Considering nearly two out of every three Americans wear prescription glasses, it's surprising there's so much confusion around the FSA eligibility of eye wear and vision care. What's even more surprising is why more Americans aren't using their tax-free funds to pay for the products and services necessary to maintain proper eye health. And we're not just talking eyeglass repair kits and lens wipes -- there are some seriously surprising eye care items on our Eligibility List.
Since this winter is just getting started let's get ahead of your eye care and protection so you can make the most of the outdoors in the months ahead.
Contact lenses? Yes!
Let's be clear: there are plenty of places to buy contact lenses. But how many of them allow you to choose from a huge range of brands, entirely with your FSA, without wondering if the ones you want are eligible. Maybe we're a little biased, but we think you'll enjoy buying your contacts this way. (Oh, and when you pay with your FSA card, you can skip the receipts process!)
Prevention starts with protection…
No, we're not talking about high school health class… But the same thinking applies. According to a survey from The Vision Council, 75% of American adults in a survey are concerned about UV eye exposure, but only 31% report wearing sunglasses when going outside.
And cloudy days aren't much safer than sunny ones; you can still do some damage when it's overcast, because UV rays break through clouds and can damage unprotected eyes. Prescription sunglasses are FSA-eligible, so what's stopping you from being smarter than the 69% of people who leave their eyes unprotected?
Some lesser-known eye care options
We've used plenty of digital ink showing how laser eye surgery (more commonly known as LASIK) is completely eligible for FSA and HSA reimbursement. And we hope people are realizing that LASIK surgery is often inexpensive enough to cover entirely with their flexible spending funds.
It's not limited to LASIK, either. Medically necessary treatments and routine eye exams are all part of FSA eligible vision care.
Now, for arguably the most surprisingly eligible vision care expense of all -- guide dogs. The National Federation of the Blind has a list of guide dog schools that can connect you or your loved ones with the right service animal, should you need assistance getting around because of visual impairment or blindness.
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.
Yes, vision care is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) eligible expense.
At the end of many plan years, it's not unusual to find people with FSAs shopping for eyeglasses, contact solution, or visiting their ophthalmologists or optometrists.
Taking Care of Your Vision
A 2012 U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute found, the number of cases of glaucoma in the U.S. has increased by 22%. Glaucoma is an eye condition that many may not even realize they're suffering from.
"Risk factors for glaucoma include age, family history, nearsightedness, eye injury or surgery and the use of steroid medications. Race is another major risk factor as, according to the National Eye Institute, glaucoma is five times more likely to occur in blacks than in whites, and blacks are four times more likely to go blind from it. Hispanics are more likely to develop glaucoma after age 60 than any other group." - from Prevent Blindness America
You can look up which vision problems affect your state and then check in with your vision care provider. Routine eye checks never hurt to ensure proper and fast treatment (if possible) of vision problems through services or products to improve your sight.
FSA Vision Care Services
Medically necessary treatments such as Lasik or laser eye surgery, corneal keratotomy, routine eye exams, and eye surgery to correct vision are all part of FSA eligible vision care. Search for local vision care providers within our services section.