Is there a logical reason why new eyeglasses cost $300-$500? Could I find a better deal online? These are the questions that have been swirling around in my mind as I search for a pair of new glasses before the end of the year (and the end of our 2006 flexible spending account). I’ve always suspected that eyeglasses were overpriced (my eyes are bad, but $500 bucks???), and now I have proof.
How to Buy Cheap Eyeglasses without Risking Quality
We stumbled upon this very informative blog post at 3mew.com called “Eyeglasses Stores are for Suckers”, where the blogger wrote about his struggle to find reasonably priced eye wear and how he was able to find a solid pair of glasses, including lens with all the fixins, for less than $100. I did some follow-up research and found that according to an MIT report on vision correction in developing nations, the cost of mass produced glasses is around $2 a pair.
Why the high cost of glasses then? Well, you’re paying for overhead like rent for the store, advertising, etc. Plus, frames is where most of the eyeglass stores make their money. Also the powers-that-be know that blind folks like myself really need glasses to live.
That being said, I, like most eyeglass wearers, like to try on frames before purchasing them. It’s virtually impossible to tell how a frame will look on your face WITHOUT trying them on.
So here’s what you do…
Always, always go to a board-certified Ophthalmologist (especially if you have insurance that will pay for it) and get an eye exam. Once you have a prescription, head to retail stores like Len Crafters and/or a local eyeglass store, and use these stores as “fitting rooms” to find out what brand fits your face, personal style, etc. Write down the frame details- manufacturer, style number, etc and then head online to eBay or to your nearest Costco or Sam’s Club to see if you can find it for less. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save ( up to $200 OFF regular prices).
Last week on eBay, I saw Chanel and D&G frames selling for around $100, about a $400 saving off store prices. I would get my lenses created a reputable store for my main pair of glasses, but try some of the online shops for extra pairs or if you wear your contacts more than your glasses.
TBF Note: I went ahead and purchased glasses via our eye doctor and our vision saving plan (VSP) mostly because we need to use the money up.