We Didn’t Need New Glasses, But We Bought Them Anyway!

Now I understand you’re probably scratching your head; I mean c’mon, why the heck would anyone on the path to financial independence buy glasses when they don’t actually need them? The answer is simple. We spend plenty (read: a ton) of time staring at computer screens, iPad screens, iPhone screens – yeah, we still have iPhones – and we wanted to filter out the blue light for the health of our eyesight. Last time I checked, eyes were fairly important and I wouldn’t want to try to live without them. It’s bad enough we have to deal with aging and the natural decline of our eye function, no need to help it along!

We’re all about saving money on glasses around here, but not at the expense of our eyesight. You see, a few weeks ago I went for my annual eye exam.

Good news: My prescription didn’t change at all. Woot!

Bad news:  My old glasses didn’t have the special built-in blue light filter.

In case you were wondering, excessive blue light from the devices mentioned above, can actually cause macular degeneration! Eek!

Annual Eye Exams


About two years ago I succumbed to my slightly blurry vision and went for an eye exam to get my very first pair of glasses. Blah. Much to my surprise, I actually felt cool picking out my new glasses and sporting them for the first time. I still really enjoy my glasses. After all, I can actually see clearly these days! I made up my mind to incorporate annual exams into my yearly routine. Frugality be damned when it comes to the health of my eyes!

Not too long after that, Mini boarded the I need glasses train. And with that, we became a family of 3 needing annual eye exams and routine spec upgrades.

Thanks to my W-2 job, which I love, by the way, we are able to have our annual exams along with new glasses for a tiny out-of-pocket cost. This year, I didn’t need a new prescription! My old glasses worked just fine. You know I was super excited when I found out I wasn’t going to have to drop ANY money on new glasses. I think I skipped out of my eye exam! #don’tjudge

See also: My Incredibly Boring Plan To Manage A $200 Windfall

Blue Light Filter



Our new specs!

But wait! What?! Yeah. Did you know you can now have a blue light filter built-in to your glasses? I found this out as I was skipping through the doctor’s office after my exam.

Now I know my iPhone has a Night Shift mode which I often use to filter out blue light (I think?) before bedtime, but I had NO IDEA that I could actually have this built-in to our glasses!

What I DID know was that each of us spends exorbitant amounts of time looking at screens. We’re not proud of this, but it is true. Our little Mini is definitely an active kid, but that doesn’t stop her from winding down in the evening building fortresses in Minecraft or watching stuff on her iPad. Again, don’t judge. She reads too!

Fortunately(?), Mini got her very own pair of glasses last year for astigmatism. Poor thing. She was blind as a bat and we didn’t even know it. It wasn’t until the teacher told us she thought she was having trouble seeing the board that we picked up on it. After we talked to her about it, she told us that the board was so blurry she would just “listen” to the teacher. I felt terrible, but I guess it happens. I felt better when our pediatrician told us a similar story about his eyesight and his own mother not picking up on it. Apparently, kids hiding their poor vision from parents can be A Thing.

As soon as Mini’s exam rolls around in the fall, we plan to upgrade her specs to include a blue light filter, too!

See also: The Long And Sometimes Windy Road To Financial Independence – Vol. 1

Insurance Coverage


Mad Money Cat

Mad Money Cat has perfect eyesight. #noglasseshere

Fortunately (or unfortunately), I am still working my W-2 job which affords me fantastic healthcare, including dental and vision. Since my prescription, along with Mini’s prescription, are fairly mild, we enjoy a very low co-pay to cover the cost of specs. We’re talking about $40 on a $400 pair of new glasses. Yeah. I am NOT complaining one bit. Mr. MMM’s glasses cost a bit more since his eyes require a bit more magnification, shall I say? 🙂

We’re all about saving money on glasses and not buying stuff but, since our coverage is so wonderful, I felt it was a no-brainer to upgrade our glasses to include the blue light filter. Interestingly, adding the filter didn’t add anything to our co-pay! I had my annual appointment about a week before Mr. MMM had his annual appointment. We both decided it would be worth the cost to upgrade, despite having the same prescription as last year.

Total out-of-pocket cost for new and improved glasses was about $250. Without our insurance coverage, it would’ve set us back a total of about $1,200. In comparison, a measly expense of $250 was worth the health of our eyesight.

See also: Why We Refuse To Buy A Bigger House For Occasional Guests

The Decision To Upgrade Our Specs


They really had us at macular degeneration. Macular degeneration can actually be a result of too much blue light. Apparently, recent studies have concluded that blue light can contribute to retinal damage and possibly lead to macular degeneration. And, macular degeneration can result in blindness. Yikes.  Since we really value being able to use our eyesight on an almost constant basis each day, we sprang for it and haven’t looked back. No pun intended.

What are your thoughts on dropping some dough on upgraded specs with a blue light filter? Have you done it? Was it a waste of our money? Or, is money spent on healthcare, money well spent?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Jun 14, 2017, 5:23 pm

    We don’t wear glasses (knocks on wood), but I’m all for spending on health. Every time I’ve tried to save money related to health, it just costs me more in the long run. Glad you’re protecting your peepers!

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 20, 2017, 8:12 pm

      Health is always #1! I’m not happy that I wear glasses. ugh. I never thought I’d get “so old” hahaha. I guess it happens to the best of us. 🙂

  • Mrs. Groovy Jun 14, 2017, 4:39 pm

    I had no idea about the blue light filter! Thanks for sharing.

    We’re due for eye exams which we’re covered for under COBRA vision. The fee for the vision portion is nominal and you don’t need to opt in for medical to get it. I’ll be sure to ask about the filter.

    OK, so up until not too long ago I thought astigmatism was two words and had no idea what it meant. Kudos to Mini’s teacher for picking up on her struggle and filling you in.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 20, 2017, 8:14 pm

      Yes! You definitely must ask for the blue light filter! I had no idea either, until my exam this year.

      We were really fortunate to have such a “tuned in” teacher!

  • Ryan @ Just Another Dollar Jun 13, 2017, 7:42 am

    Thanks for the insight! I’m looking at updating my glasses this summer and will definitely check out the blue blockers. I had thought about getting a pair last year but forgot. As someone who spends about 80% of his waking hours in front of screens I feel like these would make a big difference.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 13, 2017, 9:55 am

      Yeah, if you’re spending that much time starting at screens, it’s definitely worth the upgrade!

  • Felicity (@FelicityFFF) Jun 13, 2017, 6:25 am

    We recently got blue light filters too!

    I honestly can’t really tell a difference…but it might be one of those things you don’t notice unless you switch back and forth (or won’t notice but will still be good for your health). It ended up being ~$75 online for one pair (fairly high near vision prescription + thinner lenses + blue light filter), so $40 copay for a pair is quite reasonable (husband’s old vision insurance was pretty awful in comparison — something like $150 copay after picking the cheapest frames in the shop. His glasses broke and it would have been $80 just in processing fees to fix them, even though they were covered under a warranty o.O).

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 13, 2017, 9:54 am

      Kudos for you for switching to the filter! I think I can tell a difference, but it could just be psychosomatic 🙂 Either way, it’s must better for the eyes. I guess having vision insurance at all is a luxury these days, despite how good or bad it might be.

  • Teacher Investor Jun 12, 2017, 6:42 pm

    This is one of those ‘frugal’ areas that drives me nuts. You know . . . the Zenni, Warby Parker, Clark Howard online glasses crowd . . . Glasses are not simply a tool. They are part of your overall eye health. So much of your overall health can be diagnosed through your eyes (i.e., that huge bundle of nerves located close to your brain). I applaud your proactive eye health efforts . . . stay on top of those peepers. Oh, I also have the blue light filter . . . you’ll love them and notice alot less strain.

    • Felicity (@FelicityFFF) Jun 13, 2017, 6:33 am

      Oh, is there a difference in quality? I’ve tried looking to see any actual studies or the like about online glasses vs the “typical” route through an optometrist, but I was only ever able to find unscientific arguments from optometrists, who, you know, kinda have a financial interest against the use of online vendors.

      I’ve had glasses since grade school and have been going online for them for ~7 years now. They have the same options (blue light filter, etc), and I haven’t noticed a difference in quality, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 13, 2017, 9:52 am

      I must say, I am truly enjoying the filter and I do notice a difference!

  • LizzyI Jun 12, 2017, 2:33 pm

    Thanks for this post. I didn’t know those types of glasses were available. I wear contacts all the time except when I am sleeping, but I might consider buying glasses to wear while doing some of my computer work.

    • Mad Money Monster Jun 13, 2017, 9:51 am

      We didn’t know it either, until we went for our eye exams!

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