Seven Ways to Spend Your FSA Dollars - Smart Vision Labs

The money in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) has to be used within the plan year. As your deadline grows nearer, you may be struggling with ways to use your funds so you don’t lose them.

Fortunately, FSAs are true to their name. They are quite flexible in how you use the money, so long as the funds go toward a medically-related need. Money spent on vision exams and ways to improve eye health would qualify. Don’t leave funds in your account; here are seven ideas on how you might use your FSA dollars to see better.

Vision Exam

If you suspect your eyesight might be sub-par, or if you just haven’t had it checked in a while, a vision exam is a great start to spending some of those FSA dollars. This money may be used to offset a deductible you have on vision insurance or it can be used to pay for an exam. This simple test may alert you to the need for a more thorough checkup, let you know why you’ve been getting those headaches after reading, or just assure you that your vision is indeed perfect.

Eye Checkup

Even if the results of your vision exam were 20/20, you should still visit an ophthalmologist for a more comprehensive checkup. Eye doctors have access to tests and equipment that may catch issues which affect your eye health, even if they aren’t causing vision problems yet. It’s recommended you go every two years; perhaps this is the year for you?

Glasses

Let’s assume your vision isn’t as great as you thought it was. (It happens. Vision problems can progress slowly and sneak up on you.) Some research on the pros and cons of glasses might be your next step. Prescription glasses are relatively low maintenance, improve vision, and can be a great fashion statement. Your FSA dollars can be used for corrective glasses.

Frames

If you already choose glasses as your vision-correcting method, maybe you’d like some new frames to refresh your look. Do you rely on your glasses all the time? Maybe you would like to invest in a second pair in case something happens to your main one. A backup pair of glasses is also recommended for contact lens wearers. If they happen to develop an eye infection or are just experiencing irritation, they should have a pair of traditional glasses as well to allow their eyes to heal.

Contacts

Are glasses incompatible with your current lifestyle (or just your style in general)? You might decide to use your FSA dollars on contact lenses. Contact lenses provide clearer vision, better peripheral vision, and are more suited to an active lifestyle than eyeglasses.

Solution/Cleaner

The items required for maintaining your contact lenses, such as solutions and cleaners, are also generally allowable expenses for an FSA. You definitely want to make sure you only use solutions on your lenses that were made just for contacts. Because contacts rest directly on your eye, it is important to care for them properly to prevent problems such as irritation.

Sunglasses

Although they may seem more like a luxury than a necessity, prescription sunglasses are good for far more than fun in the sun. If you are already wearing prescription eyeglasses, you need accompanying sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

It is worth noting that some FSAs carry a type of limited extension. It may be in the form of a leeway period of about 2 months or by allowing some of it to carry-over into the next plan year (up to $500). The options which may be available to you depend on what your employer chose; they can offer one of these (or neither), but not both.

Like with the extensions, what each plan covers can vary. Before you spend, check to make sure your particular plan covers what you want. And remember, reading over the requirements of your FSA might be easier after an eye exam and corrective lenses, if necessary. Use your FSA dollars to maintain eye health; these plans make it possible and completely affordable.

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