Ultra-Cheap Glasses (Two Pair for $69.95 with free exam!!!) - Am I Throwing Money Away?

I am in desperate need of new glasses, and I am hella broke. This company (and several others like it) are offering two pairs (I refuse to use the singular) and an exam for about a fourth of what I pay at Walmart for one pair and an exam.

I’ve always been taught to believe that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I also know that a certain European manufacturer holds a near monopoly on glasses sold in the US. So what’s the deal with these ultra-cheap glasses - am I throwing money away? Entering into some re-billing contract or something? Some other scam? Or do cheap-glasses providers simply sell glasses at the price of the plastic, glass, and manufacturing, and not the brand name?

See this thread.

Nailed it in one!

For me, the exam process & the glasses-purchasing process are utterly separated. Go see a real doctor for the exam if at all possible - they check for degenerative diseases and other issues that you want to prevent or halt if at all possible, as early as possible. They’re the only pair of eyeballs you get, after all.

Get your new Rx, including the pupil distance, then politely leave the doctor’s office. Their markup is insane.

I use Zenni, which is cheap enough to allow me to get a couple pairs of glasses for wayyyy less than a single pair at any retail option I’ve found. I’ll select 1 frame as the fancy pair, for the bells & whistles available for lenses (usually just blue filter for me, but there’s lots of options) and get one or two frames with less fancy lenses, as backups. This takes some of the guesswork out of selecting frames without being able to try them on, since SOMEthing will fit perfectly. Zenni lets you upload a selfie so you can virtually try on frames, which is somewhat helpful.

But yeah … frames are machine stamped out of acrylic, or similar. Lenses are medical devices, really, and are custom crafted to fractions of a millimetre tolerance & hand-ground. They’re gonna be a bit more expensive than frames.

I’ve used America’s Best before, they’re just fine if you have a simple prescription and need only single vision lenses. The frame selection isn’t designer or even super fashionable, but for decent glasses that will fit your face (they have plenty of selection in their $69.99 deal range) you could do a lot worse.
If you have a more complicated prescription, have ever had eye issues, or know you’d like a contact lens prescription as well, I’d say go elsewhere. But even for me, for my simple vision correction needs, they do just fine. I’m under an opthalmologist’s care as well, though.
The only thing to remember is that they contract with local optometrist providers, and the eye exam is provided by people who don’t necessarily work for the company. It’s a big nationwide operation, and it feels like it - but their customer service has been great every time I have been here in the South.