If you wear glasses, I don’t have to tell you they can cost a bomb. If you don’t qualify for NHS assistance, the frames alone can set you back a bit, but even if you you’re out of luck for thinned lenses and may well end up with either a lighter wallet or a set of Coke-bottle bottoms.
So many adverts are on, ceaselessly promising cheaper glasses and package deals, but how can you tell where to find the cheapest glasses? And will they be just as good as the more expensive ones?
Before you buy glasses from Vision Express, consider this: they perform a lot of extraneous tests, allowing you the certainty of knowing your eyes have been tested to the full extent of their abilities… But their glasses and lenses are much more expensive than most other outlets’. It could well be worth it to have your eyes tested at Vision Express, but unless you have unlimited funds and your heart is set on a frame you can only buy there, you’re best off getting your prescription and taking it to a different shop to buy the actual glasses.
Specsavers, another popular outlet, offer many deals. Don’t be fooled by their “complete glasses for £x” wording, however. While it is technically true, many people need thinned lenses as they have heavy prescriptions. These will not be covered by the deal and can run up a pretty penny right away. Additionally, the lenses are not covered by any two-for-one deal, so if you buy a set of glasses and pay for the thinned lenses, the free second pair will require you to pay for the thinned lenses again.
This can actually be gotten around if you are seeking prescription sunglasses or buy thick frames. You needn’t get the lenses as thin as possible if the thickness of the frame will hide the thickness of the lenses, and as you don’t wear sunglasses all the time, the weight of thick lenses won’t hurt your nose after a day.
Online retailers such as www.GlassesDirect.co.uk can often pass on a saving. The idea is that you go see your local optometrist and ask them for a prescription, and then pass the information on to the website in question so they can make your glasses. Often these websites claim to be able to save you a lot of money, but again you have to be prepared to pay extra if you need thinned lenses, and only rarely are they able to accommodate people with extreme prescriptions.
They do often offer savings on frames, and many of them offer a free tryout service, whereby they send you frames of your choosing for a few days so you can make a more informed choice as you would at a physical retailer’s where you can try them on personally.
The thing to remember, before you make a definite choice to purchase your glasses somewhere, is that you have a variety of options. Shopping around is certainly a reasonable thing to do. Many optometrists will behave as if, by default, you will be purchasing glasses from them simply because they are giving you your eye test.
Don’t be intimidated by this attitude; they are only trying to make a sale. If you want your prescription only, or if you want to shop around for glasses once you know what sort of lenses you will need, you should feel more than free to say so and have them treat you like any other customer.