That's Eligible?! A clearer view of sunglasses and FSAs

Don't let the "back to school" ads get you down -- there's plenty of summer left to enjoy! And whether you're thinking about a day on the lake, at an amusement park, or a quick 18 on the golf course, chances are you'll need sunglasses. So let's talk about them.

Wait… what?

Yes, we're talking about sunglasses on a site about FSAs. Just so there's no confusion, let's be clear from the outset -- regular, garden-variety, discount-store sunglasses are not FSA-eligible. Even those $500 Aviators you got at the mall, with the 40-page instruction manual? Also not FSA-eligible. That is, unless those frames are fit with prescription lenses.

But don't all sunglasses protect my eyes?

On paper, it makes sense. Almost all sunglass brands tout UV protection so logically sunglasses should be FSA-eligible, right? But, even though companies promote the potential benefits of their products, they're not yet considered a qualified medical expense.

But, if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, you have a way to use FSA funds for new shades. Because prescription lenses are FSA-eligible, you can get the protection you need from UV rays and macular degeneration, as long as the lenses also provide vision correction.

In fact, as long as the lenses help correct vision, the sunglasses don't have to be prescribed (although you may want to check with you FSA administrator because each has different guidelines on what exactly they'll allow). Tinted reading glasses offer non-prescription vision correction -- even the mildest corrective aid -- meaning you can use tax-free funds to buy them.

Now that the small print is out of the way, let's find out how you can get the perfect pair of prescription sunglasses for the rest of the summer. To be sure you're getting the right pair, don't go on a hunch -- see an eye doctor to make sure everything is ideal.

Update your eye prescription

If it's been a few years since you've been to the eye doctor, make sure your next pair of sunglasses have the most updated prescription possible so you'll get the most out of your investment. You should go regularly to make sure your prescription is up-to-date.

Pick frames that suit your face

No matter what they tell you at that "hut" at the mall to make a sale, not every pair of frames is right for every face. So yeah, you might be itching for a specific pair, but an awkward frame size could be uncomfortable and might not provide the optimal protection from the sun's rays.

Do some research in-store (preferably with your eye doctor) before making a purchase online to guarantee you're purchasing frames that compliment your face's shape, while still keeping your sense of style.

Pick a lens to match your prescription

There are three primary lens materials that you can choose from when purchasing prescription sunglasses: polycarbonate, plastic and high-index. Generally, plastic lenses are for individuals with light prescriptions, while polycarbonate are similar but are impact resistant and are ideal for kids and those with active lifestyles.

Finally, high-index lenses are the lightest and thinnest of all lens types and are typically used with higher prescription levels.

Maybe it's not exactly the news you wanted, but if you're one of the millions of people who use glasses for vision correction, your FSA can get you a pretty nice pair of sunglasses. If you think you have a need, take the time to visit an eye doctor and see what options you have for upgrading your sun protection, and your style.

Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


That's Eligible?! A little more clarity on FSAs and contact lenses

A few weeks back, we covered some surprisingly eligible ways you can use your FSA to care for your eyes. But we realized that contact lenses probably deserved a little more discussion.

Contact lenses, like eyeglasses or LASIK, can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. About 20% of Americans who need their vision corrected wear contact lenses. Contact lenses can provide a full field of unobstructed vision, which is great for being active and participating in sports.

And with good reason -- the National Eye Institute encourages everyone to get an annual eye exam. But what happens if you need glasses or want contacts? Can you use your FSA to pay for them?

How do I choose the best contact lenses for me?

Most eyecare centers provide several options for contact lenses. But there are a few factors to consider when choosing the right type of lenses for you. First -- what is the physical material of the contact lenses? Traditional soft contact lenses provide the best comfort and adjust quickly when put in.

But you might also consider harder, gas-permeable (GP) lenses which usually require a little adjustment before they become comfortable. However, GP lenses provide better vision because they have a hard, polished surface that doesn't rip as easily as soft ones. Over time, this could mean real cost benefits.

Are all types of contacts covered?

In essence,if contacts are designed to correct vision problems, they are FSA-eligible. Though insurance companies might have their own policies regarding coverage of specific types or brands of lenses, all are fully reimbursable with your tax-free funds.

Plus, unlike some insurance providers, which may not cover contact lenses in place of eyeglasses, if the contacts are prescribed to correct vision they are eligible, regardless of insurance plan coverage.

So, what isn't covered?

If you're looking to use contact lenses purely for cosmetic purposes -- for example, trying a new eye color, adding to a sick Halloween costume, scaring your neighbors, etc. -- then you can't use your FSA to pay for them.

They may be fun and exciting, but they have no corrective purpose, so they don't make the cut. Don't feel slighted, though -- products and services designed only for cosmetic purposes are never FSA-eligible.


Don't waste time hunting for ways to spend your tax-free funds. In That's Eligible?!, we'll bring you these updates every Monday, so you don't have to. And for all things flex spending, be sure to check out the rest of our Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Living Well

Using your FSA during Eye Exam Month

August is National Eye Exam Month, and luckily people can use their FSA to cover the cost of annual eye exams and related eye care products.

Next month is National Eye Exam Month, and luckily people can use their FSA to cover the cost of annual eye exams. Even with healthy eyesight, it's important to get an annual checkup. If you've noticed you're getting headaches or your eyes feel strained or otherwise uncomfortable, now is a good moment to schedule an eye exam.

According to WebMD, "Staring at computer monitors, smartphones, and video game screens may result in strained, dry, and tired eyes." And, their experts mention the following tips:

"To prevent eye strain, adjust your computer monitor so that it's 2 feet in front of you. Use desk lighting to reduce glare. Take a break every hour. Spend a few minutes looking at something much farther away than the monitor."

They added, "Healthy adults younger than 40 usually have stable vision. To maintain your vision and overall eye health, wear sunglasses that have UV protection. Wear protective gear when playing sports or working with power tools, machinery, or chemicals -- both at work and at home."

Luckily, prescription sunglasses are FSA-eligible, so you can use your pre-tax dollars to shop for these.Keep in mind that certain conditions may also affect your eye health, including diabetes and high blood pressure. WebMD's experts caution that, "Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in adults.

People with diabetes may develop retinopathy (shown, damage to blood vessels in the retina). High blood pressure can damage the eye's blood vessels and nerves. It can cause permanent vision loss. When you take care of your overall health by eating well and not smoking, your eyes (and the rest of your body) benefit."

Here are other ways to use your FSA for eye care:
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can cover additional types of eye care expenses,whether related to products including glasses, contact lenses or eyeglass accessories.Contact lens wearers can buy contact lens solution, contact lens cases and more. If you wear glasses, you can use your FSA to buy lens cleaning cloths, eyeglass repair kits, prescription eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses and much more.

Shop for Eye Care with your FSA


5 FSA eligible items to improve your eyeglass care

Eyeglasses require consistent care to keep them in optimal shape, but if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you are already ahead of the game! Your healthcare benefit covers a huge range of eyeglass & lens accessories you may not have known are FSA eligible, but will come in handy again and again in the future. Got some extra FSA funds to work with? Here are a few places to get started!

Eyeglass Lens Cleaner

Whether you work outdoors for a living or have to contend with the elements during your morning commute, dirt, grime and other substances can directly affect the visual acuity of your lenses. Lens cleaners can solve this issue in a pinch! These small spray bottles fit perfectly into a backpack or purse and can quickly clean lenses when you're on the go.

Check Out: Sight Savers Lens Cleaner Spray, .5 fl oz

Eyeglass Microfiber Wipes

Wiping off the surface of glasses with anything but a soft cloth can permanently scratch and damage the lens, which can leave you hunting for replacement lenses far sooner than you'd expect! A microfiber wipe is the safest option to clean eyeglass lenses, and works perfectly in tandem with spray lens cleaners.

Check Out: Apex Microfiber Lens Cleaning Shamee Cloth

Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes

If you're looking for a quick and easy solution that you can use on the go or at work, pre-moistened lens wipes may be the perfect solution! These FSA eligible wipes are formulated with anti-fogging ingredients and an anti-static formula to prevent additional dirt and grime from building up on the surface of lenses. As an added bonus, these wipes are safe to use on smartphone and computer screens!

Check Out: Flents Wipe N' Clear Pre-Moistened XL Lens Wipes, 100 ea

Nose Pads

Over time, the nose pads that are originally installed on a pair of glasses can begin to wear and degrade, which can affect how the glasses rest on your face and can even become painful in some cases. Replacement nose pad are a helpful tool for eyeglass wearers that can stabilize their frames and improve the wearers' comfort level until the glasses can be professionally repaired.

Check Out: Nose Pads for Glasses by Optic Shop

Eyeglass Repair Kit

Last but not least, if over the course of a day a screw becomes loose in your frames (or is lost altogether!), an eyeglass repair kit is often the only solution to fix your specs! These kits contain replacement screws to fit a huge variety of eyewear, screwdrivers, a magnifying glass and everything else you'll need to make repairs on the fly.

Check Out: Apex Eyeglass Repair Kit

35 million Americans have FSAs, but only one place to shop! Visit FSAstore.com today to explore the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products!


How to choose the best sun protective sunglasses

If you're in the market for new prescription sunglasses, be sure to check out FSAstore.com. Learn how to choose the best sun protective sunglasses.

As much as we look at sunglasses as the perfect fashion accessory or to shield your eyes from glare on a sunny day, your shades play a vital role in protecting your eyes from sun damage. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can not only damage the skin of the eyelid, but it can also cause long-term damage to the cornea, lens and other parts of the eye, as well as contributing to the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration over time.

Luckily, if you're in the market for a pair of prescription sunglasses, they are eligible for reimbursement with your flexible spending account (FSA)! But as much as you pay attention to style, don't forget about sun protective sunglasses!

Here are a few buying tips to keep in mind from FSAstore.com when you shop (and get $25 off an order of $100+) for sun protective sunglasses:

UV Protection Level

When shopping for sunglasses, be sure to look for a pair that features 99 to 100 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays (also called broad spectrum protection), the two wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation that contribute to sunburns, skin cancer and long-term eye damage. According to a 2014 survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, less than half of Americans check whether their new sunglasses will protect against UV light, so this is a smart habit to get into for your long-term eye health.

Lens Color

It's important to note that no single color shade will make a tangible difference in improving UV protection, even in the case of darker shades as well. These lenses do not block out more sun, but rather, they create more color contrast which may be helpful for some people see more clearly while playing sports or driving long distances. Ultimately, this should be left up to your personal preferences!


Bigger is better when it comes to a pair of sunglasses' ability to block out harmful UV rays, so if you'll be spending many hours in direct sunlight, it may be better to opt for a pair of oversized or wrap-around sunglasses that will provide better protection from the sun. Ideally, look for a pair that will line up with your brow to prevent stray light from entering the eyes, and one that can prevent salt, sand and other particulates from damaging the eyes as well.

Polarized ≠ UV Protection

While polarized lenses have become extremely popular for their ability to reduce glare on water and other reflective surfaces, they do not contribute to the blockage of UV rays from entering the eye. Always be mindful of this when shopping for sunglasses, as they may be able to help you see more clearly, but the product's UV protection rating is the pivotal factor to keep in mind.

If you're in the market for new prescription sunglasses, be sure to check out FSAstore.com! We have partnered with Glasses.com to give our customers more eyeglass and sunglass options from popular manufacturers like Ray-Ban, Oakley, Coach, Burberry and more! Come explore the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products and maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!


Do you wear contacts? Save money with an FSA

If you wear contact lenses, you may be spending hundreds extra unnecessarily each year in sales taxes. Use an FSA to buy contacts and eye care accessories.

If you wear contacts, you may be spending hundreds extra unnecessarily each year in sales taxes and other fees! Does your job offer a health plan with a flexible spending account (FSA) option? Wearing contact lenses as a vision correction method comes with a significant financial burden, but FSAs were developed to assist workers in covering long-term medical expenses just like this one!

Here are the most common FSA eligible contacts and care accessories you'll find at FSAstore.com.

1) Disposable/Extended Wear Lenses

No matter what type of contact lenses you wear, be it a daily disposable, monthly or extended wear lenses, they are eligible for reimbursement through an FSA because they assist in alleviating a significant medical condition (vision impairment). Additionally, if you like to cycle back and forth between contacts and glasses, eyeglasses and their accessories are also FSA eligible!

Shop for Contacts

2) Contact Lens Case

Overnight storage of contact lenses in cases with contact solution will dramatically improve the life span of your lenses, as well as preventing the buildup of bacteria that can lead to discomfort and potential infections. These cases are vital for the care of your vision correction method, so they are therefore covered by an FSA.

Shop for Contact Lens Cases

3) Contact lens solution

One of the most widely used products for contact lens wearers is lens solution, which acts as a means of lubricating the eyes/lenses to make them easier to insert/remove, as well as containing antibacterial agents to clean the lenses after each use. Most importantly, contact lens solution help lenses retain moisture over time, which dramatically improves wearer comfort during daylight hours.

Shop for Contact Lens Care

4) Lubricating drops

Individuals who wear soft contact lenses will need to re-wet their lenses throughout the day and typically can't bring a big bottle of contact lens solution around with them! Lubricating drops are the pocket-sized option to moisten, clear and refresh lenses that have dried out or become exposed to environmental irritants. During those momentary bouts of discomfort that all contact lens wearers experience, lubricating drops are a fantastic quick fix.

Shop for Lubricating Eye Drops


Use an FSA for Healthy Vision Month

Did you know May is Healthy Vision Month? Use your FSA during this month to help promote healthy eye care and shop at FSAstore.com for your needs.

May brings along lots of health initiatives, but did you know it's also Healthy Vision Month? This yearly initiative founded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) promotes getting regular eye exams and take care of eye health.

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can use the plan for lots of eye-related medical expenses. With an FSA, you can shop for prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other applicable eye care accessories. You can also get an annual eye exam and visit different specialists to stay on top of your eye health year-round.

Here are some tips and FSA eligible products for eye care at FSAstore.com:

1) Schedule An Eye Exam & Get New Prescription Eyeglasses

Get a yearly eye exam and use your FSA to cover the cost, and then shop for glasses with your Flexible Spending Account.Glasses.com and FSAstore.com have partnered to provide a wide selection of prescription eyeglasses. Shop from top brands like Ray-Ban, Burberry, Oakley, Armani Exchange and more. Save $25 off orders of $100 or more!

Shop for glasses with your FSA

2) Shop for Eyeglass Accessories like Flents Wipe N Clear Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes

Cleaning your glasses becomes a daily chore as they accumulate dirt, sweat and more,throughout the day. And, you should be using a proper cloth to clean your glasses to avoid scratching and permanently damaging your lenses. Luckily, your FSA can help

Flents Wipe N Clear Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes are a quick and easy way to clean your glasses. They're convenient, easy to carry, and remove dust and debris, and even have an anti-fogging solution.Shop for Flents Wipe N Clear Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes

3) Shop for Contact Lenses and Contact Lens Care with your FSA

Contact Lenses. There are a lot of differences to consider when choosing the right kind of contact lenses for you. One major distinction is that of duration. You can choose to wear dailies, which are disposable contacts you throw away at the end of each day and replace with a fresh one the next day. You can also choose extended wear contact lenses that can be worn anywhere from up to 7 days to one month depending on what option you choose.

Shop for Contact Lenses with your FSA

Contact Lens Care. Did you know you should regularly clean your contact lenses? You can shop for contact lens care with your FSA to ensure lens cleanliness, lens surface moisture and clear, comfortable vision. Opti-Free RepleniSH MultiPurpose Disinfection Solution (2 pack) provides gentle cleaning agents to keep your lenses clean and comfortable, reducing protein build-up and lens deposits. This solution also kills bacteria responsible for eye infection.

Shop for Opti-Free RepleniSH Multipurpose Disinfection Solution at FSAstore.com

4) Treat Puffy, Tired Eyes with the TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask

During Healthy Vision Month, reduce puffy, tired eyes and keep your eyes comfortable. The eye mask can be used for both hot or cold therapy to reduce inflammation, soreness and other symptoms.

Shop for TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask at FSAstore.com