This Or This? Time For New Glasses

I looked at the price. Why do frames cost so much? Seriously, is there any relationship between manufacturing cost and retail price?

lots of eyeglass frames.jpgMy eyeglasses are a few years old. Earlier this winter I noticed a small chunk had been chipped from one of the lenses. Though it’s out of my sight line the writing’s on the wall. I need new glasses.

We headed to a local mall where the optical center has a doctor I’d seen before and trusted. That’s how I found out the eyeglass business is busier early in the year when many people discover insurance coverage has kicked in.

They were running behind. We took a walk.

There’s nothing at the mall for guys. Right?

There must have been a dozen cellphone businesses. Each of the major carrier had a kiosk or two plus a full walk-in store. All were busy.

“Complaints, not purchases,” I told Helaine.

The examination was pretty straightforward. As Mary, the optometrist, flipped the lenses there was actually a difference between “A” and “B ” OK–there was most of the time… enough of the time I was pretty sure she got my prescription right.

My prescription has remained reasonably constant the past few years. No cataracts. No signs of glaucoma. That’s all good news.

Better than that my eyes are corrected to 20/15, meaning I see at 20 feet what most people see at 15 feet.

“Get plastic frames,” Stef had advised via phone when I told her what we were doing today.

Plastic frames? I don’t think so. I can’t come back on TV with a jarring (radically different) look.

I began trying on frames as Helaine watched. I was pretty useless here. Seriously, when you’re trying new frames you must take off your glasses! How exactly can you judge?

We finally settled on frames that look very much like my old ones. I pulled out my iPhone and sent Stef a photo via SMS.

She did not approve. Unavoidable. Not unexpected. Hopefully she’ll forgive my fashion fears over time.

Then there’s the price.

Why do frames cost so much? Seriously, is there any relationship between manufacturing cost and retail price?

In a few weeks the new glasses will arrive along with a tester set of contact lenses. I’ve tried contacts before. You don’t want to know! I was not a good candidate. I’m trying again anyway.

3 thoughts on “This Or This? Time For New Glasses”

  1. Contacts would definitely be a radical look for you too, but if you find they are more comfortable, more power to you. My oldest son tried the same thing, but found he was much more comfortable with contacts.

    And hopefully Stef will get past you not choosing plastic frames.

    As for the frames, I’m not sure why there is such a markup. Most of them are made of titanium nowadays – maybe it is an expensive metal.

  2. Searching for people talking about glasses I came across this post. (you’re probably not surprised to hear people don’t talk about glasses that much =)

    I wrote a blog post a few weeks back discussing why glasses are so expensive:

    If you’re willing to buy online (the post discusses some of the pros and cons), they’re a lot cheaper, as low as $8 a pair. You do lose a little bit of the service that you get when you buy in a store, such as recommendations from the salesperson and adjustments to fit your face tighter. Anyway, just a thought!

  3. Part of Marc’s link said: “In general, glasses are not more expensive at retail stores because they are higher quality, with the exception of ultra-high-end progressive lens styles and digitally-surfaced progressives.”

    Figures why I pay so much. As I only need a new pair every 4-6 years, cost averaging makes getting the best palatable, at least for me.

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