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It’s National Sunglasses Day

Eligible vision expenses

In honor of National Sunglasses Day, we wanted to highlight eligible vision expenses you can pay for with your pre-tax accounts.

As an overview, a pre-tax account is a type of benefit your employer may offer to help you cover out-of-pocket expenses. There are a variety of different plans and accounts available. Almost all of them allow you to pay for eligible vision expenses not covered by insurance.

Two of the most common accounts are a Health Savings Account (HSA) and a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Both can be used to pay for eligible vision expenses meeting certain criteria under IRS Code 213(d).

Regardless of the account you use, there are a number of eligible vision expenses.

Eligible vision expenses

Prescription sunglasses

This includes transition sunglasses. You can pay for them with your HSA or FSA, as long as they are a prescription pair of glasses. Regular prescription eye wear like reading glasses are also eligible vision expenses.

Lasik or corrective eye surgery

If you want to have laser eye surgery to gain 20/20 vision (or close to 20/20 vision), you can pay for the procedure with the funds in your tax advantaged account.

Eye exams

Most insurance policies provide at least one eye exam each year. If you haven’t scheduled yours yet (or if you have children that need a check-up), you can pay with a pre-tax account.

Contact lenses (and related supplies)

If you need contact lenses for vision correction, they can be purchased with the funds in your pre-tax accounts. However, colored contacts cannot be purchased with pre-tax funds, since the primary purpose of colored contacts is cosmetic, not health-based.

In addition to contact lenses themselves, the supplies needed to care for lenses are also eligible vision expenses. This includes saline solution, enzyme cleaner and contact lens cases.

Eye drops

Eye drops can be a tricky subject when talking about what is eligible. Some eye drops are only eligible with a prescription. Other eye drops can be purchased over-the-counter at local or national retailers.

How do I know if I need a prescription for eye drops? It comes down to the ingredients in the eye drops. If there is a medicated ingredient in the eye drops, chances are that you will not be able to purchase them over the counter without a prescription. However, non-medicated eye drops can be purchased with your FSA card without a prescription.

If that sounds like too much to sort out, just go to the FSA Store. They sort out what’s eligible (and if a prescription is required) for you.


Want to learn more about what’s eligible? Check out these blogs we’ve written:


For more guidance on simplifying the complexity of benefits for maximum savings and peace of mind, subscribe to the Benefit Resource Blog today.