Saving Money

Eyeglasses are expensive!

A few years ago, a friend with five kids in glasses and no vision insurance told me about a place where she gets an eye exam and two pair of glasses for $69.  That’s a huge discount from what I’m paying, and I’ve intended to see if there’s such a place locally.  Checking Consumer Affairs makes that not seem like a very good deal, though, so I’ve stuck uncomfortably with the local optometrist.

Like most people with vision coverage, I know that my insurance will pick up the cost of the exam.  I never get an EOB, though, so didn’t know the exam cost.  Last week, however, when I was picking up my new glasses, another patient came in to argue the bill she’d received when her insurance denied her claim.  My eye doctor charges $318 for an eye exam!

I always feel like the office staff are high-pressure salesmen more interested in running up the price than in helping me find the best pair of glasses to fit my needs and budget.  After insurance pays for the entire exam, the frames, and a set amount for the lenses, I still usually owe $150-$200 for a pair of glasses. 

Yet there’s another place that can afford to run TV advertisements and still make money charging $69 for two pair of glasses and that includes the exam.  There’s something very wrong with this picture.

It’s time for a change.

Recently I discovered a post at The Underwear Drawer about ordering glasses online.  Complete with tips on how to pick the right size frames, this was a great find!  I checked to see what it would have cost if I’d gotten my new glasses online instead.  There is no need to pay $150 to have insurance pay for my glasses if I can get the same thing for $94 without insurance (and possibly have insurance refund me part of that money).

Have you ever ordered glasses online?  If so, what was your experience?