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Consumer Reports: Save money on prescription glasses

July 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're in the market for a new pair of prescription glasses, then you might be buying them from a local mom-and-pop store.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center's survey of nearly 20,000 subscribers finds people who shopped locally are some of the most satisfied.

"Readers gave independent shops and private doctors' offices top marks for the quality of the glasses, but also for customer care and follow-up service," said Consumer Reports' Margot Gilman.

But they're also among the costliest places to shop. You can save big on eyewear -- as much as 40 percent according to Consumer Reports -- if you know where to shop.

You'll get the biggest bang for your buck at Costco. Cost-conscious shoppers can expect to pay less than $200 for a new pair of glasses -- and still get above-average quality, service, and staff expertise. But Costco's selection isn't as impressive.

For a huge selection and low prices, shop online.

"It can be more work. You have to try the frames on and then find them online, but you can save a bundle," said Gilman.

Two sites to check out are framesdirect.com and eyeglasses.com. But if service and follow-up care are important to you, Costco, private doctors' offices and independent shops are good bets. And ask about price matching -- it can't hurt.

If you have a basic prescription, another place to save on glasses is by using a new type of online site that sells its own brand of frames. For example, through a website like WarbyParker.com, you can get a basic pair of glasses, frames and lenses for under $100 and they will even mail frames to you to try on at no charge.


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