It's back-to-school time, and as you scramble to get your kids ready for the new academic year, there may be more to think about than just picking up school supplies.
This is because August is Children's Eye Health and Safety Month, sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Each year, the organization aims to provides information to the public that can help protect and preserve your child's eye health.
Luckily, whether you have a standard flexible spending account (FSA) or a limited care flexible spending account (LCFSA), your benefits can cover a significant portion of vision care expenses that can help your child see clearly throughout the coming school year. Here are just a few of the AAO's suggestions of what you should cover as the calendar flips to September and school gets underway.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), an eye exam is recommended for school-aged children every two years if there is no vision correction issue present, and those who need glasses or contact lenses should visit on an annual basis.
Before your kids get back in the classroom this fall, make an appointment with your optometrist to ensure your child's eyesight is healthy - and use your FSA to offset the costs.
Another good plan is to make sure your kids have up-to-date glasses and contact lenses that can stand up to the rigors of childhood. Your FSA covers reading glasses, prescription eyeglasses and prescription contact lenses.
If your child's eye wear is in need of an update, your FSA can cover the fresh new look they've been looking for. Visit our Optical Store to browse our selection of leading eye care brands.
Are all types of contacts covered?
If contacts are designed to correct vision problems, they're FSA-eligible. Though insurance companies might have their own policies regarding coverage of specific types or brands of lenses, they're usually 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.
Vision correction accessories
Are you running low on contact lens solution? Has your child misplaced a carrying case? In addition to vision correction methods, your FSA covers a huge slate of products that can protect and prolong the lifespan of your kids' eyeglasses and contact lenses. Contact lens solution, eyeglass repair kits, cleaning cloths and much more are eligible for FSA reimbursement.
From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our weekly Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears every Wednesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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.
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
Cold weather can not only be harsh on our skin, but can also affect our eyes. Learn about winter eye care tips from FSAstore.com and use your FSA!
Cold weather can not only be harsh on our skin, but can also affect our eyes. From dry air to sharp sunlight, there are numerous conditions that will strain eyesight.
Here are some winter eye care tips from FSAstore.com (also relying on the expertise of health care professionals cited by EveryDayHealth.com):
Wear protective eye gear. Prescription glasses and prescription sunglasses do their part to cover our eyes. According to Anne Sumers, MD, an ophthalmologist cited by EveryDayHealth.com, "Sunlight reflected off the snow can actually sunburn the cornea in the winter." In addition to sunglasses, you may also want to get FSA-eligible sunscreen to protect your skin from harsher elements of winter.
Keep your eyes moist. Winter can produce dry eyes, but you can easily keep your eyes moist with special lubricated eye drops. According to Sumers as mentioned on EveryDayHealth.com, "Cold, dry air can irritate eyes, and indoor heaters also eliminate moisture from the air, which can lead to burning and blurry vision." And she adds, "People mistake this for an allergy or infection, but it's just natural tears drying out."
Make sure to drink enough water. Hydration is of course important year-round, but the dryer and colder conditions of winter can also affect your body.
Avoid contacting your eyes with your hands. Germs can easily spread and causing further irritation, and touching your eyes could also cause additional strain.
Take proper care of your contact lenses. Don't leave your contact lenses in too long. Make sure to clean them with the appropriate contact lens solution, and replace them when necessary.
Visit anophthalmologistfor yearly eye exams.As the end of year approaches, it's not too late to schedule an eye exam and get new prescription glasses or contact lenses, if necessary. You can use your FSA for eye care treatments and products.
Shop for Eye Care at FSAstore.com
Shop for Contact Lenses at FSAstore.com
Shop for Glasses at FSAstore.com
Sun protection for your eye health is key as you'll be outdoors, even at limited times during the day. Learn about summer eye care on the FSAstore.com blog.
What is your favorite outdoor activity in the summer? Are you a hiker or biker? Do you enjoy lounging on the beach? How about camping or swimming? Or, maybe, your ideal day is spent at home with a book, and no obligations at all!
No matter what you do, you'll want to monitor something that may not immediately come to mind: your eyehealth.
Sun protection for your eye health is key as you'll be outdoors,even atlimited times during the day.
Summer Eye Care
There are two types of UV Rays. UV-A can hurt your central vision by damaging the part of the retina at the back of your eye. UV-B can hurt the front part of your eyes where the cornea and lens are, and can be even more damaging than UV-A rays.
The sun releases 3 types of radiation: the visible light that we can see, heat, and UV rays that are much stronger and can cause sunburns. Aside from protecting our skin with FSA eligible sunscreen, it’s also important to protect our eyes from the sun’s rays.
Some eye problems that UV rays can cause include:
- Cataract: clouding of the eye’s natural lens so that your eyes can focus the light we see.
- Macular Degeneration: leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
- Corneal Sunburn: long exposure to UV-B rays can cause intense pain and temporary vision loss.
- Pterygium: growth beginning on the white of the eye that may block vision.
UV Rays can come from many different directions. Aside from coming directly from the sun, they can also be reflected from the ground, water, sand, and other bright surfaces you come into contact with. Make sure to protect your eyes by taking the necessary precautions.
- A hat or cap will limit about half of the UV rays that could reach your eyes.
- Use eye wear that absorbs UV rays to give you the most protection. All types of eye wear, includingglasses andcontact lensesshould absorb UV-A and UV-B rays.
- For UV protection in everyday eye wear, try UV-blocking lens materials, coatings, and photochromic lenses.
Everyone, including children, is at risk for eye damage from UV radiation. People who work or play out in the sun for long periods of time are at the greatest risk for vision loss. Anyone who has had cataract surgery, have certain retinal disorders, or are on certain medicines are also at greater risk. Medicines like tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics, and tranquilizers increase the eye’s sensitivity to light.
Shop for a wholerange of sun protection products that are eligible with your Flexible Spending Account at S
At FSA Store, you can shop for different eye care products and learn about covered medical services related to eye care by browsing our Eligibility List.
As the summergets going, we're all caught up in enjoying more time outdoors, or planning our weekends with family and friends. But, during that time, we should also think about health - and eye health is one that can be overlooked, but shouldn't be.Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can help you monitor your vision through annual eyeexams, and by letting you shop for prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and contact lens careand various eye care accessories.
A post by WebMD dedicated to eye health shares important eye care tips for the summer. At FSA Store, you can shop for different eye care products and learn about covered medical servicesrelated to eye care by browsing our Eligibility List.
1. Protect your eyes from dangerous UVA and UVB rays. WebMD cautions that summer is the time to take extra care of your eyes to protect them from harmful UVA and UVB rays. While regular sunglasses are not covered by your Flexible Spending Account (FSA), if you wear prescription sunglasses (that help a medical condition), you can shop for these with your FSA. It's also important to make sure you cover up your eyes by wearing additional protection like hat, and this is vitalif you havekids, too.
2. Protect your eyes during yard work and while playing sports. If you plan to work on your yard (even mowing grass), make sure to wear adequate goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. Sports with smaller balls (baseball, for example) are more prone to causing eye injuries, WebMD noted.
3. Protect your eyes from chemicals in water. It's inevitable that If you're jumping into a pool and your eyes begin to sting, it's good to rinse them out with clean water. Avoid wearing contact lenses in the pool. You can safely store your contact lenses in this protective case.
Shop for contact lens cases at FSA Store
How to use an FSAfor other vision expenses:
Eye CareServices covered by a pre-tax FSA:
- Eye exams are covered by your Flex Spending Accounts(co-pays and deductibles), but will also reveal important details about your eyehealth. Make sure to tell the doctor if you're experiencing any more frequent headaches or blurry vision.
- LASIKcould be covered by Flex Spending Accounts, as well. But, if you're not sure if it will be by your FSA, it's good to askyour FSA administrator, who cantell youabout guidelines for your plan.
Shop forEye Care Products.Use your Flex Spending Accountto shop for eye care products including prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and their applicable accessories.
Or, shopthe Eye Care bundlefora variety ofeye care needs!
Designer Eyeglasses and a Flexible Spending Account
One item that people consistently buy to spend down their Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds are eyeglasses. It's no surprise to see people at the store scrambling to buy new glasses, or refilling their contact lens solution. This is especially true when the end of the FSA plan year approaches.
Designer eyeglasses are covered with a Flexible Spending Accountas long as you are getting prescription glasses. Eye care items must be used toward vision correction, or for specific medical purposes to qualify for FSA reimbursement.
Sorry - that means regular sunglasses would not be covered by your FSA.
March 15 FSA Grace Period Approaching?
Have an upcoming Flexible Spending Account grace period deadline on March 15? Not to worry! We have anEye Care bundlewith multipurpose disinfecting solution for contacts, eye masks and more!Shipping is free on this bundle and it comes with a free tote.
You can use your account for eye care for the following FSA eligible expenses:
- An annual eye exam
- LASIK eye surgery
- Over-the-counter reading glasses
- Prescription sunglasses
- Contact lens care
Ask Us About Your Flexible Spending Account
We would love to get more feedback from you.If you have any questions about your Flexible Spending Account, post a comment below!