able to withstand the banging or even being ripped off of my face on a sudden turn.
Thirdly, I now look to see if the eye lens area will be big enough to hold my required bifocals.
Fourth, if possible, I try to locate a color that might be complimentary to my skin tone and the such. This is also when I pay closer attention to the shape of the eye glasses on my face shape.
So when it comes to choosing the frames, this is the order of priority that I personally place on picking mine:
- finding the lowest price section
- durability and functionality—are they strong and sturdy? They may have to last me for 10 years
- is the lens area big enough to hold the bifocals
- shape on my face and color of the frame
I’ve been wearing eye glasses since I’ve been a child and this is always the way I’ve gotten them. I’ve never had the luxury to choose color, style, and latest fad as my first criteria.
Price, price, price, is always the first. Although it has probably been close to 10 years since I last got eye glasses, I will still be looking for the frames closest to the $30 mark, if that exists anymore.
How To Reduce Eye Care Costs
In summary the best ways to reduce eye care costs starts with you. Take care of your eyes to the best of your ability. Wear safety glasses when needed and use common sense.
Next, when possible try these tips to keep your costs down:
- spread out the visits as far apart to the Optometrist as your health situation will allow you
- look after the glasses you have. Try to do small repairs yourself
When you do have to get new frames:
- lowest price
- durability and functionality
- lens big enough for your prescription
- finally shape and color
Although not the ideal for dealing with your eye care needs, this tips are the bare basics. Because if you are like Barry and I, you don’t have the money to even deal with these suggestions easily.
This is our own personal ways on how to reduce eye care costs in our home.
We hope that these suggestions will help to EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE in your own unique situation.