Visiting the eye doctor is an important component in maintaining your overall health. Unfortunately, many people avoid this activity because of the high financial costs.

The good news is that going to the eye doctor doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, by following the below strategies, you could end up paying nothing at all at your next exam! Read on to find out how you can start saving money at the eye doctor today.

1. Go to the Right Place

First things first: you need to figure out exactly where you need to go. Start by asking yourself why you’re going to the eye doctor to begin with. Do you have a physical problem with your eye? Do you want to increase your prescription? Do you want to buy a new pair of glasses? The answers to these questions will greatly impact where you go to get your eyes checked.

There are important differences between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, and an optician. If you have a medical problem with your eye, you’ll want to see an ophthalmologist. If you want to get your vision checked, an optometrist is the best place to go. And an optician can help fit you for glasses or contacts.

You don’t want to spend extra money at the ophthalmologist when you really just need to get your vision checked. Don’t pay for unnecessary tests that do not apply to you. However, places like LensCrafters and other retail stores may not include pupil dilatation and other standard testing without an additional fee. Figuring out where you want to go and what services you need to receive is a vital part of saving money at the eye doctor.

2. Purchase Vision Insurance

No matter what services you require, vision insurance will help you save money throughout your experience. Vision insurance can be added to your existing healthcare plan, providing coverage for any conditions related to your ocular health.

These plans are designed to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for preventive care, routine services, and certain procedures. They can even save you money on glasses. Vision insurance is beneficial to everyone but can be especially important for those who wear glasses or contacts, want access to a large network of providers, and currently have a high deductible from an employer insurance plan.

3. Shop Around for Glasses

When it comes to purchasing glasses, make an effort to shop around and do your research. Many eye doctors tend to push their own stock and want you to purchase directly from them. This is because they work closely with the brands they sell and get a portion of the sale. And while that may be great for them, it’s not always the most cost-effective option for you.

Once you receive your prescription from the eye doctor, take some time to search for the best deal possible. There are many retail stores that sell reasonably priced frames. In fact, some places will even put new lenses into your existing frames for a fraction of the cost!

Shopping online is also an option. There are many glasses websites like Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect that offer great deals. Warby Parker also offers a program that allows you to try on five pairs of frames before purchasing.

Take your time and find the best deal for you. Don’t feel obligated to leave the doctor’s office with a brand-new set of frames just because they’re right there. Doing your research and shopping around can result in big savings.

4. Buy Contacts Online Instead of Through Your Doctor

Just like glasses, contact lenses are also cheaper when purchased away from your doctor’s office. There are many sites like 1-800-Contacts that use your prescription to send contacts directly to your home. These sites tend to be cheaper and offer rebates that could result in big savings!

Another tip? If your prescription hasn’t changed in a year, make sure you order a new supply of contacts before your prescription runs out. This will save you money on an unnecessary eye doctor visit.

5. Search for Discounts

If you’re looking for an eye exam, there are many discounts available. AARP and AAA have discounts for members, and sites like Groupon and Living Social offer deals periodically. Different businesses also offer various specials throughout the year. As always, do your research and try to find the best possible deal before you commit.