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Advice needed for purchasing glasses

March 31, 2008

I finally made an appointment with an eye doctor in town. I was going to get both a contact lens fitting and an eyeglasses exam, but balked at the price of the contact lens fitting–about $150 even after insurance! I think it is lame that my insurance doesn’t provide better coverage for contacts (as they are “elective”).  On the other hand, I don’t really need the fitting now,  as I had one through my insurance at my old job just before I left in December.  (You could make an argument about how this choice is an example of how high deductible plans with health savings accounts make the consumer make better financial choices when it comes to their health rather than choosing whatever because it costs the same to them.)

I never wear my glasses, except sometimes at night and when my contacts bother me (rarely). Because of that, I always opt to use my insurance money towards contact lenses rather than glasses.   This time, I’m getting glasses, and I hope an updated style will make me more inclined to wear them  I get $100 towards the lenses and $70 towards the frames, which I know isn’t enough, but I have money in my health savings account to cover the rest.
I’m looking for advice on how to pick out frames for a good price that are a little more in style than the ones I currently have (from my junior year in high school!).  Do you usually just buy them wherever you get your eyes checked, or is there somewhere in particular I should be shopping at?  How much can I expect to pay for frames and lenses (roughly)?  Any other tips??

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2008 9:34 am

    I think it would be best to shop around for your frames but look at what they have where you get your eyes checked. They have the best and latest brands but the highest markups. Then you will have a better idea what the frames look like that you want.

  2. March 31, 2008 9:34 am

    I generally buy glasses where I get my eyes checked but I only wear them at work (in front of the computer) so I’ve been wearing the same pair for years. That said, I’ve heard that warehouse clubs (i.e. Costo, BJ’s) have discounted prices on glasses. You would just need to bring in your prescription from the eye doctor.

  3. Looby permalink
    March 31, 2008 10:31 am

    My s/o got new glasses recently, from (not affiliated in anyway) I know there are a lot of these kinds of sites but we have only used this one. He simply asked the optician for a printout of his prescription and his pupil distance. Then he plugged his details into the website and picked his frames, it took just over 2 weeks to arrive and came in a quite dodgy looking package. But they are great quality, came with a little mini screw driver for repairs and fit well. We recommended them to a friend and she loved them too. They were less than $30, I’ve just ordered a plain pair of sunglasses from the site. Worth a shot maybe.

  4. March 31, 2008 12:08 pm

    Have you checked ebay out of curiosity? (Or has anyone else?) It just occured to me that you might be able to find some there.

    I’m always hearing about the specials at Lenscrafters, or is it ForEyes, or Pearle Vision? They always advertise fashionable frames at affordable prices. I’d check those out as well as Costco, Sams or BJ’s if you have any of those memberships! I agree that the doctors offices always had higher priced frames so I would just check them out for reference.

  5. March 31, 2008 6:56 pm

    This year I had vision insurance for the first (and probably last) time and got my glasses at my optometrist’s office. In the past, I’ve always had good luck with J.C. Penney. The prices are reasonable, and my last pair was still holding up well after three-and-a-half years of all day every day wear. Penney’s seems to have serious sales on glasses at least once a month, and, generally if you ask, they’ll tell you when the next sale will start if they aren’t in the midst of one when you go in to look.

  6. April 1, 2008 7:41 am

    I got my last pair of glasses from Zenni optical ( ) because I read a glowing review of them in Lifehacker and, like you, I usually wear contact lenses. I took a look in the glasses display case at my eye doctors and got an idea of the style I wanted, and the only thing you need to ask at your eye appointment is for your pupilary distance in addition to your prescription so that they can grind the lenses correctly. I’ve really liked the glasses I got there, and at $ 30 or less a pair, I’ve been thinking about getting some more. Another thing to ask at the eye doctors–especially if they are charging “fitting” fees for contact lenses is for trial pairs(and try a couple of different brands to make sure you get a good fit out of it). It really makes the $150 go a little further if you can get a few free pairs before you have to pony up and buy a years’ supply.

  7. lilpunk permalink
    April 1, 2008 6:32 pm

    i used houreyes. i normally wait for sales.

  8. tom permalink
    April 2, 2008 8:21 am

    Definitely shop around. I bought glasses a few months back from the eye doctor and that was a mistake. I end up paying too much. Costco and Walmart both sell glasses so I would check those out if you have access. Buying online can be risky because you’ll want to try them on before you buy. Bottom line, if you shop around, you’ll get a great deal!

  9. Jon permalink
    April 2, 2008 11:57 am

    I also got my latest pair of glasses from Zenni Optical. Mine were only $20 including shipping. I’m thinking about getting another pair as backup glasses and also some prescription sunglasses, since it’s so cheap! If you shop around at places like Sears Optical, you’ll find that glasses with decent treatments (anti-glare, anti-dust, scratch resistance) start at around $350 for just the lenses.

    Oh, not having any vision coverage in my health insurance plan, I got my prescription done at Walmart and I have to say it went well and was reasonably priced. You might want to check them out for your contact fitting needs.


  1. I like to ignore good advice (and my HSA) « Stacking Pennies

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