Can You Claim Eyeglasses As a Deduction on Taxes?

by Amrita Chuasiriporn ; Updated September 11, 2015
You may be eligible to deduct your eyeglasses on your taxes.

If your eyeglasses are prescribed by a licensed eye doctor and are medically necessary, you may be eligible to claim them as a deduction on your taxes. However, the Internal Revenue Service has certain criteria you must meet in order to qualify for this deduction. If you filed returns in previous years for which you missed this deduction, you can file an amended return to claim it.

Itemized Deductions

In order to claim medically necessary eyeglasses as a deduction on your tax return, you must itemize your medical expenses for the year on Form 1040, Schedule A. You can deduct the expense of any eye exams performed in the course of diagnosing and prescribing eyeglasses to remedy your vision problems. If you pay for vision insurance with after-tax dollars, you can include these premiums as a medical itemized deduction.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

Any eyeglasses you claim as a tax deduction must have been purchased during the tax year for which you are filing a tax return. Related eye exams must also have taken place within that year in order to be considered as eligible expenses. Unlike with contact lenses, eyeglass cleaning supplies are not listed as eligible for a deduction as of March 2013.

Amending Previous Returns

If you have just found out about this deduction but purchased eyeglasses last year, you may want to recalculate last year’s taxes to see if you are eligible for the deduction. If you find that you are eligible, you must file the Form 1040X amended tax form for that year. As with other deductions you claim, keep receipts and cancelled checks in a folder with your tax return. That way, if you face an audit, you have ample evidence to support your amended tax return.

Warning

In order to claim a medical expense deduction, you must tally the items on Schedule A, then determine whether that amount exceeds 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. You are only able to deduct eligible medical expenses that exceed this amount. Additionally, you cannot include any amounts for which your medical insurance paid -- whether payment was made to you as reimbursement or directly to your eye doctor. If you use funds from a health-care flexible spending account to purchase your eyeglasses, the amount is rendered ineligible for any deduction.

About the Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker and writer who has written for several online publications, including Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.

Photo Credits