I had an appointment today with my optometrist. It had been just over three years since I’d last had my eyes checked so I was due.
I also happened to find a pair of frames I liked when I had been in there last week for my son’s appointment.
“I gotta get me these frames,” I said to myself. I had never loved the ones I currently have, plus the lenses were a bit scratched and the paint on the frames was starting to chip. And as it turned out, I needed a new prescription.
I knew it was going to cost major moolah. And knowing what I know now about frames and lenses, it just burns me.
A Canadian investigative consumer show, Marketplace, did a piece on eyeglasses last year. What they found was that consumers are paying an 800% mark-up for their frames and lenses.
Experts say that frames, a piece of metal or plastic, don’t cost that much to make so a reasonable price to pay is around $50.
I’m paying $230 for mine, which still chokes me but is better than the designer $450 frames I saw – which were ugly anyway, pfftt.
But it’s the lenses that kill me. I am of a certain age where I now have to wear progressives (also known as bifocals). My lenses - two pieces of plastic - are costing me $730.
It seems the higher or more complicated your prescription the higher the price.
Again, experts say lenses should cost the consumer no more than $80 to $100.
So why the high price? Because the eyeglass retailers have a lock on the market. It’s not like I have a choice NOT to wear glasses. I have to wear them. I can’t see without them. The eyeglass retailers know this and can sell them for whatever price they want.
I could get less expensive glasses through an online company. I priced it out once and I could get a pair of glasses for around $350. The problem is that you can’t try the frames on. I only look good in certain types of frames. Plus, you have to measure your own ‘pupil distance’ (PD) to make sure the lenses are correct. Optometrists have the PD but will not include it on your prescription when you ask for it.
I thought the online pair I’d ordered would work. They didn’t. I looked horrible in them. I returned them no problem and then had to fork over twice as much for glasses through a conventional retailer.
So, yeah, I can see clearly all right. What I see is a consumer rip off.