Save on Eyeglasses 11/10/14

If you’ve got your eye on prescription eyeglasses, be prepared for sticker shock—frames, lenses, and protective coatings can add up to $500 or more. But Consumer Reports finds that you can save up to 40 percent on the cost of eyeglasses without sacrificing fashion.

Prices for eyeglasses are all over the map. You can have two pairs of glasses and they look the same, the quality is pretty much the same, but they’re sold at vastly different prices. One of the reasons for that is that a handful of companies are making most of the frames and lenses out there. Luxottica, for example, makes frames for Chanel and Prada, as well as Pearle Vision and Target Optical at a fraction of the cost.

Also check online stores that make their own frames for less. At Warby Parker, you can find single-vision glasses, designed in-house, for $95. Upload a photo to virtually try on the frames or request up to five pairs to try at home for five days, free of charge.

Zenni Optical also offers frames for less than $30. With lenses, they can be less than $100. But Consumer Reports says buying online isn’t for everyone. It may not work if you have a complicated prescription, and if you need to have your glasses adjusted, you’re probably out of luck.

A good strategy is to buy the frames online and the lenses in a discount store. Walmart Vision Center will fill any frames you bring in for $10 plus the cost of the prescription. Costco Optical will do the same for $18. And both stores also offer low-cost frames that are worth checking out.

Consumer Reports says if you’re ordering glasses online, ask your eye doctor for a copy of your prescription, as well as the distance between the center of your pupils. That’s important to make sure your lenses are properly adjusted for your eyes.

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