A new pair of glasses can leave you seeing double over the price. Fancy frames, special lenses, and protective coatings can add $500 or more, even with insurance. But with our tips, you can chop the overall cost significantly.
And if you have a flexible spending account, you can buy glasses with those extra use-them-or-lose-them dollars. Glasses and prescription sunglasses qualify as medical expenses. If you haven’t bought new frames in a while, here’s what you need to know to find cheap glasses without sacrificing on quality.
Don’t focus on brands
One reason glasses cost a lot is that they have become a hot fashion accessory. You can spend hundreds on frames from Chanel, Prada, Versace, and other big names. But those frames are often designed and manufactured by companies that license the names—not the designers.
And they may not be sturdier than store-brand frames. Most are made by a handful of companies that also make high-quality nondesigner frames, some of which look similar to the name brands, minus the logo, at a fraction of the cost. Luxottica, for example, makes frames for the designers above and for LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, and Target Optical. [read]