Where can I get cheap eyeglasses?

adellabedella_usaNovember 25, 2005

Mine have been missing for a few days. I suspect the 2 yo. My eyes are really bad so I have to wear something when I don't have the contacts in. I only need something functional so I'm not interested in another high dollar pair. I had my eyes checked last year so my prescription should still be good.

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If your eyes really are bad, you need to get a good ACCURATE pair of eyeglasses. This is not the time to go 'cheap"... your eyesight can be adversely affected!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 10:01PM
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There's a chain here in Minnesota called VisionWorld that frequently offers half-price sales; that might be a good bet. They're part of a chain called Eye Care Centers of America; the other stores in the chain may have similar sales. My experience with them is that the product is decent and half off is a better-than-fair price, but it's not the kind of place which will absolutely delight you with their service and I don't think their eyeglasses are a bargain at 'regular' price.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eye Care Centers of America

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 1:03AM
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Costco has cheap eyeglasses and also cheap exams!!! Best price

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 12:10AM
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Costco, definitely.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 8:45AM
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Another place often advertised (and I know a few people who went there and were very satisfied) is called America's Best. They often advertise 2 pair of glasses with exam for about $50. Can't beat that. I'm sure you need to find out up front what could make it more expensive, like special eye conditions, special frames needed or the like.

Worth checking out if you have one in your area.

Here is a link that might be useful: America's Best

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 1:59AM
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Hands down, the best place is http://www.39dollarglasses.com/

You send them your prescription and get excellent designer type frames for $39.00. Honestly, I have spent over $400.00 on a pair before, and can't tell the difference. Was recently named in the Wall Street Journal as better than more expensive glasses.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 11:12PM
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They have America's Best around here, too. I decided long ago that all the cartoon noises in their ads (boings and clinks and bonks and all that) made me wonder what point they are trying to make. I mean, it's only my eyes. Why would I let someone near them when they present themselves as goofballs? :-)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 12:42AM
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In Canada the cost of frames is very high. I read a suggestion to buy reading glass frames or sunglass frames (which are both very resonable) and then buy the lenses.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 7:47PM
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I read a suggestion to buy reading glass frames or sunglass frames (which are both very resonable) and then buy the lenses.

Let me know if that ever works for you. I have had a few family members (including me) try to get new lenses for existing frames and been told -- by several opticians and quickie-eyeglass places -- that it was not possible because lenses come pre-shaped and need only to be ground for a particular frame. Try it, but don't be surprised if the answer is 'no'.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 8:18AM
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Well, I lucked out. DH's insurance now covers glasses and optomitrist visit. I pay whatever copay. It's still cheaper than glasses.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 3:58PM
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I used to pay about $2.50 - $5.00 - $10.00 for reading glasses at discount pharmacy.

Recently have taken to buying them for $1.00 (sometimes $1.50) at the Dollar Store.

Need fairly powerful ones - prefer 4.00.

Probably need to have an eye exam before long, with prescription resulting.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 3:46PM
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Erin I got some from the 39$ place too and was very happy with them. I use the Dollar store glasses as my "walking around glasses" and the others for reading. 4.00

Last year I had an examine and 2 pair of readers for $99 locally.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:17PM
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Thanks for the tip about $39 glasses. I only wear glasses for distance and like to keep regular and prescription sunglasses in the car. My old pairs are too strong...I just had my eyes examined last week. I bought a pair of regular lens glasses locally at a discount store...over $100. I just ordered a pair of sunglasses from the $39 store. They came to $88 with the tinting and lenses I wanted, but still quite the deal for someone who only wears glasses sporadically. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:36AM
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Actually, your best bet is probably the dispensary at the school in your area where opticians train. I go to the county community college. They sell glasses at their cost. The last pair I got? Were designer frames with magnetic clip on sunglasses, I got Varilux Progressive lenses (about the most expensive progressive lens out there), and non-glare coating. Total price for everything? $213. My dd is an optician, but if I'd ordered the same glasses from her store, even with the family discount, they'd have been in the $800-1000 range. My husband's glasses were only about $50--he also had progressive lenses, but not all the bells and whistles I got with mine). There is no way to do better anyplace else around here--with an 'in' in the industry, I know.

And you know, if you go to the college, you're going to get good quality and excellant service, and they only sell the best products. In our case, the glasses sold to the public are made by the professors. The students only do the selling (helping you choose your frame, measuring, writing up the order, then adjusting the frames when they're done)--all under the eye of the professor.

Now, of course, if you live in Pennsylvania, or one of the other states that doesn't require opticians to be trained or licensed, ignore that tip--there are NO optician schools in your state. And by all means, try to go out of state to buy your glasses--you don't want someone off the street meauring and making them for you. YIKES.

As to a year old prescription? Each state has their own rules on that. I think here, if it's over a year old, by law, you have to have an exam and get a new prescription--opticians aren't allowed to fill them at that point or they can lose their licenses.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 6:13PM
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Ok guys, I've got the other websites beat. Check this one out:


Prescription glasses start at $8, including frames, hard case and a little cleaning cloth. I was amazed, but they are really the same frames everyone else has. Shipping is only $5, no matter how many you order. You just put in your prescription and do a little measurement (they tell you how on the website).

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 12:17PM
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Great resources everybody! Now, who can tell me where to go for cheap exams, or is $80 standard. I'm at an age where I'm wearing reading glasses and while I can see distance, glasses are helpful for driving, also.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 9:56AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I like 39 dollar eyeglass too. Great price and I sent in my Brighton frames.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 2:24PM
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You have to consult with your family doctor who is eyes specialist who give full knowledge about eyeglasses...for other information contact me..

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 2:12PM
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Thanks all for the great advice. I figure that between my new glasses from 39dollarglasses and my husband's purchased from Costco today, we've saved about $300 over what we were prepared to spend a few weeks ago. My husband, who wears his glasses all the time and needs lineless bifocals, ordered his from Costco at $200 less than what he paid 2 years ago. Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 8:58PM
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Wow. Thanks guys! This thread could not have come at a better time. I just got back from shopping for eyewear and am still recoiling from sticker shock. The one I liked, (and nobody really likes eyeglasses) were $495 just for the frames alone! Of the other acceptable pairs the cheapest was $275 on sale. They are just plastic. If they can sell *readers* at the dollar store with the already lenses in, they certainly can't be that much more expensive for plastic frames at eyewear shops?

I need glasses for distance. I wish they sold those at the dollar stores like they do the reading glasses. It's not like a person couldn't just try on a few pairs and figure out which ones made them see better. There outta be a law. I mean a law that favors the consumers not the eyeglass industry.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 4:09AM
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I got my distance glasses at 39dollarglasses.com. Mine were $88 plus 6.95 shipping. I paid extra for polarized lenses with tinting. I love them.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 12:05PM
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I don't want to offend, but the comment about $39 glasses and Brighton frames???????? I would not worry about the cost of prescription glasses and buy Brighton anything.

I go to the eye doctor every year for glaucoma test and to see if I need new lens. I use my frames for many years to save money. I don't get any add ons to the lens. If you do you can easily pay $300 + for your glasses. My lens are bifocals and only run around $100 for lens, then use my old frames. I won't miss the yearly glaucoma test.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 10:19PM
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Here is another option. EyeglassDirect.com

FOR YEARS I'VE BEEN wondering why eyeglasses cost so much. Even at LensCrafters, which is to eyewear what Gap is to clothes, you can easily pay $500 for a few pieces of plastic and screws. The last time I went in, I tried on a $250 pair of retro-librarian frames that made me look real smart. So smart that I asked the sales guy why they cost so much. He gave me a funny look. "They're designer," he huffed.

That did it. With a little digging, I found someone offering a much cheaper alternative. Seven years ago optician Randy Appelbaum sold his three Manhattan retail locations to start EyeglassDirect.com, one of the growing number of discount-eyewear Web sites. By typing in your prescription and measurements, you can buy a decent set of specs off his site for as little as $28. His secret: He built a lab in his brick townhouse in the suburban outskirts of Brooklyn. His two Ukrainian assistants, Vladimir and Alex, grind 20 to 50 pairs of eyeglasses a day under the fluorescent lights, using the same equipment you'd find in the back of an optician's store. Alex is moonlighting from his job making lenses for you guessed it à LensCrafters.

Of course, the first thing I ask Appelbaum is why frames cost hundreds of dollars at the typical optician's shop. "I used to buy frames for $20 and sell them for $200," he recalls. He actually starts laughing. "Yep. It's crazy!"

This confirmed my worst suspicions. Sure, you expect merchants to charge something above wholesale to make a profit. A typical clothing store might double its wholesale costs to come up with a retail price, for example. But some opticians mark up frames as much as 1,000%. That probably explains why bazillionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio, the guy who owns major chains such as LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and Pearle Vision, ranks among the world's 50 richest men. "Del Vecchio is raking in the cash!" says Appelbaum, sounding a tad envious. "He has truckloads of it!"

As outrageous as these markups sound, your typical storefront optical shop relies on them just to get by. According to Dublin-based research firm Research and Markets, most do less than $500,000 a year in sales, and like any retail operation, a big chunk of that goes to pay the rent and sales staff. If opticians offer a free eye exam, the price of your specs is also footing the bill for the optometrist's $100,000 salary. And if they make your glasses while you wait, you're also paying for $500,000 in in-store lab equipment. When all's said and done, a typical optician makes a 15 to 20% profit on the average sale à about the same margin Appelbaum enjoys.

LensCrafters, which declined to comment, probably doesn't have much to fear from online sellers. Appelbaum says he has to offer such low prices and a 30-day guarantee because most folks are still too scared to order glasses on the Internet. Still, there may be a mini movement afoot. Eagan, Minn., blogger Ira Mitchell, whose musings about photography and electronics used to attract about 50 readers a day, recently posted an essay titled, "Eyeglass stores are for suckers." Within 24 hours, he says, more than 50,000 readers flocked to his blog to gripe about their own overpriced eyewear and discuss the benefits of buying online.

Back at the LensCrafters store, I ask the sales guy if I can get a discount. He says no, but offers to charge my purchase to a LensCrafters credit card. "You won't have to make any payments for the first three months!" he says. It slowly dawns on me: The glasses are so expensive they come with their own financing plan. Maybe it's time to take a $28 gamble.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 3:28PM
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10 Things Your Eye Doctor Won't Tell You
Smart Money Magazine

1. "I use my eye chart as a crutch."
Managed care continues to put a dent in all doctors' profits, but eye doctors have become especially vulnerable. Falling reimbursements have flattened once-hefty profits on procedures such as cataract surgery, and HMO hassles make it tempting for many patients to blow off that annual eye exam.

As a result, many optometrists (who provide primary eye care) and ophthalmologists (M.D.s who can perform surgery) are adapting shrewder business tactics to keep costs down and patient traffic brisk. For instance: Walk into any eye doctor's office and you're likely to see the trademark pyramid of letters that's at the heart of every eye exam. But some doctors use the eye chart as the main Ñ or worse, only Ñ component of an eye exam. Jeffrey Anshel, an optometrist in Encinitas, Calif., and author of "Smart Medicine for Your Eyes," says that when he gives eye-health presentations, "I hold up an eye chart and ask how many people think this is an eye exam. Everyone raises their hand. But vision is more than reading the 20/20 line. It shouldn't be confused with healthy eyes." A full checkup should include a glaucoma test, a check for near vision (in which you look at a target within reading distance) and dilation of the pupil, so that the doctor can look at the back of the eye to detect cataracts or age-related diseases.

2. "Glasses are my cash cow..."
In 2001, Glenn Ferguson visited the eye doctor for the first time in five years. The 33-year-old engineer from Buffalo, N.Y., says he was prepared to buy new glasses Ñ but not for the $200-plus price tag he was given at his doctor's office. Ferguson considered going elsewhere for the glasses but didn't want to pay for another exam.

Since optometrists and ophthalmologists rarely hand over eyeglass prescriptions without prompting, most people don't know that federal regulation requires eye doctors to release them so that patients can comparison-shop for glasses. And why would they? In order to offset the high overhead of managing a practice, doctors and optical retailers may jack up the prices of glasses they sell from 50% to 80%, estimates Harold Koller, an ophthalmologist in Meadowbrook, Pa. "Some of my friends say the annual profit of having a dispenser in their office is between $25,000 and $50,000." After learning he was entitled to his prescription, Ferguson took it to Wal-Mart, where he found a pair of glasses similar to those at his doctor's office, but for $100 less.

3. "...and contact-lens discounters are my enemy."
Contact lenses are another area where you can save a lot of money, given the chance. Mail-order distributors, discount chains and online retailers offer discounts of about 20%. And while some doctors will hand over the prescription if you ask, many don't have to: There is no federal law requiring doctors to release contact-lens prescriptions.

In this case, the concern isn't completely about profits. Contact lenses can be more problematic Ñ poorly fitting or irritating Ñ for patients than glasses; once a doctor hands over that paper, he loses not only a potential sale, but also control, says Peter Ferguson, a spokesman for the New York State Board for Optometry. "What if something goes wrong? Could this somehow be turned around [to blame the doctor] if the contacts are defective?"

Even though 27 states (including Texas and New York) have their own prescription-release laws, doctors can still make the process difficult for lens wearers. A recent survey by the Consumers Union Southwest Regional Office revealed that more than 50% of Texas optometrists were requiring follow-up visits before they would hand over the prescription.

But there's some good news for patients. Major contact lens manufacturers Ñ including Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision and Johnson & Johnson Ñ along with the American Optometric Association, are agreeing to settlements in federal court on allegations of conspiring to strong-arm consumers into buying contact lenses from eye doctors. The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturers and the optometric association tried to limit contact lens sales to eye doctors or retail outlets and that the association encouraged optometrists to withhold prescriptions from their patients. If you bought lenses after 1998, you may be eligible for a rebate; check out www.freecontactlensrebates.com.

4. "Your kid may not even need glasses."
In school yards across the country, "four eyes" is no longer an insult. Glasses are hot, and eye doctors are ready to cash in on the trend. According to Koller, outgoing chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' section on ophthalmology, children are more likely than adults to want glasses they don't need because "the people they idolize often wear glasses." (Blame that Potter kid.) But kids' glasses can run upwards of $300.

How can you tell whether your kids really need glasses? The most common eye problem in children under five is excess farsightedness (indicated by headaches, eye fatigue and crossed eyes); after five, Koller says, nearsightedness is more likely, evidenced by sitting close to the TV or squinting to see things far away. If your child is showing symptoms, see your pediatrician first, Koller advises. Those headaches could be the result of sinus problems, a learning disability or even migraines, a common cause of blurred vision in school-age children. "Glasses don't cure everything," says Koller.

5. "I blur the truth about laser surgery."
Lasik Ñ the procedure that uses a laser to correct vision by reshaping the cornea Ñ is all the rage with patients and ophthalmologists alike, and it's easy to see why. In the 15 minutes it takes your doctor to zap a laser in both of your eyes, he earns enough to buy a ticket to Honolulu. According to John Pinto, president of an ophthalmic management-consulting firm in San Diego, the typical Lasik practice earns a 30% margin on a procedure that costs the consumer, on average, $1,200 per eye. Furthermore, he says, in any given market of 1 million people, there will typically be about five doctors dividing up an annual $8 million pie.

Not surprisingly, doctors will do whatever it takes to lure patients, from radio ads to free informational cocktail parties. But patients should be wary of those marketing messages. "It's hard to separate fact from fiction," says Kerry Solomon, associate professor at the Storm Eye Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina. One company even sells doctors personalized Lasik education books for consumers that describe them "as the surgeon who wrote the book on Lasik." Another dubious claim: William Trattler, an eye doctor in Miami, received a letter from a local Lasik surgeon trying to turn fellow physicians into customers. In the letter the doctor claims that his center has "the most statistically significant excellent results in the U.S." Trattler disagrees. "How can he compare his results to every doctor in the country when less than 1% of all surgeons even publish their results?"

6. "I learned Lasik in four days."
Is four days enough time to learn how to operate on a patient's eyes? At least one Lasik course director thinks so. The following advertisement was found on EyeWorld.org, an online publication for ophthalmologists: "SUMMER SPECIAL!! Obtain Lasik skills in a four-day, complete training course and avoid the awful 'learning curve.'" Gabriel Child, director of the course in question, The Real Lasik Course, defends his program by saying that he has found no significant difference in complications between the procedures performed by newbies and those done by the teaching ophthalmologists.

But if a Cliff Notes version of surgical training doesn't sit well with you, ask your surgeon how many procedures he or she has performed. Trattler Ñ who learned Lasik at a yearlong cornea fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Ñ says a high number doesn't necessarily mean a better surgeon, but the average surgeon will surmount the learning curve after about 100 cases.

7. "Surgery's wrong for you? Don't expect me to stop you."
To Erik Petersen, a 25-year-old artist from Prescott, Ariz., laser surgery seemed like the perfect solution: He had never liked glasses, and his persistent dry eyes made it hard to wear contacts. Surgery, however, did little to fix his vision. As the doctor worked on his left eye, Petersen felt a sharp pain "that freaked me out" so much that the doctor couldn't operate on the other eye. It was a blessing in disguise. With his left eye, he now sees massive halos over objects, and every morning it "feels like it's glued shut." And since his vision in each eye is now so different, contacts are his only option.

Before surgery, Petersen says, the doctor's staff told him that his pupils were abnormally large and, as a result, he might experience halos and other side effects. "But they made it seem like it wasn't a big deal." He also says he was called a "perfect candidate for the surgery." Petersen's Phoenix-based doctor denies calling him a perfect candidate, adding that "we caution and spend time with people who have larger pupils." (Petersen signed a consent form acknowledging that because of large pupil size he might be at a higher risk for complications.) Trattler says that people who want Lasik because they can't wear contacts may indeed have a dry-eye problem after the surgery. Other patients who should think twice about Lasik: anyone who's had a herpes infection, a lazy eye, or severe myopia or astigmatism.

8. "Sterile equipment? Nope. But hey, we washed it."
Peter Brett, a 42-year-old oncologist in California, was horrified back in 2001 when he read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the eye center where he and his wife had both had laser surgery; supposedly, instead of sterilizing the surgical microkeratome blades, the clinic rinsed and reused them. Brett was so concerned that he and his wife were tested for Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV. (All tests were negative.) In a settlement to an investigation brought by the Medical Board of California, the doctors in question admitted that the protocol was to rinse and reuse a blade on up to four eyes; the board concluded that the doctors departed from the standard of care and placed them on probation.

If not for a former employee, the Lasik center's practice probably would have gone undetected; after all, it's technically legal for doctors to perform Lasik in a nonsurgical facility. According to Glenn Hagele, founder and executive director of the Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance, "all you need is a reasonably clean room." In other words, it doesn't have to be sterile. "Many doctors don't even wear gloves when they do this procedure." Though Hagele believes that risk of infection is minuscule, that's little comfort to Brett, who was "disgusted" that the doctor wasn't sterilizing blades between patients: "As a physician, you know that's how diseases get transmitted."

9. "Open your eyes and I'll be gone."
Ever heard of "co-management"? It's a controversial trend in eye care in which an eye surgeon can share postoperative checkups with an optometrist Ñ who, in turn, gets a cut of the surgery fee. This arrangement sometimes makes sense for patients, especially those who live in rural areas and have had surgery far from home.

But it can also be disastrous, since the risk of complications Ñ bleeding, infection or retinal detachment Ñ are much greater in the first 10 days after surgery, says Alan Mendelsohn, president of Florida's Broward County Medical Association. "There's no other specialty in medicine," he says, "where a surgeon doesn't see his patients postoperatively."

Such agreements are causing outrage in Florida, where it was found that some optometrists, unable to handle severe complications, dumped their patients off at emergency rooms. "Some optometrists in Pensacola were shipping patients to [an ophthalmologist in] Tallahassee for surgery because they were getting $700 per eye in kickbacks," says Mendelsohn. "But if three days later the patient said, 'My eye hurts like hell,' they didn't want to drive 250 miles back to Tallahassee." If you're referred to an out-of-town surgeon by your local eye doctor, ask for the qualifications of the surgeon, the terms of your postoperative care and whether your optometrist has any financial incentive in the referral.

10. "You're a guinea pig."
Eye care is one of the most rapidly advancing areas of science, and the benefits to patients can be life-changing. In fact, it's quite easy to find an eye doctor conducting a clinical trial of some new, experimental treatment. Devices that aren't approved by the FDA for any use, however, require informed consent from all patients. Unfortunately, when it comes to fully understanding the risks, patients are often in the dark.

Richard Galex, an attorney in East Brunswick, N.J., agrees. In the past 20 years, Galex has represented nearly 100 patients who were implanted with an artificial lens to treat cataracts. Many of the lenses didn't fit properly and rubbed against the cornea, resulting in some patients needing corneal transplants; others just lost their vision. According to Galex, many of his clients weren't aware that the lenses weren't FDA-approved. The consent forms "never used the word 'experimental,'" he says. "Everyone said, 'had I known it was experimental, I never would have participated.'"

How can you protect yourself? Linda Puetz, an education specialist at the Kansas City, Mo.-based Midwest Bioethics Center, advises patients to ask whether the doctor has any financial incentive (many own stock in the companies that manufacture the devices). And don't assume your doctor understands all the risks. Check out www.medwebplus.com and www.centerwatch.com, which offer detailed information on ophthalmologic clinical-research studies.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 3:30PM
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I'm an optician and yes, eyeglasses can be very expensive. Lots of people seem to expect Lenscrafters to be cheap, but it is actually one of the more expensive places.

Not getting any upgrades or extras does save money but lots of the extras are very useful and nice to have. It's like a car, you can get a basic new car for $15 thousand, but it's nice to have some of the extras that more expensive cars have.

I strongly recommend an anti reflective coat for most people. This is one area where getting a lower end one doesn't pay. Cheap AR doesn't hold up and is hard to clean. Good AR coats are more expensive but are worth it.

A quality frame can last 4 or 5 years or even more, but I personally wouldn't want to wear a 8 or 10 year old dated looking frame. They sit on your face and can effect how you look like little else.

A good place to go for reasonable priced eyewear is Costco. You can use their optical even if you aren't a member, but you will have to pay cash if you aren't. All the opticians there are certified which I think is important. In many states anyone can fit eyeglasses, no experience needed. Their prices are very reasonable, too.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 5:10PM
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My glasses never look out of style and the last several years I have seen very little change in frames, except for prices, as in designer frames. They have gotten smaller, but have been small for quite a few years.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 11:14PM
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Jonesy, getting inexpensive eyeglasses is preceded by a visit to the ophthalmologist, who does a thorough exam including checks for glaucoma and macular degeneration. I get a quality checkup and he gives me a copy of my prescription. Then I can get my glasses where I want to get them, and yes, we go to the doctor every year.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 12:24PM
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I brought a pair of "drug store" glasses.When I got enough money I went to Sears to buy a real pair.Guess what"? The eye doc.Took my "Drug store" glasses and wrote the RX and charged me $200.00.I told her they were $1.00 glasses and she said it did not make any difference.I have real glasses but I prefer my"drug store" I have a pair in every room.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 5:12PM
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I may go cheap on a lot of things, but not my eyes. I want that yearly check up to see if everything is alright.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 10:09PM
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I always buy my reading glasses from the drug store. I get an eye exam about every year and my ophthalmologist sees no problem with these glasses.

I pay $20 a pair and have them everywhere I need them.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:22AM
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I have 2 pair of glasses that I bought last year at LensCrafters after my eye exam that cost me around $300! I use one for work and one to read during my commute. I also have several pairs that I bought in the drugstore for about $20 each, because I need to have them all over the place. Honestly, I can't even tell the difference between the cheap and the expensive.

I won't skimp on an eye exam, though.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:08PM
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When I was with the working force, I was a Optometric Assistant and also did all the frame buying in our office...That's where the mark up is...Frames might cost us $5.00 and we'd mark them up to $60.00..Also, the lens were very inexpensive...There's a lot of money in "eyes"....

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:52PM
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What irishdancersgram said about frames costing $5.00 and lenses being very cheap is true to some extent but not always.

Yes, you can get frames for $5.00 but these are the bottom of the barrel frames. We use them for our value board where we give the frames away free with lens purchase. Most frames cost much more. We usually pay between $30.00 and $80.00 for a decent non designer frame and often much more then that for designer frames.

Basic plastic or polycarb single vision lenses are inexpensive but prices go up a lot for high index lenses, premium anti reflective coatings, and progressive lenses.

There is also a lot of overhead in a typical office or shop. Our doctor's office has overhead that runs about $50,000 a month.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 1:26PM
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Be very, very careful about discount eyeglasses--especiallly those bought online.

As I mentioned above, DD is an optician. The online discount houses generally make their own VERY VERY low quality, cheap frames. That's not the worst of it, though--they get lenses manufactured in 3rd world countries--lenses that are of such poor quality that no reputable opticians will touch them. Your eyes are NOT something you want to skimp on--you definitely don't want to go with bottom of the barrel products and services.

Let me tell you a story. DD had a patient a few months back who ordered a new pair of glasses. He came back in a few days, and complained he couldn't see out of them, but he could see just fine out of his old pair. She rechecked the glasses he'd ordered from her and they were perfect. She asked to see his old glasses--that he'd gotten from a discount place. The lenses had been put in UPSIDE DOWN. And after wearing them for a few years, his eyes had accommodated to them. DD and his ophthalmologist had to sit down for a consult and come up with a plan to correct the damage. This gentleman is now facing a year, maybe two, visting dd every other week for therapy to reposition his eyes so he'll see properly again. I doubt he thinks those 'cheap' glasses were worth the price at this point.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 4:34PM
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I get my glasses from Specsavers, think the website is www.specsavers.co.uk

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:56AM
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It depends on how cheap you want to get some states sell glasses without a prescription.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 10:53PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I just want to add my two cents about Brighton frames to an old thread. My brighton frames cost $65 and are stylish. At the same time I paid 40 bucks for ugly lowest quality frames from Wal Mart. Considering how much nice frames cost from an optical store, I don't think $65 is much at all. I see frames in the hundreds all the time.
Another one of those judgmental thoughts that nice things have to always cost a lot.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:34PM
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I paid $1 in Target for a pair of readers. Pretty decent quality, too. Found them in a "dollar section".

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 11:37AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I get my readers at The Dollar Tree...for $1.

I break and lose them so badly, that I usually buy 3 or 4 pair at a time. Right now I'm down to 2 pairs and 1 arm (or earpiece) is broken off of each of them. They will do though until I happen to be passing by The Dollar Tree once I ever get off the farm.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 1:02PM
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I am intrigued by the story posted by azzalea.

The man's glasses ordered online had the lenses inserted upside down and his eyes adjusted to them. I am torn as to whether to believe this or not.

On the one hand, this sounds like a "scare story" to keep people from getting eyeglasses online. If the man would complain so easily about not being able to see out of his new prescription glasses, wouldn't he have noticed something when he first got his online glasses?

On the other hand, if a person's eyes can adjust themselves so readily, maybe we should all throw our eyeglasses away and wait for our eyes to adjust, allowing us to see perfectly without them??? Does anybody remember those "glasses" with louvers that were sold by some of the mail-order businesses some years ago that were supposed to train your eyes to see without glasses? Maybe there was something to that after all? (I don't really think so, but, hey, if what azzalea says is true, maybe it's possible)

I've seen so much advantage being taken of people who don't know any better by those in positions of trust (doctors, lawyers, counselors, etc., etc.) that I just don't really trust any of them any more.

I worked for ophthalmologists for four years, as the transcriptionist. I saw things and heard the talk. We ran people through the office like cattle. Yes, we had plenty of overhead but I guess our doctors did all right. They drove expensive cars and lived in expensive homes. They sent all their children to the best schools and colleges. One of the doctors married a trophy wife and she had expensive tastes. They went on cruises and took vacations to foreign countries. But don't get me started on trophy wives. Meantime we had these people on Social Security and they paid $25 a month to try to clean up charges that Social Security didn't pay. I don't know about the eyeglasses as we didn't sell them, just did the exams, cataract surgery, wrote prescriptions. But here's another place for gouging the public and that's prescriptions. $40 for a tiny little bottle of eye drops has got to be the most lucrative deal for someone that there is.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 7:48AM
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Just had to jump in here & let you ladies know that you saved me a bundle of money. I was looking around your site & found this thread a few weeks ago.

I ordered prescription sunglasses from zennioptical.com on one of the recommendations here & they arrived today.

They are designer frames, tinted lenses & they are GORGEOUS!! I mean it, sturdy, beautiful frames & the prescription is perfect!!!

I am so pleased, I wanted to let you all know, my last pair at Sears cost me $521.00 3 years ago!!!!

I am off to order another pair, but without the tint for nite time wear when driving!!!

Thanks a bunch, (I'm usually at the Holiday forum) so glad I snuck over here for a look!!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 5:58PM
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Just had to come back & tell you that I got my second pair from Zenni Optical & they are equally as gorgeous as the first pair. I recommend them highly! The newest ones are clear, no tint, and they cost me $30.00. They are the latest designer frames and hard to believe the price for the quality!!!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 2:20AM
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I see a lot of comments about taking care of your eyes, not skimping on quality, etc in reference to frames. I don't see the connection with frames and quality eye care. Lenses, yes but frames? They don't have to be expensive.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:41PM
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If you ask for a place where you can get affordable eye examination, prescription as well as get to choose from a range of glass frames, contact lenses, I would suggest Killeen Eyecare Center. Its the best one I have been till now.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:08AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Inexpensive frames tend to be much more uncomfortable but it's definitely possible to find a good fit. I say that's a great place to save $, if you are comfortable in them.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 3:02PM
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For great customer service, we can happily recommend Zenni Optical. Our co pay is 75.00 for eyeglasses from a regular optical shop. we have never paid more than 55.00 to Zenni!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:55PM
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I went to WalMart. They don't buy the frames from that Italian company that owns all the other eyewear stores including Sears Optical, Pearle Vision, and Lenscrafters. I REFUSE to pay $200+ for a $20 frame!

I get a money back guarantee also. And since I have no need for "designer" frames with somebody else's name on them I can get my glasses for under $100.

I've had my current glasses for 4 years now and they're just fine.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 7:41AM
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