It’s that time again – the “use it or lose it” end-of-year push to make your pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars count! There are a number of qualifying optometric products and services to keep in mind when caring for your eye health and that of your family. You can use your FSA plan contributions to cover your spouse, children, or covered dependents listed on this year’s tax return. It’s always best to confirm any large expenses with your plan’s administrator due to differences in employers’ coverage.
Here are 6 smart ways to protect eye health with your FSA funds:
- Annual Comprehensive Eye Exam
If you’ve put off this important exam all year, now is the time to do it — even if you think your vision is perfect. A standard eye exam consists of vision tests, a glaucoma test, and a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye doctor can even discover many underlying health problems by testing not only the sharpness of your vision but also by examining other parts of the eye during your annual exam.
- Prescription Glasses
If your optometrist recommends prescription eyewear, your FSA funds will cover multiple types of lenses, including progressive and bifocal lenses, as well as the scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings preferred by some patients. If you have an athlete in your family, specialty prescription sports goggles are included in the coverage, as are prescription safety goggles. Items such as eyeglass repair kits, cleaning cloths, and sprays to protect and prolong the life of your eyeglasses are covered items as well. Even if you wear contact lenses, it’s always wise to have a backup pair of prescription eyeglasses for times when you are unable to wear your contact lenses (Hello, pinkeye!). Or, how about a second pair of glasses with those designer frames you’ve had your “eye” on? Give yourself permission to have multiple pairs for the convenience of keeping a pair at home, in the car, or at the office.
- Contact Lenses
Whether you wear daily, monthly, or extended-wear lenses, all are eligible for FSA fund use. Bifocal, multifocal, and toric lenses for astigmatism correction are also covered by FSA. Consider buying an extra 6-month supply, so there won’t be a panic to reorder when you realize you have just used the last of your prescription contact lenses.
- Prescription Sunglasses
Sunglasses are essential to eye health. The sun’s damaging UV rays contribute to the development of eye disease over time, and the sun’s rays, UV exposure, and damage to the eyes occur year-round. Years of sun exposure, even under cloudy conditions, can contribute to cataracts and other eye problems, including macular degeneration and cancer of the eyelids or surrounding skin. UV rays bombard the planet through sun, clouds, and rain 365 days a year, but luckily, sunglasses block 100% of those damaging rays.
- Dry Eye Treatment
People experiencing dry eye either do not produce enough tears, or their tears are not plentiful enough or of high enough quality to lubricate the eye. There are several reasons that patients develop Dry Eye Disease, including medications, age, medical conditions, environmental factors, or extended use of contact lenses. Dry Eye is characterized by dry, stinging, burning, gritty, or itchy eyes that can be very uncomfortable or even painful. There are several FSA-approved treatments for patients suffering from Dry Eye, including prescription medications and eye drops that increase tear production or reduce eyelid and corneal inflammation. More severe cases may require interventional procedures such as duct punctal plugs or meibomian gland expression to relieve symptoms. Your optometrist may also recommend an omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplement to help treat this condition.
- Computer glasses
People who sit in front of computer screens for hours on a daily basis may develop Computer Screen Syndrome. This disorder manifests as dry eyes, headaches, eye twitching, and fuzzy or distorted vision. Specially coated computer glasses can help alleviate the problems associated with too much screen time by blocking the blue light emitted by computers, tablets, and phones. Your optometrist can customize prescription computer glasses to help prevent symptoms of eye strain associated with Computer Screen Syndrome. And they’re an approved FSA fund item.
The bottom line? You can use your FSA contributions to improve and protect the health of your eyes. There isn’t a lot of time left in this calendar year to plan how to spend those hard-earned dollars you’ve already put aside, so it’s time to make it happen.
Your eyes are your window to the world – they deserve the best care possible. That’s what we provide! Pick up the phone and call us today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your optometrist.