Saving on Eyewear with Your FSA or HSA

When it comes to managing healthcare expenses, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are valuable tools that can significantly benefit individuals and families. These accounts are designed to help you save money on medical expenses, including prescription eyewear and other vision-related costs. Understanding how FSAs and HSAs work can empower you to make informed decisions about your healthcare spending, especially when it comes to purchasing eyeglasses and prescription lenses.


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Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-advantaged savings account offered through employers. It allows employees to set aside a portion of their earnings to pay for qualified medical expenses. The key benefits of an FSA include:

  • Tax Savings: Contributions to an FSA are deducted from your paycheck before taxes are withheld, reducing your taxable income.
  • Pre-Tax Dollars: You can use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible medical expenses, which can include prescription eyewear, contact lenses, eye exams, and even LASIK surgery.
  • Annual Contribution Limits: The IRS sets limits on how much you can contribute to your FSA each year. It’s important to plan your contributions carefully, as unused funds may be forfeited at the end of the plan year or subject to a limited rollover or grace period.

For purchasing eyewear with an FSA, you can typically use your funds to cover prescription glasses, sunglasses with prescription lenses, and prescription contact lenses.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA)

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is another tax-advantaged savings account available to individuals who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). HSAs offer similar benefits to FSAs but with a few key differences:

  • Triple Tax Advantage: In most states, contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible, earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are also tax-free.
  • Portability: Unlike FSAs, HSAs are not tied to your employer. You own the account, and funds roll over year after year, making it a long-term savings vehicle for healthcare expenses.
  • Investment Options: Once your HSA balance reaches a certain threshold, you may have the option to invest in mutual funds or other investment vehicles to grow your savings further.

Like FSAs, HSAs can be used to pay for prescription eyewear, including glasses and contact lenses.


Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

Maximizing Your Savings

When shopping for eyewear with your FSA or HSA funds, consider the following tips to maximize your savings:

  • Check Eligibility: Ensure that the eyewear you select qualifies as a medical expense under IRS guidelines.
  • Keep Receipts and Documentation: Retain receipts and any necessary documentation to substantiate your purchases, especially if you are audited or need to provide proof of purchase.
  • Utilize FSA/HSA Debit Cards: Many FSAs and HSAs provide debit cards linked directly to your account, making it convenient to pay for eligible expenses directly.
  • Plan Ahead: Understand the deadlines and rules associated with your FSA or HSA to avoid losing any unused funds at the end of the plan year.

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By leveraging the benefits of FSAs and HSAs, you can save money on essential healthcare expenses such as prescription eyewear while maintaining your eye health and vision needs. Zenni makes it simple and affordable to find quality eyewear that fits your lifestyle and budget, ensuring that you can see clearly and stylishly throughout the year while maximizing your tax savings.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.