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Wow -- the Eyewear Industry Is an Incredible Ripoff, But There Are Alternatives

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 04:41 PM
Original message
Wow -- the Eyewear Industry Is an Incredible Ripoff, But There Are Alternatives
AlterNet / By Anneli Rufus

Wow -- the Eyewear Industry Is an Incredible Ripoff, But There Are Alternatives
What makes glasses so expensive? Oblong plastic lenses? Plastic and metal frames? We're getting screwed.


Those of us who need prescription eyewear need prescription eyewear. Are you wearing yours to read this? Imagine if you weren't. Imagine life without your glasses for a year, a week, an hour. Yet many health insurance plans, especially for the unemployed or self-employed, don't cover them.

Mine doesn't.

Last year, I went shopping for no-line progressive bifocals in small oval metal frames. Name brands mean nothing to me. Price does. My high astigmatism and need for bifocals disqualify me from those buy-one-get-one-free deals, which almost always involve only single-vision specs.

In store after store, megachains and optical boutiques alike, small oval metal frames fitted with lenses matching my prescription started at $300. One popular shop quoted me $582 for the lenses alone.

I bought a pair of no-line progressive bifocals in small oval metal frames for $44 online. I'm wearing them right now. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/economy/148024/wow_--_the_eyewe... /



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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. The frames are a major rip off.
I can't see how they cost a few hundred bucks! They're not made of gold.

Last year I paid over 1200 for just 2 eye exams, just the exams. I take meds for Rheumatoid Arthritis and it's very toxic to the retinas. The Dr. doesn't accept insurance and we paid out of pocket, until my GP wrote a referral because the need for these exams are drug related.

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SugarShack Donating Member (979 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
23. I have insurance but Opti-Mart is cheaper! They have the best sales, and always beat ins!
Edited on Wed Sep-01-10 03:37 PM by SugarShack
Health Ins. steers you to expensive doctors only, with small expensive selections. Opti Mart does not take my insurance since it's changed. But it's cheaper than going to the places the ins company says I must go to now. So check out Opti Mart if you don't want to do it online.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Thanks for the tip
I've been using new Rx's lens with the same frame for 5 years. I think it's time to upgrade ;P
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PhillyGurl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. How about $400 for replacement lenses? New Rx?
Screw that, I went with multifocal contacts.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. A wide range of quality among progressive lenses.
I had been wearing Varilux for years and then went with Shamir to be able to afford new frames, but didn't like them at all. Back to Varilux.

Yeah they're expensive, but being able to see well - it's worth it.
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. Get a copy of your scrip & PD (pupillary dist) and go online.
I did. Got three pairs of no line progressive bifocals. I'm quite nearsighted plus I'm over 40.

Three pairs of no line progressive bifocals, high index plastic, and 3 pairs of clip on shades for LESS THAN $200!!! Zenni Optical rocks!

www.zennioptical.com

www.goggles4u.com

and many other places.

http://glassyeyes.blogspot.com <--ratings and coupons
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Sherman A1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks for Posting
i have bookmarked those websites for the future! Even with eye coverage from my Health Plan it still is very expensive to buy glasses and I have to have them.
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prole_for_peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. How do you know what frames will look good on your face
when you order online? I usually try on 10 or so frames before I find a pair like.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 08:05 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. There are people who can buy clothing on the Internet
and there are those who cannot. It all comes down to what you value, form or function.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. You go to a store, try on frames, go home, buy similar frames online

It feels like cheating, but I buy a lot of stuff online after looking at it in stores.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. This one lets you upload a picture and "virtually" try them on
It works easily enough that my younger daughter (10 yrs old) was able to use it.

http://www.eyebuydirect.com
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. I've been buying from Zenni for a couple of years now.
I showed a pair to my eye doctor and asked him how much he thought I had paid. His answer: "$200." I told him it was about $13, including shipping.

He knows glasses are a ripoff. BTW, he checked them for me and they were spot on the prescription.

I've gone upscale to Titanium half frames with anti-reflective coating. Under $40.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Thanks, bookmarked for the next time I need specs
Glasses can be such an incredible ripoff.
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
18. Zinni has been verty verty good to me
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #4
19. Made in China.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
22. That's what we did - $60 for nice 1st set and $25 for a spare set
...for my younger daughter, from http://www.eyebuydirect.com . After spending $300 for the last set last year, which got lost, it was a big relief to find that we could buy new ones for so much less. And a big relief to know that replacing them would be cheap and easy, and you can "virtually" try everything on online.

I wouldn't ordinarily peddle an online alternative to a local employer of skilled labor, but in this case the business model of brick-and-mortar glasses dealers is so thoroughly rotten...
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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. And here I am, thinking I got a good deal at Costco! Thanks for the links. n/t
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elfin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks
Spent nearly $600 (!!!) to replace VERY old frames and upgrade prescription to accommodate my severe astigmatism, nearsightedness and need for progressive and featherweight plus non-glare.

Shopped EVERYWHERE and prices all nearly the same - refuse to go to WalMart and no Costco here.

It is such a racket and will try this option next year, when my blasted eyes change yet again.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
13. thank you for posting this
The state of Michigan has discontinued vision coverage for the Medicaid patients. I will be getting all our glasses this way.
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sueh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
14. Thanks, marmar. Excellent info!
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AwakeAtLast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
15. And contact lenses are considered "cosmetic"
So on my eye insurance, the exam for contacts is not covered. For eyeglasses it is. I see better with contacts than with glasses, so how can that be called "cosmetic"? :shrug:

:grr: :grr: :grr: :grr:
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madmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. Here is an on-line link for contacts...
I am told they are out of Canada, haven't tried them myself yet, so, hope it helps.


http://www.1-save-on-lens.com/index.html
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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 02:22 AM
Response to Original message
16. "Are you wearing yours to read this?"
The other day I finally found out what my vision was. Barely 20/400 while leaning forward and squinting. So yeah, I'm wearing them. I then had the privilege of paying 400 freaking dollars for nothing special other than scratch resistant lenses and break resistant frames.

Already ordered three mega-cheap replacements from the internet. The only reason I paid so much for that pair was because I can't drive (or anything else) without them and I broke my old ones.
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rAVES Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 02:58 AM
Response to Original message
17. just watch the world through a fine mist, it looks pretty.
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