Employee Benefits

Is Vision Insurance Worth It?

3 min read
Feb 14, 2024

One way to maintain your sight is with vision insurance. It can help you pay for regular eye exams, and eyewear, and help protect against vision loss.1

But what if you have perfect vision or your prescriptions haven’t changed in years? Should you get vision insurance if you don’t wear glasses? And just how much can vision insurance cost? We’ll walk through how vision insurance may works and explain the possible benefits.

Understanding vision insurance

To understand why vision insurance is important, you first need to know how it works. Like a traditional health insurance plan, you pay a monthly premium to have a vision insurance policy. If you’re getting vision insurance through your workplace, they may cover some or all of this premium.

Your policy helps to cover routine eye exams, eyeglasses, contacts, and special lenses or lens enhancements like coatings. Rather than paying the full cost for an eye exam, you may pay a copay or a portion of the full cost if you go to an in-network provider. A plan may also offer discounts on laser vision correction.1

How much is vision insurance?

Vision insurance costs can vary based on the type of plan, your location, and whether you have an individual or family plan. But you may be able to get MetLife Vision Insurance for monthly rates that cost less than the average price of a regular cappuccino in the U.S. in 2024.2

How can vision insurance help save you money?3

To get a better idea of how insurance may be able to help save you money, here are hypothetical scenarios to help illustrate the potential savings from a MetLife Vision Insurance Plan (VSP).3 Of course, how much you might actually save depends on various factors, like the plan you choose, how often you and your family visit an eye care professional per year, and the cost of the services and materials you receive.


Vision service Average nationwide cost without a vision plan* Average nationwide cost with MetLife Vision Insurance (in-network) Potential savings3
Eye exam $140 $10 (co-pay) $130
Frame $140 $32 (co-pay) $132
Lenses (bifocal) $139 $0 $139
Ultraviolet (UV) coating $23 $0 $23
Anti-reflective coating $106 $69 $37

*Source: MetLife VSP data from 2023. Comparisons are based on a plan with an $84 annual premium, as well as on national averages and the most commonly purchased brands.

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Potential Benefits of vision insurance

By helping you manage related costs, vision insurance may empower you to care for your vision and get the eyewear you need. It offers a multitude of possible benefits that may include:

● Flexibility to choose a vision care provider

Your eye care should be on your terms. Many vision insurance plans allow you the flexibility to choose from a network of licensed eye doctors, be it an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or optician. You can select from professionals at private practices or retail locations — making it convenient for you. Just keep in mind that using an in-network provider can help lower the cost of out-of-pocket expenses.

May provide coverage for you and your dependents

Vision insurance may include coverage for both you and your dependents. With an employer-sponsored plan, your loved ones can potentially be covered without a significant increase in premiums. If you opt for insurance independently or through the health insurance exchange, additional coverage for dependents may be available. Be sure to explore your options and choose the one that meets your family's needs and budget.

Can help you protect your overall health

If you’re getting routine eye exams with vision insurance, you’re actually watching out for your overall health. Your eye doctor can catch multiple health conditions — such as high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes — just through an eye exam.4

May help you catch vision problems early

Similarly, regular eye exams may help your eye doctor spot potential vision problems, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.5

May help lower the cost of eyewear

Whether you want contact lenses or glasses, vision insurance can help cover eyewear. Some vision insurance plans offer a selection of certain contact lenses and basic glasses that are covered in full or have a fixed copay. These plans may also let you buy designer frames for significantly less than the retail price. Vision discount plans, on the other hand, provide discounted fees for covered exams and eyewear.

Makes lens coatings more affordable

Whether you’re looking for polycarbonate (shatter-resistant) or ultraviolet (UV) lenses, or scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, vision insurance can help. Your policy may cover lens types or coatings at no additional cost or have a fixed copay.

Allows for discounts for laser eye surgeries

Laser vision correction, like PRK, LASIK, and Custom LASIK, may enhance your sight and help reduce your need for eyewear.6 Your vision plan may provide a discount.

Making the most of your vision insurance

Most vision insurance covers an annual eye exam, and it gives you an eyewear allowance for lenses, frames, or contacts.1 Take advantage of these perks by scheduling that annual checkup and getting your new pair of glasses or contacts. This lets you stay on top of your vision eye and keep your eyewear up to date.

Do you need vision insurance?

Vision insurance is a resource that can help you save on vision care, glasses, contacts, and more ‒ helping you cover potentially costly services and materials. Ask your human resources (HR) representative about vision insurance this open enrollment season.

1“Is Vision Insurance Worth It?” Forbes. Accessed Feb 9, 2024.

2“Cost of Living in the United States.” (updated Feb 2024). Numbeo. Accessed Feb 9, 2024.

3Your actual savings from enrolling in a vision benefits plan will depend on various factors, including plan premiums, number of visits to an eye care professional by your family per year, and the cost of services and materials received. Be sure to review the Schedule of Benefits for your plan's specific benefits and other important details.

4“20 Surprising Health Problems an Eye Exam Can Catch,” American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed Feb 2, 2024.

5“Vision Wellness: The Vital Role of Regular Eye Exams in Eye Health and Clarity,” Zenni Optical, Oct 2023. Accessed Feb 13, 2024.

6“LASIK eye surgery,” Mayo Clinic. Accessed Feb 9, 2024

Nothing in these materials is intended to be advice for a particular situation or individual. These materials are for general information purposes only.