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Home » Health, Health Insurance

Why Eyeglasses are so Expensive & how you can Pay Less

Last updated by on June 28, 2016

Ever wonder why eyeglasses are so expensive?

60 Minutes had a really interesting piece on the Italian eyeglass manufacturer, Luxottica that helps explain why.

Luxottica manufactures just about every designer eyeglass brand in the market – Gucci, Prada, Ray Ban, Oakley, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Chanel, Chaps, Paul Smith, Vogue, etc., etc…

Not only that, but they also own or run the retail channels – Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Sunglass Hut, and Oliver Peoples. All but a few brands sold at these retailers are made by Luxottica.

AND they even control some of the payment channel by owning the second largest vision insurer, Eyemed.

So not only do they manufacturer a large majority of the glasses (their CEO estimated that at least half a billion people own a pair they manufactured) – but they also set the prices. If you’re an optician or retailer, you want their brands. If you’re a brand, you want to be in their stores. You have no negotiating room, and when you do compete, Luxottica refuses to sell your brand at their stores, and then buys you out after your stock sinks, as they did with Oakley.

If you are insured by Eyemed and buy a Luxottica brand from Lenscrafters, for example, Luxottica has made the glasses, sold you the glasses at prices they’ve set, and even paid for part of the glasses.

I won’t say the “M” word, but they control the market.

So what can you do to avoid paying so much for glasses?

How to Avoid Paying High Prices for Eyeglasses

why the price of glasses are so highAs consumers, we are willing to pay a lot for eyeglasses. They are functional, they protect our eyes, they grace our beautiful faces, they are a focal point for those who look at us, and some of us are completely disabled without them.

So long as we are willing to pay high prices for glasses, Luxottica and others are going to charge us high prices. Luxottica is banking on us being in the dark on why prices are so high, so we think it’s just the way it is. But we are partially at fault for not being informed, or being informed and not caring.

Should we pay hundreds for a pair of glasses when they cost so little to make?


And as an informed consumer on the path to financial bliss, HELL NO!!

So what can you do to avoid paying so much for eyeglasses?

Tip #1: Do not buy brand name eyeglasses.

You will pay an exorbitant amount for the name punched on that frame. And since Luxottica owns most of those brands and sets the prices and their profit margins, you pay even more.

I’m sure we’ll here the quality argument in the responses, but name stamped on frame does not equal quality when it comes to glasses. It’s no different than grocery store brand name/generics. I’ve purchased a number of high quality, off-brand eye glasses that have stood the test of time and abuse better than more expensive brand names.

If you’re trying to impress others with that brand stamped on your face, you’re impressing the wrong people for the wrong reasons. And you’re getting price gouged to do so.

Tip #2: Use your HSA or FSA to pay tax free.

You can annually contribute pre-tax funds to an HSA or FSA and then use those funds to pay for your glasses. If you’re in the 33% tax bracket, you’ve just saved yourself 33% on your eyeglasses. Congrats! Note: this only applies to prescription glasses.

Tip #3: Buy your glasses online. Stay away from brick and mortar retailers.

You can buy a great pair of prescription glasses online (lens included), for less than $40. Non-prescription glasses are even cheaper. There is enough online price competition going after this informed consumer audience, that prices have stayed low. These guys have carved out their own niche online. They don’t compete for un-informed consumers like Luxottica does.

I’ve covered how to buy glasses online previously, and in that post I recommend a few low-cost online eyeglass retailers, and you can easily find a quality pair of glasses online for less than $30 (frame + lens).

Ultimately, once again, it pays to:

  • be informed
  • act on it

Eyeglass Chat:

  • Will this knowledge of Luxottica dominance change your eyeglass purchasing behaviors?
  • If you’re still pro-brand name, what is the justification?
  • If you’ve purchased glasses online, what is your favorite online eyeglass retailer and why?

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 10,000+ others by getting FREE email updates. You can also explore every post I have written, in order.

  • HP says:

    After buying online, I will never buy eyeglasses again from the eye doctor/retailer. I had a great experience with Warby Parker.

    • Ed says:

      I just saw them, thanks for the tip. It’s absolutely ridiculous how Luxottica can get away with this stuff. I thought cornering a market was illegal, and after seeing that show on CBS how Luxottica pushes out competitors, now THAT I know is illegal yet they get away with it. It would be interesting to know how much money Luxottica “donates” to politicians. I was in the eyeglass store yesterday, $300 for frames that looked identical to $5 sunglasses I saw in a newspaper stand.

      • licensed optician says:

        This whole frenzy about Luxottica is ridiculous. If 60 minutes and the author had done their homework they would have discovered that while Lux is the single largest there are several other frame manufacturers that are almost as large (at least as far as frame manufacturing is concerned). Where they differ is that they don’t have retail outlets, they sell to the eye Dr’s and independent opticians of which I am one. They manufacture a better quality frame and these “retailers” also offer a far better quality lens than you will get either online or at one of the Lux. outlets ( sears, lenscrafters, or target for example.) The quality of the frames usually offered on line is quite frankly crap. I have had several patients try online glasses only to come in and order new glasses after only a month with their online “bargains” and when I deliver their glasses they have actually thrown the online glasses away. In fact I have with their permission taken a couple as examples of what you can expect online.

        There is a reason why most states license their opticians. It’s because there is more to eyeglasses than meets the eye. (Like the pun). In most cases the measurements need to be accurate. This becomes more critical when we start wearing bifocals. Make the wrong measurements here and the glasses might just be worthless.

        As to the cost most optical shops that I know use the typical 2.5 times markup. This allows for a reasonable profit after all expenses are accounted for including overhead, ins, etc. I seriously doubt that you see your optician or optometrist running around in a mercedes. Your Ophthamologist on the other hand probably does.

        • Eric Gates says:

          Meh. You seem to gloss over the persistent issue: Why on earth are such easily manufactured, cheap-to-make, etc. frames (and lenses worth 400 dollars or more?

          Answer: because people are willing to pay it?

          That doesn’t satisfy me. I buy perfectly good glasses for 1/10th the cost at or and have been very satisfied with the fit, look, and function of these companies’ products.

          You independent folks are going to have to compete one day.

          Please bear in mind that billions of dollars are literally wasted each year on overpriced glasses, and that money is finite. Middle class kids are having their educations damaged, eating cheaper food, riding around in less safe cars, and a hundred other little insults because families are over paying for glasses. And it has to stop now.

        • Eli says:

          And this is why I wear custom hard contacts. I avoid all this nonsense. I buy my backup frames from Warby, Costco, or some other non-Luxottica company. I then have them shipped to the UK where I get HD glass lenses that last for years without a scratch and are super thin. (They won’t give you glass in the U.S. for some reason.)

          I used to adore Oliver Peoples, but noticed around 2007/8 that quality took a dip. Low and behold that is about the time they were acquired by Luxottica via Oakley who couldn’t figure out how to get around Luxottica for some reason. Costco offered them a great deal and they balked. Now they regret that decision. Oh well, live and learn.

          I enjoy dodging Luxottica. My optician thinks the quality is dreadful, but her owner insists on selling them, so I just get my evaluation done there. They pretty much lost my business otherwise.

        • Tam says:

          When glasses cost >$300 with good insurance there is a problem. I bought my online and will continue to do so. Tell your crap to my wallet.

        • Jim lind says:

          I just came from lens rafters the ray Ban frames were only 159 it was the other 900 dollars that could not be explained no way that 900 dollars worth of craftsmanship or any other thing goes into making lenses.

        • Smokin Paul says:

          To licensed optician
          Sorry we are not buying your crap ie both what you say and the low quality product you claim is high quality. LOL

          The glasses I buy online are far superior to anything I can get locally and the cost is a small fraction. As far as bifocals yes you need to be sure the measurements are correct. So what you are saying we are all too stupid to actually understand and make those measurements. Yeah only someone licensed by a government can do it. We all know how well government works. lol 🙂

          Sorry to burst your bubble but you are way off the mark. Of course when people bypass your services it hurts your bottom line. We feel so sorry for you. 🙁 Yeah no. 🙂

    • bill says:

      I hoped like hell they would be good. The focal point was too high. I had to raise up the frames to look through the right point. They really were terrible. Maybe I am too fussy. Even the optometrist can get this bit wrong and then you are stuck until you have had enough and try again, When I finally get a good pair, it’s like the world opens up. Only cost me $100 to find out so it was worth it.

  • Amanda M says:

    I have made 4 different purchases from Zenni optical, and I recommend them to pretty much everyone I know. I do add the stipulation that you need to know your facial measurments (not just your PD and your prescription) for the best results. As an example, I have a wide face [not a fat head :)] so when I order, I know that my frame width needs to be at least 133 mm, but not over 138 mm, because that would be too wide. There is not a good way to return the glasses while getting any money back unless there was a mistake on their part. I’ve had a few pairs fit weird, but I’ve never had a pair that I couldn’t wear.

    I love the tint options for sunglasses (I’ve had 3 pair as my prescription has changed). I get the anti-glare coatings on un-tinted glasses, which range from 4.95-14.95 right now and they work great. My suggestion is to always order more than one pair. At the average price for my glasses, which is $15, the $4.95 shipping rate seems like a lot. Sometimes they’ll discount the shipping based on promotions, but $5 on a $50 order isn’t so bad.

    When people compliment my glasses, one of my favorite things to do is mention how much they cost. They are always astounded, and ask where I got them.

    • barbara says:

      I know this post is old, came up while googling something else. I agree i use zenni optical for my self and my husband. 1/3 cheaper then glasses where I live, and we had ins. Perscription has always been correct.

  • Mary says:

    Seconded, HP! I LOVE Warby Parker. Amanda M, they’re more expensive than Zenni but they will send you frames for free to try on before you buy. Go to their site, pick out five pairs you want to try, and they mail them right to your house free of charge. I can’t buy frames without trying them on (I’m terrible at judging what will actually look good on me) so this has been a lifesaver for me.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    I will also never buy again from the doctor/pharmacy. My current pair of frames came from Kaiser, at a cost of less than $300 out the door.

    I’m going to try buying online.

  • Bill says:

    “If you’re trying to impress others with that brand stamped on your face, you’re impressing the wrong people for the wrong reasons. And you’re getting price gouged to do so.”

    At least your article didn’t come off preachy… Oh wait.

    Do you also yell at expensive cars, as they drive down the road, letting them know that they could have bought a Kia, with a 10 year warranty? Or better yet, ride a bike?

    As far as Luxottica, let me give a couple words of advice. First, companies have been vertically integrating since the term was invented. This is good for stockholders, which is what companies are structured to satisfy. Jobs are being created. The economy is being stimulated. If you are choosing to specifically come against all other vertically integrated companies, then sharpen your pencil, because you’ve got a lot of writing ahead of you.

    Second, please do more research than watching ’60 minutes’ for 12 minutes. Just like most anything else… some parts are true, some parts aren’t. The only way to get to the bottom is to dig deeper than watching television.

    Third, Luxottica only has about 20% marketshare. There is other fierce competition in manufacturing, and retail (Walmart, Costco). Again, a little research goes a long way.

    In the end though, good call on the HSA, and I have had some great experiences with Warby Parker.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      “Do you also yell at expensive cars, as they drive down the road, letting them know that they could have bought a Kia, with a 10 year warranty? Or better yet, ride a bike?”

      Actually, yes… my favorite past-time. This is a personal finance blog, man!

      • Bill says:

        Fair enough. I enjoy your website, but thought you were a bit ‘prescriptive’ (pun intended) with the tone of the article. In my opinion, it’s worth pinching pennies in meaningless parts of your life, in order to put them towards a purchase that sits on your nose every day for 2 years. In addition, you might not think that there are sacrifices to your frame /lens quality when you buy them for $39, but there certainly are. Whether many perceive that lack of quality is a different discussion. What is certain though, is that the frames won’t be fitted as well, and the lenses won’t be placed as well. I’ve had to send multiple pairs of online glasses back for this reason. When I took them to my eye doctor to see if the precription was wrong, my doctor drew on the lenses and showed me how they weren’t placed correctly for my face. There’s a bit of risk involved in the online process, which many might be able to tolerate.

    • Kt says:

      Cars quality can endanger your life while glasses quality can just give discomfort. But you can easier buy a replacement for $10 if your prescription is off. If you have the money and like to show off with your brand name glamor then I think it’s fine. But if you’re going into debt and sacrificing the quality of your life with an inability to pay your bills you’re probably making a bad choice.

      Honestly though, I’d rather make friends who respect me as a person rather than how ritzy the things I own are. And if your self worth is based on such materialistic things then there is probably a problem. I think that is what the commenter is getting at.

      To each his own I guess. I do like the comfort of good quality items, but I think when it comes to glasses, the price difference between online sellers and the doctors office is insane. And there is really not a big quality difference either. I’ve been wearing cheap $10 glasses and they have been holding up just fine. I think these high priced glasses are a racket. While it is unfortunate that the employees who work for these price gougers may suffer when people start wising up and shopping elsewhere. But that is the market and I don’t think consumer suffering justifies it. And these companies either need to change their business model or make something else that actually justifies such a crazy price.

  • mdenis39 says:

    Just got my eyeglasses delivered to me from Zinni yesterday, thanks to this blog (and the comments). I paid $130 for bifocals, frames have spring hinges. I like them very much. I was surprised by the “austerity” of the packaging – they came in a flimsy plastic case, no care instructions, and made in China (possible shipped directly from the mfr in China?). But they did include a microfiber cleaning cloth. Anyway, very happy with them & paid for with my HSA, so they were “free”:)!

  • Steve says:

    I am a retired optician. The information here is a mix of true and not so true. I left the optical field because of the abuses heaped on the public by most retailers. Eyeglasses need to be fitted, preferably by someone with experience and understanding. You could cause yourself skin irritations or worse with an ill fitting frame. If your wear multifocal lenses you must be measured by a knowledgable professional while wearing the exact frame in which the lenses will be placed. If your frame becomes crooked, or uncomfortable you must have it put back into proper alignment. It IS true that buying frames with a “designer” name on it is no assurance of quality and there are many good manufacturers other than Luxottica. When you need eyeglasses ask for recommendations, do some shopping, ask questions.

    • Bob says:

      I, too, am an optician and you are right on the money with your comment. It’s easy to be a hero in people’s eyes if you REALLY know how to adjust frames and how to troubleshoot a patients problems with frames, lenses and, to a limited extent, their vision. A shame that most people, new to the optical world, are showed a couple of films, given a “high sales” pep talk, and sent out to sell some glasses! Nothing wrong with that, all businesses must have sales, but it would sure be nice if the companies would place adjusting, troubleshooting, and coaching in as high a sphere as sales.

  • Dave says:

    When I became an adult one of the first things I did was get a pair of much needed eyeglasses. My optomitrist flat out ripped me off with a pair of $160.00 frames. He then never sized me up and let me choose a frame that was too big and wrong for my face. To top it all off it would cost an additional $110.00 for an anti-glare coating. I decide not to get the anti-glare coating simply because it’s not in my budget to do so.

    A month goes by and seeing the reflection of my eyeballs everytime I turn a computer screen on or go outside was becoming too much for me. I decided to look online when to my amazement I could have gotten a knock-off brand of similar style for about 1/5th the price. This of course included the anti-glare coating. I bought the glasses and wore them for two years straight without any problems.

  • Findingnewme says:

    I am just joining this website after spending an exorbitant amount of money on prescripon eyeglasses. In recent years, I have been purchasing glasses from myeyedr. Last weekend, my eyeglasses broke so i immediately went online to gauge my available options, and of course , there were no retailers open when I needed them, except for myeyedr in bethesda on Sunday afternoon. I went, i bought, i received today, and now… Eh….not so sure I like them. Just want to confirm my return options now.

    • Kay says:

      LOL it’s funny because I have literally also been to that myeyedr in Bethesda, they are the WORST with their price gauging and deceptive pricing! I would never recommend them to anyone and hope people wise up and stop going there. Private eye doctors are so much better, lately I have been going to an eye doctor in DC and I just ordered contacts and glasses through Costco saving hundreds of dollars from what the eye doctor would have charged me.

  • レイバン says:

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  • Robert says:

    You have to ask yourself why do glasses have to cost more than a Ipad, I phone, bicycle…I can go on. Really is there that much metal/plastic and labor involved in making glasses. Does a person stand in “Italy” and hand make a pair of glasses all by hand? No!
    Your local eyeglass store person will tell you that the fitting and sending off the information to the manufacturer takes ++time. They will also make it look like they have to make precise calculation that cannot be performed by the average person. Heck they will even tell you plastic and the metal used on the glasses has gone up in price by 1000 percent and glass has become rare. If you believe all that… truly are sucker.
    I think there will be always people who will pay for the brand name stamp to show they paid more.
    If the cost was more realistic of what it actually cost, then I would be willing to pay it at a local store. Until then …I will be purchasing online.

  • Peter says:

    Opticians buy frames for 50p same applies when they buy contact lenses. Not a bad profit. Trust me I know have family in the business.

  • James says:

    Ok hold on a second. Designer sunglasses are not all neccesarily expensive. The Designer brands mentioned in this article are some top of the range designer brands. Chanel, Gucci, and other brands are not going to be owned by your average sunglass buyer. You can get Ray-Bans and Oakley’s for much cheaper than $300. I can get Ray-Ban Aviators for $145, not factoring in my negotiating powers to lower the price. And when you think about it you are paying for better quality. $5 sunglasses do not have adequate UV protection, have abismal quality, and are made as temporary sunglasses, not keepers. While Luxottica is a monopoly, and I despise that, there are very sunglass brands not made by Luxottica.

  • Rob says:

    I’m amazed so many are willing to be so cheap with their eyes/vision. Eyeglasses are not exorbitant because of the frames. Eyeglasses are expensive because of the lens technology. Technology we all want in our TVs, tablets, cars, etc..yet some reason view as “gouging” when we place it before the only set of eyes we’ll ever have. What good is high definition television without high definition optics in our lenses? If you think your online distributors are providing the best technologies at a fraction of the cost you are sorely mistaken. In fact, your online distributor doesn’t even have access to top tier technology. Just as a name brand stamped on a frame doesn’t make it a superior frame, so too calling something “antiglare” or “progressive” doesn’t elevate it to the best available. Walmart sells shoes and clothing less than Brooks Brothers. We all recognize there is a difference. So it is will lens technology. Fitting a lens properly is child’s play for many, until you have a large refractive error, a great difference in Rx between the eyes, progressive lenses, etc. Attempting to become the expert here is quite frankly ridiculous. It’s akin to trying to fit yourself for braces. Frame choices…knock yourself out…find something that’s comfortable and your style. But lenses…online retailers are anything but equal.

    • Amanda M. says:

      I understand the difference in lens quality, and see it. I have a low prescription with no other issues, so lower quality is not an issue for me.

      If all of what you said was true, then the cost of glasses at a normal eye doctor/distributor wouldn’t range hundred’s of dollars between brands. The ‘old man/lady frames’ are $100, while the Burberry brand is $500, same lenses, same staff, same amount of time making frame, different “brand” (even though they were most likely made in the same plant by the same technicians).

  • Ryan says:

    Beware of the Luxottica Trolls

    I love the obviously paid trolls or profit interested parties defending the outrageous prices and practices of this corporation. I love them actually defending monopolies as job creators when anyone who has taken an economics class knows monopolies hurt markets, consumers and generally hurt the economy by pulling resources from other markets into one where they don’t belong.

    Lenses don’t cost that much to make and frames cost next to nothing to make. Cutting edge lenses should cost you $50 or less and frames about $5. I’ve worn cheaper and more expensive. Fitting counts, but costs nothing and takes 5 seconds. At the eye doctor today, they told me that my insurance covers a bit more than half of the total cost of my glasses. So the price of the glasses with lenses was $636 (120 for frames and 516 for regular lenses) and would still cost me $260 out of pocket. I felt like I was on some kind if hidden camera prank show and just walked out. I lived in Asia for the last few years where they charge reasonable prices for good glasses with those very same lenses.. Because if they charged $636 no one could afford it and they wouldn’t be able to sell any.

    When buying anything, I think you should always compare what you are buying to something else on which you could spend that money and ask yourself if the price makes sense. I just bought a new touch screen laptop computer with a 750 GB hard drive for less than the price they gave me and a new smartphone for less than the post insurance price. I’m late to this thread but thanks for the article. In the past, I’ve used Costco and Walmart. They both have cheaper prices (still expensive, but not quite as outrageous). I’m trying Warby Parker after reading this thread and will try other online retailers or wait till my next trip to Asia before buying from these jerks. I feel like I’m surrounded by idiots and millionaires. People drive outrageously expensive cars with the same/lower performance, reliability and safety ratings than a car like a Mazda, accelerate like they didn’t just spend $4.00/gal on gas, spend $250 on glasses that should cost <$50, and god help us with the amount of money people waste on brand name clothes and shoes in this country. In my opinion, in the age of the internet, if you aren't researching reviews, alternatives and discounts on your major purchases you're either a moron or a millionaire.

  • Mr. Goggle says:

    I agree with everything about Luxottica in this article. They just feed off the “name brand fools” and do it well.

    As an Optician in a brick and mortar retail shop, I must disagree with some points made about us. First off, I don’t carry Luxottica. I don’t support Luxottica’s eye wear ‘M’ in any way, except for taking Eyemed insurance. Anyway, I don’t have rx glasses for $40, but I will adjust, repair, change nosepads, and clean your glasses from the time you purchase until you die, for free. And you will pay a fraction of the cost of buying into the Luxottica ‘M’.

    I had a lady brag to me about the high quality eyewear she bought online for $99. Her glasses were crooked, her nose pads were spread wide apart and the bridge of her glasses just rested on the bridge of her nose leaving a huge mark. I was just about to offer to adjust them, even though I shouldn’t, and she started on about how we opticians should be ashamed of ourselves. Shocked, I bid her a good day walked away.

    I guess my point is, service. An optician is still about service. Customer service is what once made this country a great place, but it is dying, because of things like this.

    So please, hate the brand, hate the Luxottica’s ‘M’, but don’t hate the rest of us!

    • Amanda M. says:

      I think that it would be a pretty good income stream if a brick and mortar store offered a service to those of us who don’t want to pay so much for glasses. An adjustment and prescription check for $15-$20 is something I would happily pay to ensure my less expensive frames are the best tgey can be. (I told a person at my optician’s office that I got mine online; she was surprised to find that they fit very eell and the prescription was spot on.)

    • Dennis Snyder says:

      Mr. Optician/Optometrist, I would be happy to buy my glasses from someone like you. I went to MyEyeDoctor who was strongly recommended by my company’s HMO for glasses. I got my eye test done and it was very professional. It was paid entirely by my Health Insurance. When I went to buy frames and discuss lenses is when I felt I was being ripped off. Their selection at the store I originally went to was very limited. They had nothing that I couldn’t get at America’s Best Contacts and Eyeglasses for $70.00 for 2 pairs. The starting price was $179.00 for frames from the 1950’s that looked as if they would not only be uncomfortable but probably wouldn’t last long. The first pair that were near the style I wanted cost $379.99 per frame. These were slightly better and were close to the pair I bought from Walmart a few years ago which were great by the way. Then it came to lenses. Progressive lenses in the cheap frames would only cost me $15.00 by using my company’s eyemed insurance. I thought that was reasonable and eyemed was good insurance for covering most of the cost. I simply couldn’t stand the cheesy looking frames. I went to another MyEyeDr. store where I knew the selection was better. I tried on several decent looking frames that seemed to be made much better. When they gave me the price with their #2 quality lenses it came to over $900.00 out of my pocket. I told them their other location said it would only cost me $15 for the cheap $179.00 frames with their second best lenses, and this person said the first store had made an error. It would actually cost me around $600.00 for the lenses and about $40.00 out of pocket for the frames as my insurance only covered $130.00 of the price for the frames. I thanked him and left. I have bought cars for less. I called Costco and found they sold a wide variety of frames that would meet my specifications and their best progressive lenses for a fraction of the cost of what I would pay at MyEyeDr. So if you can sell me a decent looking, fairly non-breakable set of frames, and progressive lenses with all the bells and whistles including the ability when I look out of the corner of my eye to be able to see in near-sighted corrective vision that is what I’m looking for. I am going to send this article to my company so they know what we are dealing with by using this deceptive eyeglass insurance.

  • Bob Raskof says:

    Like so many other types of businesses, eyeglasses and hearing aids for some reason are wide open to inflated prices,since they are not under any control. Drugs fit the same description as so many products are way over priced due to both greed and monopolies. Our government is rife with corruption and payola to politicians. Until price controls are implemented, we are at the mercy of large corporations whose bottom lines are more important then fair market pricing.

  • Mark says:

    One of the reasons brand name eye glasses are expensive is because the design often patented or trademarked… so buying cheap knockoffs is actually akin to stealing…

    • Dennis Snyder says:

      Glasses should only cost a mark-up of double the actual cost to produce and put in frames at the most. If frames cost the eye doctor $25.00 and the best lenses only cost $150.00 (which is an exaggeration)the consumer should only have to pay $350.00 whether insured or not. The technology that is built into glasses now-a-days, is developed to find a way to make functional lenses for less cost (cheaper)thus adding profit to an already over-inflated market. The idea that a person should shut-up and swallow what is incredibly unfair price gouging went out in the 1960’s when people stopped being total sheep to the Medical, Optical and Dental wolves shoveling 900% markups at the public and making them believe it was the only thing that would save them.

  • Albert says:

    If you tell the optical shop that the cost of the glasses will be covered by insurance, the sales person will max you out every penny from the purchase. But you need a pair of glasses for your daily life, so you are literally hold hostage by whatever optical shop you buy the lens and frame. I hate to be a reluctant consumer of the greedy optical shop that make unreasonably high profit by taking advantage of my vulnerable vision, a kind of discrimination to the disabled.

    Anyway,it was disgusting, leaving me a bad aftertaste to hand out several hundred dollars for a simple pair of glasses.

    With the help of internet, and online shopping, I will definitely seek the alternative.

  • David says:

    I don’t understand you people… The eye is literally the most complex part of your body. Yes you can buy online for very cheap, and you will get lenses that are made very cheap, with a cheap frame.

    First, this is first. Not all lenses or even lens materials are equal. Secondly, not all frames are equal. Thirdly, when you buy glasses from a retail store you have to keep in mind that not only are you paying for your glasses, you are also paying for the technology behind the lenses, the optician/receptionist/teach/lab works(the ones cutting the lenses) the ability to keep a store running, just like at any other store… If they can’t keep the lights on they won’t be open for long. You are also paying so the company can make some profit, and incase of mess ups requiring the use of more material.

    With shopping online you are not getting the same quality, you are removing jobs, customer care, trouble shooting, and accurate measurements.
    Personally I do not believe anyone should be able to sell nor buy Rx glasses online, just like Rx drugs.
    That being said I do think that places such as Lens Crafters do need to lower the pricing…

    By all means yes you can buy from a website that isn’t going to ask what you actually will be using your glasses for and you can get a coating because you like it… But the website won’t tell you if you live on the ocean , work with oil, are a welder… Don’t get the anti-reflection coating. It won’t tell you that your lenses might chip, or isn’t right for what you are doing in your job, it won’t let you know why you don’t need this higher end lens, or why you do need that high index lens. And after you get them from your website don’t dare go to a place of optical business and ask them to fix your glasses for you, go back to your website and ask them to fix it for you.

  • Eric says:

    I’m resulting to buying cheap reading glasses and scavenge frames off of them now, every optometrist in town tells me “you have to get a new eye exam here blah blah blah blah our frames blah blah blah $20 per lense plus our time, including “cheap” frames: $180″

    It takes them less than half an hour to make the pair and then they try to get me to buy a second pair for $30 with 2 year insurance for another $60, and special lenses ranging from $20 to $70….

    And the eye exam was $50, I know my eyes are important but its a shame the store thats trying to “help” me is making me gouge them out by their pricing.

  • Hannanana says:

    Zenni is terrible. Shoddy work not worth the cheap price. We ordered two pairs of glasses with an identical prescription. We received two pairs of glasses with slightly different prescriptions.

    When worn, one pair would result in slightly blurred vision, dizziness, etc so we took them to an independent retailer and sure enough the axis on both lenses was off slightly (on the messed up pair).

    We contacted customer support and sent the glasses back. After a month or so they came back to us (after we had to ask them what is going on) and said the glasses were fine. We asked about the difference in prescription and they said they would test them again.

    Finally got back to us that the glasses were within an acceptable margin of error.

    They have an acceptable “margin of error” when producing glasses to match a prescription.

    In other words, what you order is not necessarily what you get – but that is just fine. You’ll “get used to them.”

  • tony says:

    just purchased glasses
    polo with hd reflex that were 250.

    i didnt really care about the price because im financially independant and 21 years old . (hooray thanks to capitalism)

    and i was just searching online that anti reflex lenses are cheap as heck

    and the dude at the brick and mortal shop was acting as if it scientific and expensive.

    you learn something new everyday i guess the glasses industry are owned by the jews lol (jk)

    next time i buy glasses im going to get them online from a respectable store that are not dressed like doctors selling you lies.

  • RedPine56 says:

    Hi ,
    I already have a first pair of prescription glasses but would like a second pair for emergencies.
    I can send my prescription, how much will a second pair cost if i supply my own frame?

    Kind regards

  • Jordan says:

    So, I go to the eyeglass store and they give me the estimate $770.
    My buddy used to work at Iris and he was making himself designer
    prescription eyeglasses/sunglasses for $15/piece.
    He had like 10-20 different pairs.

    Okay… Somehow this seems wrong. I’m not talking about the price.
    What’s wrong is the fact that people either go blind or have their
    eyes gouged out by ridiculous prices. WTF is wrong with society.
    How is this not extortion?

    People/companies are so god damn greedy that I can’t fcking
    afford to see.

    People are old, sick, poor, taken advantage of, and the worst part
    is the problems are far beyond eyeglasses and closer than neighbors.

    Well, people seem to recommend that zenni online store. For $30/piece it’s cheaper enough that I could wipe my arse with them if I’m not satified.

  • pete says:

    I always said selling eyeglasses was was better than selling drugs
    Huge profits and it`s legal.Keep buying suckers!Im liveing large.

  • Johnny says:

    People easily spend 1,000/year on cell phones, hair styles, and coffee.. Etc. But God forbid you purchase quality eyewear so you can SEE without headaches and eyestrain. When you save money online it’s because you have cut out the optician, the person who measures and fits your glasses. 50% of all online glasses are made incorrectly! Cheap retailers, including Walmart, Sam’s, and Costco all use discontinue discontinued and old/inferior technology when making your low price glasses…..

  • Eric says:

    I have had issues with trying to by my prescription from an online retailer. I had two main issues with the glasses I purchased:
    1. I do have a progressive lense and I can’t get the same “fit” from online that I did from the the optician doing an exact measurement of my eyes. My experience here follows what the optician said a few posts down (or up), if you your sense type needs a more exact measurement, you will have a hard time getting a pair of glasses that work well for you.
    2. The AR coating that Zenni Optical uses does not doe a good job of reducing glare, especially at night. It is almost as if there isn’t even an AR coating on them. I even purchased end AR coating that is water and oil resistant. Again, my experience follows that optician when he said, you get what you pay for. Of course, I think I only paid $14.95, so I probably did.

    Perhaps if I just had a single vision prescription, I could satisfactorily purchase my glasses online. However, I couldn’t, and I had to go back to the brick-and-mortar store to get my prescription right and a quality lense. What makes it even worse is that Zenni will only give me 50% of my money back on the return.

    • Smokin Paul says:

      Eric, Zenni would only give you half back, wow you must be out almost $10. Better pay hundreds retail so your not ripped off.

      Yes the progressive lens measurements has to be done right. If not you will not be satisfied. Next time contact Zenni to send your glasses in for lens replacement. Tell them your concerns about fit and I think you will be very happy. I guessing they would make more pairs to those same measurements and you would get back two or as many pair as you need.

      You AR coating that is water and oil resistant. Why not the regular coating. Are you sure the new glasses from the brick-and-mortar has the same water and oil resistant coating? I guessing its not and likely not more oil resistant than the regular coatings.

      Hmm I don’t believe you that you got an inferior product from Zenni. I still have, and use, a pair from Zenni that are about 10 years old. My prescription changed a little but I use them at work so no loss if they get damaged. Ten years later and the coating is still in tact. I clean them regularly and the anti glare is as good as any pair. Perhaps you are getting cataracts or work in the industry and its affecting your bottom line?

      In any case I’m here to tell people the quality is better than the high priced garbage being touted as superior. Oh and BTW I can make measurements like pupillary distance etc. Oh and I didn’t need permission from government to make them either. If my glasses are tilted I know right away and can make my own adjustments as well.

      If someone is unable to do these simple things, a 12:00 flasher, then by all means get gouged. Might also think about paying someone to help program your microwave and other clock so they are not flashing 12:00. 😉 lol Hence the term 12:00 flasher. For the rest of us thinkers we’ll do nicely ordering online.

  • Katherine Kaviuk says:

    August 29, 2018
    I was just quoted $700 at an optical shop. That seems an exorbitant amount of money for some plastic glasses.
    I’ve heard of Zenni Optical and would like to try them, but I am concerned about how I will get the pupillary measurements. And to make sure they are correct because I know that is very important.


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