19 ways to get free prescription glasses & cheap frames

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Have you realized the drugstore reading glasses aren’t cutting it anymore? Has your child come home with a note from the teacher saying they’re having trouble seeing the board? Facing an unexpected appointment with an eye doctor and expensive prescription glasses can be both shocking and expensive.


The connections among poverty, eye care and well-being are stark. Until recently, there were few options for eyeglasses for less than $400. Thankfully, new innovations, businesses and public health initiatives offer very stylish and affordable eyeglasses — as well as some that are free.


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My personal experience: Recently got a new pair of eyeglasses at a very nice local boutique. Price all-in with high-end progressive lenses: $1,021.


I also got a second pair with the same prescription from my eye doctor for this pair from Zeelool, for $110.95, all-in, including the highest-end lenses and shipping.


The right combination of resources for free or inexpensive prescription glasses and exams can help you get your vision back on track without breaking the bank. This post explains the ways to get affordable or free life-changing eyeglasses.

Can you get free prescription glasses?

Many organizations, such as VSP Eyes of Hope and Sight for Students, offer low- or no-cost eye exams and eyeglasses for households who meet the income guidelines for eligibility. Medicaid covers vision care for children. Even if you don’t qualify for those programs, plenty of online retailers offer great deals on affordable eyewear, buy-one-get-one-free eyeglasses discounts, “first pair free” prescription glasses promotions and more.

Many online discounts are open to all, but most of the nonprofit assistance programs require you to meet income eligibility tied to the federal poverty level. Here’s a look at the poverty-level income guidelines in the United States, based on the number of people in a household:

US poverty levels

For families/households with more than eight people, add $4,720.00 for each additional person.

Where you can get free prescription eyeglasses

Charitable programs provide free eyeglasses to people who meet the income requirements and don’t have vision coverage through an insurance plan. You can also find retailers that offer special deals on free glasses for new customers, sometimes even including eye exams.

1. New Eyes

New Eyes is a nonprofit organization that provides single-vision or lined bifocals to people whose monthly income is less than 250% of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines. You can apply independently or have a health care worker or social worker assist you.

Who is eligible for free prescription glasses from New Eyes?

New Eyes serves people in the United States who need glasses but can’t afford them. New Eyes does not offer vision screenings, so you’ll need to arrange that on your own — and other resources can help with that cost. New Eyes requires you to present a glasses prescription written in the past 12 months that includes your pupillary distance measurement. New Eyes provides links to free and low-cost eye exam providers on its website.

Are there income guidelines for New Eyes?

Yes. Anyone living in a household with a net monthly income less than 250% of U.S. Poverty Guidelines is eligible for vouchers.

2. VSP Eyes of Hope

VSP Eyes of Hope is a program from the vision insurance provider Vision Service Plan that issues vouchers that cover the cost of eye care and glasses to adults and children.

Who is eligible for free prescription glasses from VSP?

Anyone of any age can apply for glasses from VSP Eyes of Hope. You can get a gift certificate for glasses if you have vision care or work with one of the program’s partner organizations to get an eye exam. VSP in-network eye care providers, such as VisionWorks and MyEyeDr, accept these gift certificates.

Are there income guidelines for free glasses from VSP?

VSP requires a household income of below 200% of the federal poverty level for you to qualify.

Kid wearing glasses

Where you can get free glasses for kids

Experts estimate that about 25% of kids in America need glasses or contacts. Glasses can dramatically improve how kids do in school, according to research from Johns Hopkins University, and numerous programs aim to help families get vision screenings and free glasses for kids under 18. Many school systems can provide extra information on how to help kids get vision screenings and affordable glasses. Ask your child’s school nurse or school counselor for more details.

3. InfantSEE

InfantSEE is an initiative from the American Optometric Association to provide eye exams to babies. The program website has a searchable listing for participating doctors. You can look for doctors in your area by entering your ZIP code.

Who is eligible for free prescription glasses from InfantSEE?

The American Optometric Association recommends that babies have their first eye exam between six and 12 months. These exams can identify vision issues before they become serious problems. This program provides exams for families who cannot afford them otherwise. If your baby needs more treatment, the program will help you get it.

Are there income guidelines for free glasses from InfantSEE?

There are no income guidelines. Use InfantSEE’s Find a Doctor tool to contact local providers for more information.

4. Vision to Learn

The Vision to Learn program works with school systems to provide vision exams and glasses to K-12 students. The clinics are open to students in participating schools. Vision to Learn has programs in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, DC.

Who is eligible for free prescription glasses from Vision to Learn?

Students in participating districts are eligible for glasses through this program. Vision to Learn brings mobile vision clinics to schools, and the staff gives eye exams. Any kids who need glasses receive their prescription and pick them out from the opticians.

Are there income guidelines for free glasses from Vision to Learn?

Vision to Learn does not provide stated income guidelines.

5. VSP Sight for Students

VSP Sight for Students is another program from the insurer Vision Service Provider.  This program provides eye exams and glasses to children ages 19 and under by partnering with community organizations and schools to distribute vouchers for eye exams and glasses.

Who is eligible for free prescription glasses from VSP?

Children under 19 who don’t have vision coverage can benefit from this program. School nurses can apply in advance for gift certificates for free glasses to distribute to students in need. Community partners like Prevent Blindness also distribute gift certificates. Contact VSP Sight for Students directly if you need more information about receiving free glasses for a student at partners.vspeyesofhope.com.

Are there income guidelines for free glasses from VSP?

Yes, VSP states qualifying income guidelines. Your household income has to be below 200% of the federal poverty level for your student to qualify.


Related: Steady app reviews in 2022: Is this legit?

Surprised young woman in glasses

Where to get free prescription glasses online

Even if you’re not eligible for government or charitable vision care programs, you can still find affordable glasses. Some retailers offer deep discounts, so it’s worth checking out your options for free prescription glasses online, too — including free prescription lenses for new customers.

6. ABBE Glasses

ABBE is an online provider that sells a wide variety of glasses. ABBE offers a limited selection of frames for free when you use the code FREEABBE. Most clear, single-vision lenses are also free. It also has a buy-one-get-one-free offer. You’ll need to provide a valid prescription from an eye doctor when you order.

7. Finest Glasses

Finest Glasses is another retailer that offers a limited selection of frames for adults and kids for free with other options for cheap eyeglasses frames. You’ll need to get an eye exam from your eye doctor before you order, and frames and most single vision lenses are free.

8. The Glasses Shop

The Glasses Shop offers a specific selection of frames for adults and kids, and you can get your first pair of prescription glasses free with the code FIRST FREE. Single vision lenses with anti-scratch coating are included. You’ll need to provide a prescription from an eye doctor to order.

9. Kits

Kits offers more than 200 styles of the house brand frames free to first-time purchasers. Most single-vision prescription lenses are included. Use the code FREEKITS. You will need to get a prescription from your own eye doctor.

What if the free prescription eyeglasses programs require an eye exam?

If you need help getting an eye exam, some programs cover that, too. If the programs listed below don’t operate in your area, contact your health department or your primary care doctor. They may have good information about free or low-cost vision care in your area.

10. EyeCare America for free eye exams

Eye Care America is a program run by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. They offer eye exams through a network of participating doctors. To qualify for this program, you need to be uninsured and over 65 years old. If you are at increased risk of glaucoma, you can get a free glaucoma screening. This program doesn’t include eyeglasses.

11. Lions Club International for free eye exams

The Lions Club International, a large charitable organization, has partnered with Johnson & Johnson to offer the Sight for Kids program. This project aims to train school staff to perform basic vision screenings and refer kids for follow-up care if they need it. Kids can get free glasses through the program as well. Check with your child’s school to see if they offer this program.

eye exam

12. New Eyes for free eye exams

New Eyes allows you to renew your glasses prescription online if you live in certain states. This renewal is not a complete eye exam, but it will enable you to order new glasses if your previous prescription is more than 24 months old.

13. State and local government resources for free eye exams

Some states or localities have vision clinics for residents. If you’re looking for a free eye exam near you, check with your state or county health and human services department to find information about vision care in your area.

14. Optometry schools

Some schools of optometry at university medical schools offer free or low-cost exams. Students perform the exams while their instructors supervise. If you live near a medical school with an optometry program, you can call and ask about becoming a patient and their fees.

15. Local stores and vision centers

Some retailers like Walmart or Target, grocery stores and pharmacies might have onsite vision centers that can perform low-cost eye exams. These options aren’t free, but they can be a great option for cheap eye exams and glasses. The average Walmart eye exam cost ranges from $50 to $100 without insurance. Exams at Target Optical and Walgreens range from $60 to $100. Members-only stores like Sam’s Club and Costco typically offer special pricing for vision screenings as well. Sometimes, if you buy glasses, you’ll get a discount on the exam, the glasses or both.

What if you don’t meet the requirements for free prescription glasses?

Even if you don’t meet eligibility guidelines for free glasses, you can find reasonably priced options at some of the new online retailers that have created a new competitive eyeglass marketplace:

16. 39DollarGlasses.com

With hundreds of frame styles for kids and adults, 39 Dollar Glasses offers exactly what the name suggests. Frame and single-vision lenses start at $39. If you want specialty lenses or need bifocals, the lenses cost $80. You can pick up to five pairs to try out at home to how you like the frames before you commit. They’ll mail you the frame and you have five days to decide, then you send them back using a prepaid mailing label.

17. DiscountGlasses.com

Discount Glasses offers a large variety of frames for kids and adults starting at about $39. The base price includes single vision lenses, and costs increase for bifocals or specialty lenses.

18. Zeelool

Zeelool has hundreds of stylish frames for kids and adults, including some sale frames under $10 per pair. Single vision lenses are only $5 more, with progressive and specialty lenses costing more, starting at $40 for progressive lenses.


I bought a pair of very cute prescription progressives from Zeelool recently and was amazed by the large offering of very, very cute frames — with prices ranging from $3 to about $30 — with frequent BOGO deals. It was really remarkable.

Expect to pay more for lenses, though shipping on orders greater than $69 is free.


I will say that the quality of the lenses of my Zeelool glasses is inferior to the $1,000 pair I bought at a local boutique — but for the price, it is still a great value. I especially recommended inexpensive online eyeglasses for kids like mine who refuse to wear them.

19. Zenni

Zenni has hundreds of frame choices for adults and kids, with some as low as $6.95. The price of the frame includes basic single vision lenses, and student discounts may apply for some kids’ glasses as well.

FAQs about free prescription glasses

If you have health coverage through a government-sponsored plan, you might have vision care benefits you can use for an eye exam or prescription glasses.

Does Medicaid cover vision?

Children and teens enrolled in Medicaid are eligible for vision screenings and follow-up treatment. Your state Medicaid agency can provide details for your area. Adult vision screening benefits vary by state. Many states cover eye exams, and some cover one pair of glasses per year.

Does Medicare cover vision?

Medicare does not cover routine eye exams or prescription lenses. Some Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans offer vision coverage as part of the benefits. Medicare will cover treatment for eye conditions such as glaucoma or complications from diabetes.

Does CHIP insurance cover glasses?

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covers routine eye exams and glasses for children. Check your state’s program information for details.

How can I get free prescription glasses?

Many organizations such as VSP Eyes of Hope, New Eyes and VSP Sight for Students offer low- or no-cost eye exams and eyeglasses for households who meet the income guidelines for eligibility. Household income requirements range from 200% to 250% of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines ($18,310 for a family of two people, $23,030 for a family of three and up from there for larger households). InfantSEE, which provides vision care for babies, has no set income requirements.


Even if you don’t qualify for those programs, plenty of online retailers offer great deals on affordable eyewear. Check out ABBE’s free and buy-one-get-one-free eyeglasses discounts, as well as the “first pair free” prescription glasses promotions from Finest Glasses, The Glasses Shop and KitsZenni’s cheapest options are $6.95, and  Zeelool offers sale frames for less than $10 with basic lenses for $5 more, but customizations can increase the price substantially. Glasses from 39 Dollar Glasses are $39, and pairs from Discount Glasses start around $39, too.

Can you get free prescription sunglasses?

Many vision plans, including government-sponsored plans, cover prescription sunglasses, though you should read the fine print to make sure those won’t be the only glasses covered for that year. Retail sites that offer deals on free glasses often specify that the lenses must be clear, not tinted or transition-type lenses. If you need prescription sunglasses for work or due to a health condition, ask your doctor how you can get your glasses at a lower cost.


This article originally appeared on WealthySingleMommy.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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The cheap & easy tech every senior should have


Aging in place is an attractive option for many older adults. And thanks to advances in technology, it’s a safe and realistic option for the majority of Americans enjoying their golden years. Assistive devices, mobile apps, and medical alert systems can work together to keep you safe and independent in your home, even as your health needs change.


Below, we’ll touch on some gadgets, apps, and services that can help seniors safely remain in the familiarity of their home for longer and connect with friends and family, even from afar. Of course, most of these digital devices require a good internet connection for them to work properly. So, we’ll give you the rundown on your internet options as well.

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Technology offers a wide range of benefits to older adults. Below are just a few of our top reasons why embracing new tech can benefit seniors as they age in place!

  • Provides access to transportation and food
  • Monitors health and wellness
  • Keeps seniors safe
  • Informs you about the latest news and trends
  • Provides entertainment
  • Alerts caregivers if something is irregular
  • Provides peace of mind
  • Connects them with friends, family, and healthcare providers




If new technology intimidates you, you’re not alone! But seniors have proven time and time again that they can adjust to the ever-evolving tech landscape as well as any other age group. In 2019, more than half of older adults bought a new tech product, whether it be a smartphone, laptop, or smart home device. Once seniors are connected to the internet, getting online becomes part of their daily routine. In fact, roughly 75 percent of older adults with an internet connection report that they use it daily.


The coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example of how quickly seniors learned the ins and outs of new technologies to stay connected with loved ones by using FaceTime, hosting meetings on Zoom, and hopping on telemedicine calls with physicians. We are confident that with a little guidance and practice, you can get the hang of any technology you want to learn. And we are here as a resource for you every step of the way! Let’s take a look at some of our favorite tech services for seniors.




Mobile applications, or mobile apps, are basically computer programs designed to run specifically on your smartphone or tablet. Smartphones and tablets come preloaded with some mobile apps, just like if you were to purchase a new computer, there would be programs preloaded on it and some you would need to download. Likewise, there are mobile apps you can download for free or purchase through the Apple App Store for Apple devices or Google Play for Android devices.


These days, there’s a mobile app for everything! Your favorite stores probably have a mobile app so you can easily shop via your mobile device. There are apps to keep you connected to friends and family, such as FaceTime and Facebook Messenger. And there’s no chance you’ll be left twiddling your thumbs with all the game, video, music, and audiobook apps just a tap away. To get you started, here are the best apps for seniors to keep you safe, connected, and entertained!


Lakshmiprasad S / iStock


As we age, maintaining proper nutrition is key to preventing disease and supplying our body with the nutrients it needs to function. Whether you’re a pro in the kitchen or would rather have someone else do the cooking, food delivery services make it easy for seniors to have groceries and meals brought right to their doorstep. Some of the most popular food delivery apps for older adults include:

  • Instacart
  • HelloFresh
  • Blue Apron
  • Home Chef
  • Uber Eats
  • DoorDash
  • Grubhub
  • Silver Cuisine

Popular delivery meal kits like HelloFresh and Blue Apron cost approximately $10 per serving. Grubhub and DoorDash, which deliver food from your favorite restaurant, run a couple dollars for a delivery fee. Keep in mind you will also pay the cost of the food you order from the restaurant. Instacart allows you to purchase your groceries and have them delivered just a few hours later. The delivery fee for orders over $35 is $3.99.


Keep in Mind: For online delivery services like Instacart and DoorDash, it is custom to tip the deliverer for their service. So, when calculating costs, make sure to include room for a tip!


Daisy-Daisy / istockphoto


Seniors who are unable to drive, or just prefer not to, can benefit from transportation and ridesharing apps. Two of the most popular ridesharing apps are Uber and Lyft. With these mobile apps, all you have to do is enter your destination and choose a ride. The app alerts you when the driver is arriving.

Then, you can just hop in and enjoy the ride!


If you don’t have a smartphone or prefer not to download a mobile app, services like GoGo Grandparent can call a ride for you. All you have to do is give the company a call and tell them where you’d like to go. These transportation services are ideal for seniors who want to remain independent and on the go but may lack the ability to drive.




These days, one of the easiest ways to check in on our friends and family is to hop on a video call. Free services like ZoomSkype, and FaceTime let you call your loved ones whenever you like and see their smiling faces, even if you live far away from one another. Whether you’re checking in on the grandbabies, having a wine night with your friends, or hosting a book club, video chatting helps you stay connected.


Pro Tip: Want to learn how to use a video chatting service to connect with your loved ones? Check out our “More Tech-Related Topics” section. You’ll find step-by-step guides on how to use Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype!


DisobeyArt/ iStock


Did you know that you can even use the internet to join a retirement community? For seniors who are still active and require a low level of care, virtual retirement communities are a viable option. This type of senior living allows individuals to live in their own home. The virtual community is staffed by a team who organizes a multitude of services and programs for members.


These may include transportation, assistance with medical appointments, grocery shopping, organized group outings, and aid with applying for benefits. This type of senior care is similar to independent living facilities, with the exception that seniors can remain in their home.


Another major benefit of a virtual retirement community is that it gives seniors a way to connect with others their age. So how much does this type of senior living cost? It is actually one of the most affordable options out there, with the understanding that seniors will have to pay for their own housing. Virtual retirement communities cost an average of $450 a year or $600 for couples. If you have already paid for your house and have minimal utilities and living expenses, this can be the cheapest form of senior care available.


Chaay_Tee/ istockphoto


Phones have come a long way since their debut in the 19th century! Our cell phones are with us all the time and many of us can hardly remember life without them. Ninety-one percent of seniors own a cell phone, 53 percent of which own a smartphone.


Whether you keep it simple with a flip phone or sport the latest and greatest, seniors can benefit from cell phones by chatting with friends and family, utilizing social networks, and keeping up with the latest news. Don’t forget the ability to snap cute photos of pets and grandbabies!


FYI: Looking for a new phone? Check out our list of the best cell phones for seniors to find the right device for you!




Tablets are great for entertainment gurus! Seniors may prefer a tablet’s larger screen for reading, watching videos, playing brain games, and browsing social networks. Some tablets are specifically designed with seniors in mind, like the GrandPad from Consumer Cellular if you are OK with only having essential features.


If you’re a bookworm, an e-reader could become your new best friend! With the ability to store hundreds of your favorite books on a tablet, you’ve got your own mobile library. The large, bold text and backlit screen is easy on your eyes. Plus, tablets are smaller and lighter than most books, so they’re easier to grip, and your wrists won’t ache after a while. Some e-readers are even waterproof – yes, you can read your books on the beach or in the tub. Perfect!


SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.




Fitness trackers are wearable devices, great for active seniors who desire health insights and accountability with their commitment to keep moving. Popular trackers such as Fitbits are sleek and double as a wristwatch. Fitbits connect to your smartphone, and most are waterproof. These little devices track your heart rate, steps, calories burned, monitor your sleep, and more. If you enjoy some friendly competition, you can share your progress and compete with friends on the Fitbit app. Game on!




Seniors who desire to age in place should look into medical alert systems, especially if they live alone. Ranging from basic to high-tech, medical alert systems can keep you safe both in your home and on the go. By wearing a pendant around the neck or wrist, you can discreetly have help at your fingertips 24/7. Pushing the help button connects seniors to a call center, where they can speak to a trained operator any time of day.


Some medical alert systems have more robust features like fall detection, companion apps, activity monitoring, and caregiver integrations. Most equipment can be bought for a one-time fee, plus an additional monthly service fee. Our experts have tested the top medical alert systems to guide you in selecting a system that fits your lifestyle and budget.


Did You Know: In the U.S., one in four adults aged 65 and older experience a fall each year. Wearing a medical alert device allows you to summon help if needed in the event of a fall.




Smart home devices provide automation, safety, and convenience for seniors in their home. Purchased individually or as a bundle, these technologies are best used in conjunction with your smartphone to get the most out of their features. Below are a few of our favorite smart home devices for seniors.





  • Popular brands: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri Nest
  • What they do: Smart speakers can tell you the weather, set audio reminders, make calls, send texts for you, play music, play games, and more!
  • Why they’re great for seniors: Seniors can activate this technology with their voice, rather than having to swipe or tap. For seniors who are less tech-savvy or have dexterity challenges, a smart speaker is a convenient digital companion.
  • Cost: $60-$300




  • Popular brands: Nest, Aloe Care Health, Abode, FIBARO
  • What they do: Smart sensors become familiar with your daily activity and monitor your home, sending alerts if anything is unusual.
  • Why they’re great for seniors: Most smart sensors can be set up, so they alert seniors and their loved ones if irregular activity is detected in the home, providing peace of mind for those who live alone.
  • Cost: $50-$200




  • Popular brands: Arlo, Nest, Ring
  • What they do: View who is at your door via your smartphone or tablet. You can also see any activity outside your door such as a package drop-off. A two-way speaker allows you to chat with your visitor and remotely unlock the door for them to enter if you’re unable to come to the door.
  • Why they’re great for seniors: Providing an extra layer of security and convenience, video doorbells are ideal for seniors who live alone or have limited mobility, since it gives them the ability to communicate and unlock the door for visitors via their smartphone.
  • Cost: $80-$250




There are a plethora of reasons seniors embrace the internet. It may be to connect with loved ones or stay informed on current news and research. Searching for yummy recipes, watching videos, making telemedicine calls, paying bills, and social networking are all common reasons seniors choose to hop on the World Wide Web. Plus, the majority of the technologies we touched on above rely on the internet to work. So, you’ll need a great internet provider to stay active online.



Fizkes / iStock


Several factors go into choosing an internet provider and plan. Companies that service your area, how much you will use the internet, and your budget are all elements to consider as you weigh out your options. Typically, the monthly service fee for internet is $60 to $100 per month. Low-income seniors may qualify for a discounted rate. Plus, most providers give new customers a lower monthly rate for their first year of service.


If you’re looking for a great deal and decent speed, AT&T may be a good option. But they don’t service every state, so make sure you’re eligible for service. CenturyLink is another affordable option that is available in most states. For qualifying seniors, CenturyLink offers a free internet training program so you can get the hang of things if you’re new using the internet.


Advice From the Experts: We’ve done a full rundown on the top internet providers for seniors. Keep in mind that providers run seasonal specials, so offerings and prices may vary throughout the year.


If you already have an internet provider but your connection feels about as slow as a snail, don’t worry! There are several ways to improve your internet connection all by yourself; no tech team needed. View our guide on how to speed up your internet for more details.


This article originally appeared on SeniorLiving.org and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.







Featured Image Credit: Gligatron / istockphoto.