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Why Are Glasses So Expensive and How To Avoid High Costs

Buying a new pair of glasses can feel like parting with an arm and a leg. Many factors contribute to the rising prices for prescription glasses, from material costs to retail markups and insurance limitations.

However, there are relatively high-quality, affordable options available. We're going to explore why glasses are so costly. You'll also discover where to find reasonably priced glasses — because everyone deserves to be able to see and look great.

What Factors Contribute to the High Cost of Glasses?

Several factors go into a single pair of glasses, even beyond prescription strength. Understanding these elements, which contribute to the overall cost of glasses, can help you make more informed decisions.

Let's explore what goes into the price of glasses:

Material Costs

Frames and lenses are made of many different materials, and a brand's choice of materials will impact the final price. High-quality materials and specialized lens coatings, for example, will raise the price — and features like great durability, flexibility, and aesthetics can influence the final price tag, too.

Branding and Marketing

Branding and marketing play a significant role in eyewear pricing. Designers and well-known brands often charge higher prices based on reputation and perceived value. Consumers also pay for marketing expenses when a brand advertises or uses celebrity endorsements.

Retail Markup

Making eyewear is a business, first and foremost. Many brands apply retail markups to their glasses, and some companies can significantly inflate prices compared to wholesale costs.

If you buy from a brick-and-mortar optical retailer, the price may include additional expenses for rent, utilities, employee salaries, and more. When you combine these markups with brand premiums and marketing expenses, you can get a pretty expensive pair of glasses.

These are only a few of the factors driving up the cost of eyewear. The manufacturing process is another area driving up the price. Consumers must examine all their options to make the best decision for their budget and their eyes. There are ways to alleviate these costs and affordable alternatives.

How Can You Find Affordable Glasses?

One of the best ways to avoid paying the most for glasses is by comparison shopping. Who doesn’t love to find a great deal? There is a wide range of options at varying price points.

One way to mitigate the cost of eyewear is to buy from an online retailer. This way, you can avoid the additional costs associated with brick-and-mortar stores. Online retailers also often have a more extensive selection of frames and lenses (and shopping from your couch is also an added convenience).

Pair Eyewear offers numerous Base Frames, Top Frames, and lenses at competitive prices to fit everyone's needs. Plus, we offer add-on lens coasting (like blue light-filtering) to make sure your glasses perfectly match your needs. With Pair, our Top Frames connect magnetically onto your Base Frames… which means you don’t need to buy a separate pair of sunglasses, for example.

After all, your eyewear should enhance your life, not turn it into a hassle.

What Should You Know About Glasses Insurance Coverage?

Navigating insurance coverage for glasses can be confusing. No one wants to read through their plan or make phone calls. Everyone's insurance differs, and the extent of vision coverage depends on the plan and provider. However, understanding your insurance coverage is crucial for maximizing your benefits and minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses.

Review Your Insurance Policy

The first step is to review your insurance policy to better understand your vision coverage. Look for any limitations, exclusions, or restrictions that may apply to glasses, including coverage for frames, lenses, and prescription upgrades.

Know Your Plan's Network Providers

Insurance companies typically have a network of preferred providers, including optometrists, ophthalmologists, and optical retailers. Track down the list and consider visiting a network provider who may offer additional benefits.

You may be eligible for discounted rates or expanded coverage options. Always verify whether your chosen place is still an in-network provider to maximize your insurance benefits.

Understand Coverage Limits and Copays

Most insurance plans have coverage limits and copays associated with vision care. There may be limitations on the specific type of frames, lenses, prescription upgrades, lens coatings, or adjustments. Consider what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.

Explore Out-of-Network Options

There are advantages to visiting an in-network provider, but out-of-network options may be the way to go. Other retailers may be better if your copay is high or you don't like the in-network options.

Your insurance plan may also partially reimburse you for services received from out-of-network providers. Thus, you can choose the brand that best suits your needs and style and not have to pay for it entirely yourself.

Discover Affordable Eyewear With Pair

Pair Eyewear is one of the best online retailers for high-quality glasses at a reasonable price point. We offer frame options for men, women, and children. In addition to our Base Frames, we have various lightweight Top Frames, so you can switch up your eyewear without having to pay for a completely separate pair.

We make our frames from stress-tested, hand-polished acetate. They all have a universally fitting nose bridge, adjustable temple arms, and flexible, spring-loaded hinges.

Our lenses are scratch-resistant and made of premium polycarbonate. They also have an anti-reflective coating, so you won't see too much reflected light on our lenses. These lenses can be made to fit your prescription, non-prescription, readers, sunglasses, and progressive lenses. The lenses can also have a blue light filtering coating or light-responsive/transition capabilities.

Our Base Frames are all $60, and our Top Frames start at $25. The cost goes up depending on your prescription. For example, single vision and premium plus lenses are an additional $59. There's no additional cost for non-prescription lenses or readers.

Special coatings can also raise the price of eyewear. A blue-light filtering coating costs $49, but it may be worth it if you spend a lot of time on digital devices. Light-responsive lenses will raise the cost even more, so you have to decide what is within your budget.

Finding affordable glasses in a world of rising prices requires a little research. However, premium-quality eyewear is still available without costing an excessive amount — at Pair Eyewear, we prioritize providing you a wide range of frame options at reasonable prices.


How to Read an Eyeglasses Prescription | American Academy of Ophthalmology

Understanding Retail Markup, Margins + Markdowns | ASD Market Week

Vision Insurance Explained | Confluence Health

Eyeglass Lens | How Products Are Made