Good, cheap places to get eyeglasses?

I need to get an eye exam and get new glasses. I have so many choices of places to go that I just can’t decide, so I was hoping to get some experiences/opinions from ya’ll.

I’ve got choices of Wal-Mart, Target, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Lenscrafters and Sears, among the large chains, and of course there are several individual optometrists in our town that have their own stores/offices. My husband has been to one of them but says he doesn’t want to go back because he thought they were too expensive. He also wasn’t all that thrilled with Sears’ prices.

Are the other large chains any good? What are the prices like (I’m more concerned about the prices for glasses than the exam - that seems to be where the big bucks are spent)? Does one have a better selection of frames over another?


Well, if you’re looking for cheap, you really don’t want to go to Lenscrafters. They have their good points, but cheapness ain’t one of them. (Also, the prices at the optometrist next door were accordingly steep. The post-insurance part of my exam and contact fitting was more than the whole thing would have been at the guy who has his office in Walmart.)

I’ve had good luck at places like EyeMart and ValueVision, myself. They’re like Lenscrafters, but with Walmart prices. Huge selection of frames, glasses ready to go in a couple of hours, and really good prices.

As far as what the prices are like, it really depends on what you’re getting. You can get glasses at Wally World for as little as $70 complete, provided you’ve got single prescription plastic lenses with no scratch-coat and rather unstylish frames. The prices go up from there. If you’re looking at designer frames and/or special lenses, you’re looking at a couple hundred bucks, easy. I usually have no trouble finding frames I like (with spring hinges–I simply must have spring hinges) under $100, then I spring for extra-strength lenses and scratch coat.

Actually, if your old frames are still in good shape and you still like them, you can just get new lenses put in them and save yourself some money.

IMO, I have never had a good experience with America’s Best. So stay away from them. I’d check out Target, they can at least tell you what their eye exams cost and give you a range on the frames. My experience with Eye Masters has been pretty good overall, but you may not have them in your area.

We don’t have EyeMart or ValueVision, so I couldn’t check those out, and it turns out that the coupon we had for Target expired so that was out too. So it ended up being between Wal-Mart and Lenscrafters. Our local Wal-Mart only has an optometrist available 4 days a week for 3 hours a day, so that put them out of the running for the eye exam, though the basic exam was reasonable - $60. I called Lenscrafters, and not only were they able to make me a same-day appt. on the weekend, they have a AAA discount, so I was able to get the basic exam for $63. Turns out the Lenscrafters lab also gives you a 30% discount if you are a AAA member, so I got the glasses there. Unfortunately it wasn’t a simple prescription - bifocals with progressive lenses - and I did get the scratch coat, so I knew wherever I went it wasn’t going to be cheap. My husband spent $100 more for the same thing last year though, so I think that worked out well. I’m sure Wal-Mart would have been competitive on the lens/frame price as well, but it’s true their selection of frames is not as good.

Now I need to get used to these glasses. I was told it would take 2 weeks for bifocals. Is that how long it will take to not keep grabbing the glasses and moving them, instead of moving my head/eyes? That sweet spot on the bottom for reading is soooo small …

The more willpower you can exert to refrain from touching your glasses, the faster it will be. :smiley: SIT ON YOUR HANDS!

I’ve heard warnings from people to stay away from them but, personally, I’ve had absolutely no problem with them. When I went to Pearle, I was told replacement glasses for me with frames would cost around $300-$450. (I have astigmatism and a pretty strong presecription which requires me to get the extra-thin lenses.)

At America’s Best, I got two pairs of thin light-weight glasses, with brand name frames, for under $200 with exam. It’s only been four months since I’ve gotten them, but so far the glasses aren’t showing any signs of wear. The eye exam was professional, quick, and accurate. These glasses seem to be every bit as good as the Pearle glasses I bought five years ago.

I got my last pair of glasses at Costco. I was very pleased with they result and the service. They also had an on-site optometrist. Then I had my eyes lasered and haven’t had to worry about glasses since.


FYI - at my local Lenscrafters (and I assume nationwide), entirely unadvertised except for my eavesdropping, your Kroger discount card gets you 30% off.

That is a lot of money when it comes to my glasses, I assure you! Spread the word.

First pair of glasses: Wal-Mart. Never again, complete lack of quality control.

I then checked Consumer Reports and other such for recommendations. They confirmed my Wal-Mart experience wasn’t unusual. So…

Second pair of glasses: For Eyes (or “4 Eyes”?). Cheap and good quality. Other family members have since gone there, all happy.

Hijack alert:

Progressive lenses are, IMHO, highly overrated. I let my optometrist talk me into trying them about a year ago. I wore them for a week, and went back and said I couldn’t stand them. The optometrist said to give it more time. I tried for another week, and went back. The optometrist again said I should give myself more time to get used to them. No way. I’m back to ordinary bifocals, and much happier. I’ve found that if bifocals are properly made, with the line in the right place, they’re completely unobtrusive and feel very natural.

Another point – many people mention plastic lenses with anti-scratch coatings. Again IMHO, glass lenses are underrated. Unless one wears glasses so thick that weight becomes a problem, or needs safety glasses, glass is just nicer. It doesn’t scratch and is usually optically better.

Good, cheap places to get eyeglasses?

Come to Bombay.

Yeah, I’m thinking I might have been better off just getting two pairs - one for distance, which I like to have when I’m driving, and one for reading. More surface area!

The problem with glass lenses is that nowadays you usually have to wait for those to come back from another lab. I did appreciate being able to get mine done in an hour. I live in the sticks, so not having to make two trips to the Big Mall was a bonus for me.

And gouda, I’d love to arrange a trip to Bombay someday. I occasionally order clothes from a company that has all their stuff made in India. The prices are very reasonable, the fabrics lovely, and I can even get items made to my measurements at no extra charge.

I’ve heard good things about, if you don’t mind ordering from Hong Kong.

(I have no affiliation with them, I just know of other people from a different message board that have ordered from them and been satisfied, and I plan on using them for my next pair of glasses.)

I love the line that says ‘Free! Beautiful used Hong Kong stamps : )’


Join a discount vision plan. You can get a combo discount dental, vision and prescription drug plan for $5-12 a month.

I was going to recommend walmart but after seeing all the negative reviews i wont. The reason i was going to was because of their $25 frames.

I joined a discount plan (careington, $9.95 a month) for dental and got vision covered to. With careington i got 45% off frames and plastic lenses at a flat $35.

Here is a list of benefits on a careington vision plan

So you could get plastic lenses for $35 and frames for $30 (if you can find frames under $60 at the place). Also many of these dental plans include qualified optometry sites, i got my glasses at lenscrafters. there was no hastle in using a discount plan either and i’ve never had a problem with mine. I ended up getting featherweight plus lenses when i went to lenscrafters last fall, that cost me about $60-70 but they are normally $200 or so without a discount so i came out ahead.

Keep in mind i didn’t join careington for the vision, i joined it for the dental benefits (the dental costs of a crown & root canal on this discount plan were $100+ less than other dental plans, so i joined this one) and just found the vision benefits handy. There may be other plans with better benefits or that have more providers in yoru area. But the difference may be negligible.

Also with many of these plans there is a $20 or so joining fee and you have to join for 2-3 months minimum. So if you just use it once it may not be worth it.

wtf, this says its only $6.95 a month

why am i being charged $9.95 a month?

Anyway (i hope this is obvious) i don’t work for careington discount plan, i just think they are one of the better discount plans. I looked at 10-20 discount plans before i decided on careington two years ago and i’m still a member. You should really look into a discount plan. If you don’t have dental insurance or prescription drug benefits/insurance/discounts it’ll definately be worth it to cover both you and your husband.