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Organizations That Help Provide Eyeglasses: Lions Club & Others

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Many organizations around the country recognize the financial burden that eyecare and eyeglasses can put on families. Financial assistance via these organizations makes eyecare available, often at no cost, to the individual.

In addition to organizations that cover the costs of eyecare, many offer help purchasing new eyeglasses.

Eyeglasses are an expensive necessity for many people. The average cost of a new pair of glasses is about $200, not including an eye exam.

Paying for new glasses can be a challenge, but organizations and programs throughout the country are dedicated to making eye care affordable and accessible for everyone.

Organizations That Offer Financial Support for Eyecare

Many organizations around the country recognize the financial strain that eyecare and eyeglasses put on families and individuals. For individuals who qualify, financial assistance is frequently offered to help diagnose and treat eye problems. You just need to know where to look for help.

The National Eye Institute (NEI) maintains a resource on financial aid for eye care. While NEI does not help to pay for eye care or treatment, they provide information on organizations that may be able to help.

These organizations offer financial assistance for eye exams, surgery, or glasses:

  • Lions Club International: A volunteer service organization, the Lions Club has chapters in communities throughout the country and around the world. Many local chapters offer programs that sponsor new eyeglasses or cover the costs of eye care. The Lions Club online locator can help you find a Lions Club near you.
  • EyeCare America: For eligible individuals over the age of 65, as well as people at an increased risk for glaucoma, EyeCare America provides comprehensive eye exams and eye care at no cost. To find out if you qualify for the program and how to apply, visit EyeCare America’s website, which is part of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  • Operation Sight: Offered through the ASCRS Foundation, Operation Sight provides cataract surgery to low-income individuals living in the U.S. who could otherwise not afford surgery. Visit the Operation Sight website to learn about the patient qualification process and how to apply.
  • InfantSEE: To ensure the early detection of eye problems in babies, InfantSEE was established by the American Optometric Association as a public health program. No-cost eye assessments are offered for infants, at 6 to 12 months old, at age 3, before starting first grade, and then every year following, regardless of income or access to insurance. Participating optometrists and locations can be found on the InfantSEE website.

Organizations for Free Eyeglasses

In addition to needing financial assistance for routine eyecare, many people could benefit from help with paying for eyeglasses. Some organizations, like the Lions Club, fund programs that cover eyecare as well eyeglasses.

These programs help pay for eyeglasses:

  • New Eyes for the Needy: This program buys thousands of pairs of new glasses each year for low-income individuals who otherwise could not afford glasses. Visit New Eyes online to find out more about the program and apply for eyeglasses.
  • Sight for Students: A Vision Service Plan (VSP) program, Sight for Students provides children in need, ages 19 and under, with no-cost eye care and prescription glasses from local doctors.
  • Eyes of Hope: Through VSP, three versions of Eyes of Hope are available: Eyes of Hope Full Coverage for individuals in need of a no-cost eye exam and prescription glasses; Eyes of Hope Materials for individuals who have insurance coverage for an eye exam but not prescription glasses; and Eyes of Hope Disaster Relief for individuals affected by a disaster and in need of no-cost eye care and replacement glasses.
  • Essilor Vision Foundation: By partnering with local communities, the Essilor Vision Foundation provides vision screenings, exams, and eyeglasses to underserved children at no cost to their families.

In addition to the above organizations, Medicare and Medicaid are offered as affordable health care coverage solutions to individuals and families that qualify. Exact vision benefits vary by state, but many programs offer some vision coverage, such as for annual exams, especially for children. Some states offer coverage for new eyeglasses as well.

Costs Associated With New Eyeglasses

If you or a family member needs eyeglasses, you are probably aware of the expense associated with a new pair of glasses. Glasses are essential for people with certain refractive eye issues to see clearly and perform daily functions successfully. For the people who need them, glasses can be a high annual expense to cover.

On average, a new pair of glasses in the U.S. costs just under $200. Discount lenses and frames may be available for as little as $8 per pair, while high-end glasses can cost well over $600.

In addition to the cost of the glasses, you are likely to also incur:

  • The cost of an annual eye exam, which averages just over $100.
  • Additional costs for specialized lenses, frames, and coatings.
  • Costs for upgrades, which range in cost from $20 to $300, depending on what you need.

Getting a new pair of eyeglasses can quickly add up to a bill that is hard for families and individuals to cover. Fortunately, there are many organizations across the country dedicated to making eye care and treatment accessible to everyone, no matter your income level.

Paying for Glasses

Paying for new eyeglasses, especially if multiple people in your family need them, can feel like an overwhelming financial burden. Fortunately, there are many organizations throughout the country that value the need for clear vision and access to high-quality eye care for all.

If you don’t have vision coverage, or your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of new glasses, resources are available to help make them more affordable. Explore the organizations discussed above to see if you qualify for a free eye exam or pair of eyeglasses.


  1. Eyeglasses Cost. Cost Helper Health.
  2. Financial Aid for Eye Care. National Eye Institute.

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