Are Glasses Tax-Deductible?

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Glasses don’t get their own tax deduction, but there may be other ways you can save on your taxes when you pay for glasses and related costs.

Is there a tax deduction for glasses?

There is no tax deduction or credit specifically for buying glasses. You may qualify for the general medical expenses deduction.

If you’re legally blind, you may also qualify for the additional standard deduction for the legally blind.

How does the medical expenses deduction work?

The medical expenses deduction gives you a general itemized deduction if your total medical and dental expenses exceed 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income.

You can deduct the expenses above 7.5%. For example, if your AGI is $100,000, 7.5% is $7,500. If you have $10,000 in medical expenses, you can deduct $2,500.

The expenses must be expenses that you pay out-of-pocket. Amounts paid by insurance don’t count, but your insurance premiums may count as deductible expenses.

For glasses to count as a medical expense, you generally need to have a prescription. If you don’t have a prescription, your glasses generally aren’t deductible even if you buy them to help your vision.

You can also include related costs, such as eye exams, in your medical expenses.

Can you buy glasses with a Health Savings Account?

You can often buy glasses with an HSA. Like with the medical expenses deduction, glasses usually need to be prescription for you to be able to buy them with HSA or FSA dollars.

If you do use your HSA, you can’t include amounts you paid from your HSA in your medical expenses itemized deduction. You already got a tax deduction for your HSA dollars.

What proof do you need to deduct your glasses?

In order to deduct your glasses or use an HSA, you should keep:

  • A copy of your prescription from your doctor
  • Receipts for your glasses and other costs.

Your receipts should show enough details to show that your glasses were prescription glasses. If the receipt doesn’t, you may need to save additional information such as an online product description page plus the receipt showing you bought that product.

Can you deduct contact lenses?

Contact lenses will usually follow the same rules as above. You can generally deduct prescription contact lenses but not contact lenses you wear for cosmetic reasons.

Can you deduct safety glasses?

If you need safety glasses to do a job, it may be a deductible business expense.

To qualify, you generally must be an independent contractor or self-employed. The glasses also must be made for a specific safety purpose. Regular glasses or sunglasses, even if you wear them for protection, generally won’t qualify since you can wear them in everyday use.

Employees generally can’t deduct safety glasses because employees can no longer deduct work-related expenses. If your employer buys safety glasses for you or reimburses you, your employer usually doesn’t have to include the cost in your income.

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