In our last blog, we covered how a Flex Spending Account, or FSA, works. While it’s important to be thinking about how to use FSA dollars as you set up an account and throughout the year, many people find that they have leftover FSA dollars as the end of the year approaches.
FSA money expires December 31 of each year, but don’t fret – FSA dollars can be used for many things, including deductibles, prescriptions, and dental and vision care. Here are some ways our patients have used FSA contributions, along with why they may be great options for you.
Eye Exams & Special Testing
When is the last time you had your eyes checked? Though vision and eye health are an important part of our overall well-being, people are often more apt to get a yearly physical and visit the dentist biannually than they are to get a regular eye exam.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 11 million Americans over the age of 12 are in need of vision correction. Unlike a toothache or a sour stomach, poor vision doesn’t often send people to the doctor – because it often goes unnoticed. Until they see the world clearly with prescribed lenses, people may think their vision is fine.
Generally, adults who have no symptoms or vision problems should get a comprehensive eye exam at regular intervals depending on their age:
- Ages 20-39: Every five years
- Ages 40-54: Every two to four years
- Ages 55-64: Every one to three years
- Age 65+: Every one to two years
However – if you wear corrective lenses (glasses or contacts) or are susceptible to eye disease due to health issues or family history, your eyes need to be checked more often than this. There are more than 60 million adults in the U.S. who have a high risk for vision loss, but only half of them had an eye exam in the past year. Making sure you’re up to date with an eye exam can help you maintain your vision and eye health.
In addition to a regular eye exam, there are many specialty tests that help offer a more complete look into the state of your eye health. These tests, which may not be covered by health insurance, could be eligible for payment via an FSA account.
Depending on your vision and your lifestyle, a pair of glasses might be a perfect use of FSA money. FSA dollars can be used for:
- New glasses with an updated prescription
- Specialized computer glasses that help prevent digital eye strain
- Prescription sunglasses to protect you from harmful UV rays
- Safety glasses that are less susceptible to destruction from labor or damaging environments
- An extra pair of glasses (which can come in handy especially if you tend to use them in very particular places . . . or misplace them now and then!)
If you have been thinking about trying out contact lenses for the first time, extra FSA money offers a great opportunity to get contacts, which are a fantastic option for vision correction.
Contact lenses have seen wonderful updates in recent years, particularly in the development of specialty lenses. Many people who thought they weren’t candidates for contacts due to allergies, astigmatism, or a need for bifocals are now able to explore certain types of contacts as a possibility. Uptown Eye Care also now offers Duette HD contact lenses, which have helped many of our clients see sharper and more clearly than ever before.
December 31 Deadline
However you decide to use your FSA money, just make sure you use it! Accounts are cleared of contributions at the end of each year. Because individual FSA accounts differ in what they may cover, we’d love to speak with you about your FSA account. Contact us to schedule an appointment for an exam or lens update, or to speak with us about your FSA.