Whenever I see multiple friends suddenly bitch at once about this time of year about the price of glasses (why does everyone get glasses just after Labor Day? *shrug*) I realize I've missed telling someone else something: Glasses are a rip-off on the magnitude of thousands of percent. Yes, for every dollar you spend nine or more can end up being profit for the vendor.
How'd you like to be able to afford to get a bi-yearly eye exam, and regularly buy three to five pairs of glasses a year, and still pay less than $200 a year? Sure, won't work for some ultra-extreme cases, but here's how for the majority:
- Wal-Mart charges $50 for an eye exam at locations so equipped. If you just need a basic exam, they're perfect. That's between $50 and $100/year. Make sure to ask for your "PD Number" which usually isn't filled out on the prescription sheet unless you remind them. It's how far apart your eyeballs are.
- GlassyEyes is the central blog that links to all major internet eyeware vendors that don't ass-rape you. $8 for a pair of prescription glasses? Ding, look here. There's plenty more up to around $60/pair for hingeless memory-titanium ones w/ ultra-ultra-light lenses and sillyness like that.
- Order from one of those sub-sites, no wierd voodoo, no insurance claims, just pay about what you would for a couple pizza's, and wait anywhere from a week to a couple months. Yes, months in some cases for some of the on-line vendors. One sub-vendor that comes and goes due to their long shipping delays but incredibly low prices is Zenni Optical. They're the one I've personally bought stuff for others from, and most of my friends have personally ended up using them with great success, but their shipping times vary across the full gammut from 2 weeks to the full 2 months. They DO eventually ship though!
So who can't do this? Those that need a new pair of glasses in the next 24-48 hours. That's pretty much it. If you can be patient, you can order a half-dozen pairs ranging from cheap $8 ones to keep as spares in the glove-boxes and night-stands of your life and for going swimming in (yes, you can get a pair of solid-plastic corrosion-proof prescription eyeglasses w/ tinting just for poolside/beachside use, huzzah, now we're talking civilized living!) and still have one or two pairs of really nice day-use glasses.