I can’t believe it is already late-November. As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, that means it’s almost time for the end of the year. Optometry is historically very busy at the end of the year because, you guessed it…flex spending accounts expire December 31, 2019. At ModernEyes Eyecare + Eyewear, we want to help you make sure your flex dollars go the farthest because if you don’t use ‘em, you lose ‘em.
Make an appointment to update your prescription and check your eye health soon before we are booked out past the end of the year!
What Is A Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
A Flexible Spending Account is a tax-free way to pay medically necessary expenses that are not covered by your insurance. FSAs allow employees to set aside a portion of earnings to pay for qualified expenses up to $5,000 per year (including copays, coinsurance, deductibles). These accounts are great for lowering your taxable income and in turn saving you money, but if you don’t use your FSA dollars by the deadline you will lose them for good.
Thanks for the information, Doc, but how do I put all of that money to work?
10 Ways to Use Flex Spending Money on Eyecare & Eyewear
1. New chic sunglasses
Prescription sunglasses are often seen as a luxury, but the vast majority of our patients who take the plunge and purchase them can’t believe how much they love them. Prescription sunglasses are more than just a really great accessory. Polarized lenses provide the best glare-reduction, especially when complimented with a great quality backside anti-reflective coating. Polycarbonate or trivex are our materials of choice for sunglasses because they’re the most impact and scratch lenses, as well as being inherently UV-protective. Fun fact: Did you know that “cheapie” sunglasses have UV-protection that is simply sprayed on and can wear off over time? Our lenses are UV-protective without a coating, so you never need to worry about the UV-protection. Some FSAs also allow for the purchase of non-prescription sunglasses, but you’ll need to check with your specific plan to be sure.
2. New everyday glasses
Glasses are like jewelry and accessories for your face. It is fun to have multiple pairs to swap styles and colors. If you already have a “safe and comfortable” or “neutral” pair, consider adding a super fun, unique frame to your collection. You can go bold with color, shape, or both!
3. Year supply of contact lenses
Many manufacturers offer rebates with a year-supply of contact lenses purchase in the form of a pre-paid Visa/Mastercard/etc. When you order contacts from ModernEyes Eyecare + Eyewear, you’re purchasing from a small business with great customer service. We are happy to return and/or exchange any unopened, undamaged boxes purchases from us in the event of a prescription change, so you aren’t stuck with contacts you can’t use. Contacts are a medical device, so you do need a current prescription to purchase. Don’t have one? Contact our office to schedule and exam and contact lens evaluation!
4. Contact solution and eye drops
Already have contacts? If you aren’t wearing a daily disposable (or recyclable), you will need solution to care for your contact lenses. You can purchase these as most retailers. Same goes for over the counter artificial tears and contact lens re-wetting drops. Just please, please, please avoid drops that advertise “getting the red out,” because they contain a lot of harmful chemicals and preservatives to shrink the eye blood vessels to whiten the eye. Our favorite brands are Blink, Systane, and Refresh lines for artificial tears, and Lumify for redness relief.
5. Children’s Eyewear
Of course, if your child wears glasses, we are happy to help with a new pair for him/her. We have several great quality kids lines, and a very competitive kid’s package for glasses if you don’t have a vision plan that helps pay for glasses. We also offer kid’s sunglasses at a very affordable price. Check out these RoShamBo glasses, available and very affordable from our office. They come in lots of colors and styles, and are super durable. They make great stocking stuffers!
6. Computer Glasses
Blue-blocking light and lenses designed for computer use are all the rage these days. Let one of our skilled opticians help you get glasses to keep your eyes happy at work (and at home when you spend way too long reading on your phone if your like most of us)!
7. Sports and Safety glasses
Don’t forget to protect your eyes while working and playing. Sports and safety glasses have additional requirements above and beyond normal glasses safety requirements to protect you’re eyes. We partner with Wiley X for both our sports and safety glasses. YouthForce is the sports brand and WorkSight is the safety. Wiley X also offers prescription swim goggles.
8. Colorblind glasses
Need a gift idea for someone who is color deficient (AKA colorblind)? Bring them in for a consultation with our amazing opticians to check out EnChroma lenses. Take the test to learn more here. We suggest being able to spend 30 minutes to an hour with us to really give the lenses a try before purchasing.
9. Eye Exam Co-Pays
This is a somewhat boring option, but you can also use FSA money to pay for copays for your exams, including our cool technology offerings. We offer Optos, which in many cases can eliminate the need to have your pupils dilated. It also provides us a stable image for year over year comparison to monitor for changes in your eye health. The OCT also provides an extra in-depth image of the optic nerve and macula (among other things) to help us catch issues like glaucoma, macular degeneration, pseudo-tumor cerebri and macular swelling well before we can see them by just looking inside the eye. Added bonus that we offer to you at no additional charge: we don’t use the dreaded air puff to check your eye pressures, so no more excuses to not come visit us!
10. Colored contacts
Even if you don’t have a prescription power in your lenses, if you are fit in colored contact lenses by an optometrist, you can use your FSA dollars toward their purchase. Please avoid buying colored lenses online or in stores without a prescription. It is illegal and dangerous as many of the lenses are counterfeit when purchased through non-legitimate channels.