My SO and I just went in for our annual eye checkups, and it's finally time for both of us to replace our several-year-old glasses. As usual, after the checkup we were directed to the eyeglass sales area of the store, and a sales rep came out to help us pick out frames. We both tried on a number of frames, and selected a few to price out. The cheapest frame I had chosen was $200 after insurance, and the most expensive was more than $500 after insurance. Lenses would have cost about $100 extra. My SO's potential frames were in the same price range, but would have had even more expensive lenses. All told, we probably would have spent more than $1,000 buying new glasses at the optometrist.
Thankfully, we knew that we could find a better deal, as a while ago I found Glassy Eyes, a blog about ordering glasses online. While ordering glasses online is a bit harder than ordering them in person (you must enter your prescription manually, know your interpupillary distance1, and analyze the frame sizes to see how they'll fit on your face), the price difference was astounding: there are multiple websites where you can find quite decent looking glasses for less than $40 a pair, including lenses.
So, rather than spending $1,000 at our local optometrist, my SO and I just ordered a new pair of glasses for each of us from Optical4Less, spending less than $100 total. While I'm willing to pay for the extra service an optometrist provides, and the convenience of a local store, said conveniences are not worth a ten-fold increase in price.
If these glasses turn out to be good, I think we're going to go on a glasses-buying binge.
1 While you can measure interpupillary distance with a ruler, we did it using a binocular compound microscope with adjustable-width eyepieces.