I'm almost half blind, so I have to wear glasses and contact lenses constantly. I wear my contacts for at least 12 hours a day (eek my optometrist doesn't like to hear that, of course) and so I go through them pretty quick.
Unless you have extended health (thanks! Extended Health!) the price of glasses can be pretty darn steep. The pair that I got a few years ago would have cost me around $500 had it not been for the extended health benefits, knocking it down a few hundred dollars.
The secret (well, not such a big secret, really) is to buy your glasses and contacts online. Because there is no middle man (no high traffic- rent to pay, and no wages to pay salespeople) glasses and contact lenses bought online a much cheaper than if you buy them in person- sometimes even FREE.
Clearly Contacts (which claims to be Canada's largest optical store) had a giveaway one year in Vancouver (they alternate this big event in different parts of the country) where they were giving out FREE glasses if you ordered them online. I think I just had to pay shipping, which was under $10. I got a nice pair of white Gucci glasses (yes, it's real!) for $10. Now I take this pair traveling with me because I don't have to worry about sitting on it, scratching it up, or losing it.
Other times when Clearly Contact's glasses AREN'T free, they're $38. At that price, you can get a different pair for different moods that you're in.
There are lots of other online retailers that are reliable and cheap:
- Coastal Contacts– The American sibling of Clearly Contacts
- Zenni Optical– Complete eye glasses starting at $8 (that is cheaper than a meal, seriously!)- no frills, they make their own glasses, so you won't find your Gucci glasses here though)
- 39 Dollar Glasses– Yup, $39 for a pair of glasses
- Goggles 4 U – Another cheap retailer
I personally have used Clearly Contacts and really like them. I buy my contact lenses from them now and I save about 30% from my regular Optical's price. Sometimes there are promo codes that you can use too (like the Entertainment Book promo code for an additional 15% off). Also they have free shipping if you buy over a certain amount.
All you need to know is your prescription. What I did was I bought from my regular walk-in optical store(a smaller amount) and then used the box numbers to order my next prescription online.
For glasses, you would need to have a ruler to measure the distance between your pupils (this is kind of hard to do buy yourself, I find).
The downside is that there isn't a real person to help you fit your glasses on (they usually have these cool handy dandy pliers that they use to tweak the nose piece). But I guess you get what you pay for, right?
I don't see a downside with buying contact lenses online, really. Except that you really need to know the measurements on the box.
Have you tried buying your glasses and contact lenses online? What do you think of it? Did you find you saved some money?