questionswhy do eye glasses cost so much (offline)?

vote-for50vote-against
vote-for3vote-against

Because they can't see just how bad they are getting ripped off until after the purchase has been made.

vote-for7vote-against

I am in this business, here is it in a nutshell....

Online means made and assembled in China.

Buy them in your Dr office or National Chain store means, they are assembled here in America at a local or regional lab, which means, higher costs to do the same work that is done overseas.

You get what you pay for.

vote-for2vote-against

People say this, but I haven't actually seen anyone show that a specific frame from "online store" costs significantly less than that exact frame from their local optical shop. Not that they don't, but I don't know... since I haven't seen anyone do anything aside generalize it.

Also, they may be overstocks, returns, last years model or whatever else. I went to look and see if my frames (Nike) were on their site, but didn't find them.

vote-for3vote-against

well, you haven't seen price comparisons on the same exact frame, because they don't have the same exact frame. But the ones they do have look the same (though there are a lot of ugly options you have to wade through) and correct vision just the same (though I couldn't speak for astigmatism or bifocals - I don't uses them).

I think "you get what you pay for" isn't accurate - you get the same quality of glasses when you pay less. Instead, maybe "you support business where you pay." So the money goes to China instead of Nike.

vote-for8vote-against

Why would a pair of glasses that costs $375 at a local emporium and $85 online be any different? (This is for progressive lenses, photo-active in "designer frames".) They are not, but the cost difference is due to: manufacturer profit, wholesaler profit, local emporium profit, as well as the brick and mortar costs of the local merchant.

vote-for6vote-against

Couple reasons.

1. Economic principle called Supply and Demand. People pay that price so why lower it?

2. Since you have a brick and mortar store, your expenses are higher so you need to raise your prices.

Some people may be willing to pay more because they can go into the store and try them on before buying them. You cannot do that with an online store.

vote-for2vote-against

I don't think the brick-and-mortar expenses can account for it. Sure, a monitor is cheaper on amazon than in Best Buy, but you virtually always save less than 33%. Compare that to the >100% difference with the glasses. I was wondering what makes up the difference.

vote-for2vote-against

Most places will not give you the PD (pupil distance) just so they can force you to buy at their store. What I do is since I am in the military is to say I need it for the base to order me gas mask inserts (which isn't a lie) but anyone can say that and get the PD wrote onto the perscription.

vote-for5vote-against

@zapp brannigan: a tip: get a dry-erase marker and a wall mirror. Look straight at the mirror and put a dot in the center of each pupil. Measure the distance between the dots. That's your PD!

vote-for6vote-against

My optician takes a lot of time to make sure my glasses fit correctly and the bifocal is in the right place for me. And any time they get bent or tilted, he fixes them free. I'm sure his salary is part of the glasses price.

vote-for4vote-against

@pooflady: You know, that sounds right... I think the inflated price of the frames (and lenses, to a lesser extent) is going for that extra care at the eye doctors'. So when I get my eyes examined, and have them adjust my marvelously inexpensive glasses at the same time, I'm really taking advantage of service subsidized by all the people who buy their glasses in the shop. Thanks! I guess that makes me thoughtless. . . I always thought that was part of the vision checkup.

vote-for3vote-against

Overhead
Insurance companies take a huuge percentage. Part of the benefits package bought by my company gives the top 8% free medical dental and health benefits. So when I pay extra for my glasses I'm helping to subsidize them. Wellpointe has a 34% to 65% overhead rate. All that gets factored in.

I got a new pair from my approved optometrist- they cost me almost $200 for a pair of bifocals with hardness and transitions type coatings. That starts flaking off within a year, so by the time I'm eligible for new glasses (every other year) I have tunnel vision. And I found out this pair also cost me $150 in benefit money, use it or lose it. I really don't believe all the components are made in America, either.
I got a pair from goggles4u. Better quality, One third the price. Same turn around time.

BTW, if your optometrist doesn't want to give you a copy of your prescription, just smile and say "Then this is the last time you see me.". She was filling it out before I took five steps.

vote-for5vote-against

@gidgaf: Odds are, it's the same factories in China that make the frames for zenni and goggles4u as make the ones sold at lenscrafters and stuff (except people pay ten times as much for the "designer frames").

vote-for4vote-against

@gidgaf: Agreed -- if they aren't willing to give you YOUR prescription, it's time to find a new doctor. Some places may even be willing to give you your PD without a full exam.

Can you imagine your general practitioner not telling you what medicine you were getting? Sure, glasses aren't quite as serious, but jeez.

vote-for2vote-against

@cengland0: I'd add a 3rd: near-instant gratification.
The 'gotta have it now' lifestyle so predominant in this country dictates protocol, and people just pay the price.

vote-for6vote-against

@havocsback: There's also another reason that I forgot to mention.

#3. When you go to a brick and mortar store, you have sales people that are specially trained to sell you expensive items. They are good at convincing you of why it's expensive and having you agree and then buying it.

When you purchase online, you don't have a sales person involved so you either buy it or you don't. There isn't anyone there to push you into paying more for an item than you should.

I worked for a retail store from 1983 to 1992 and sold the same products as other stores. We had a bigger gross profit margin just because our sales staff was trained to sell ice to eskimos. We did not have "order takers," we had "salesmen"

vote-for2vote-against

@cerberez: I wouldn't want to take any chances with my vision so I'll let them do it but I have done something similar in the past but since they already do that at the office might as well just take their number.

vote-for3vote-against

Be aware that many optomitrists make most of their money from selling eyeglasses. They at best break even on the exam. Likewise audiologists make their money selling hearing aids.

It's a messed up system. I'd prefer for the professional to get a fair price for their time and expertise (fitting glasses is not an efficient use of their time) and not have to rip people off for eyeglasses. Get them cheap, pay the professional what she or he is worth.

vote-for3vote-against

@gidgaf: I believe that they are required to give you a copy of your script if you request it. I once had an eye doctor roll his eyes and huff loudly when I asked for it; I didn't understand this stuff about ordering glasses/contacts online, so I was quite shocked: I asked for the prescription because I wanted a copy for my medical records!

vote-for3vote-against

My ophthalmologist always gives me a copy of my prescription if it's changed and I take it to the optician of my choice. Maybe it's different with optometrists.

vote-for2vote-against

I agree. Kinda.
With the insurance system, the pros get a flat rate for services. Who then have to make their real money on goods, upgrades and extras. My vision hasn't changed in 50 years, and my head doesn't care if I have Florida inspired lizard beach insignia on my frames, if they came from a designer with Australian tendencies, or if they make me look like Drew Carey. But my optometrist has to try to convince me that the extra $100 to $300 extra for these frames will actually be good for me.
I want to have the choice. If I really want to go to a spa where the soft jazz plays, the young nubiles giggle, and the optometrist complements me on my choice of frames then I can go do that. Or if I want to just order a set of frames and lenses from goggle4u I want to be able to just do that, also.

vote-for2vote-against

I read somewhere a few months ago that virtually all the eyeglass frames are made in one factory somewhere, I forget where. They just put whatever name on them depending on who they're being made for. Don't know if this is a true story or not and that's all I can remember about it.