- Mary Caldwell For the AJC
If you don't have vision insurance in Atlanta, the costs to take care of your eyes can add up quickly. By the time you pay for a vision exam and basic eyeglasses, your out-of-pocket expenses can be high. And if you need bifocals or progressive lenses, you'll pay even more.
The following are some ways to get the eye care you need in Atlanta – more affordably – even if you don't have vision insurance:
Order the lenses and frames online
Have your vision checked by a local eye doctor and have the prescription for your glasses filled online. Get an updated prescription, and also ask the doctor to record your pupillary distance (P.D.), which measures the distance between your pupils. Armed with this information, you can order your glasses from online sites such as Zenni Opitcal, EyeBuyDirect and GlassesShop. You can often get glasses for $20 or so, with progressive lenses or bifocals doubling the price.
Costco Wholesale offers more than just huge packages of toilet paper – it also has its own vision care centers. Consumer Reports found that the wholesale club is the best retailer for glasses, with a complete pair averaging about $186.
Groupon often has a long list of deals for eye care in the Atlanta area, often including an eye exam and a credit toward glasses. The eye care providers, deal details and the amount you'll pay up front vary, as does the amount you'll end up paying out of pocket. If you have any questions about your total cost, contact the individual providers for an idea of the price range.
If you have no or very low income, the following sources may be able to help:
Federally qualified health centers in the state belong to this organization. Some provide vision screenings, and you can search online for the one closest to you.
Check with the Georgia Charitable Care Network
Georgia's network of charitable care clinics provides services at no cost or a low cost. Some, but not all, clinics offer vision services, so check the list and contact ones close to you to find out if they do. Each clinic has its own income and other requirements.
Use mobile clinics from the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation
The Foundation's mobile clinic offers an eye exam as well as one pair of eyeglasses to patients. It visits 34 sites throughout the state, including Ben Massell Dental Clinic and Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta and Norcross and Redeemer's Medical Center in Norcross.