The Eyes Have It

by Joan on February 16, 2013

WP copyI’ve been wearing glasses for over thirty-five years now.  I don’t know what my first pair cost, but I do know every time I walk into a eyewear shop these days I almost faint the prices are so high.  The store here in Boulder that routinely wins the “Best of …” award in the optical category sells frames alone that I would guess average over $300.  On top of that even single vision lenses are expensive (especially with all the add-ons they try and sell you) and progressive lens prices are almost obscene.

The eyeglasses industry is apparently a bit of a racket.  CBS News did a segment last year on the Italian company Luxottica, which not only manufactured over 65 million pairs of frames last year, they also own Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sunglass Hut, a number of boutique chains including Oliver Peoples, and they run both Target Optical and Sears Optical.  Whew.  But wait – there’s more! They own Ray-Ban and Oakley and make the glasses for almost every high-end designer you can think of – Coach, Prada, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany…you get the idea.  They practically own the the world of eyewear.

There’s a few alternatives, but only a few.  Costco and Walmart are the obvious choices. I’ve purchased glasses from Costco before and I’ve not been unhappy, but I think most of their frames are, well, boring.

Enter Warby Parker, a trendy online eyewear store.  Here’s the scoop on this cool site:

  • Most of their glasses are $95.  Some styles are $145.  This INCLUDES single vision lenses.  The lenses are polarized, have anti-scratch and anti-reflective coating and are UV-protective. 
  • They offer a “try it on at home” feature. They’ll send you five frames of your choice for you to try on.  You send them back.  All for free, no purchase necessary.
  • Free shipping on the eyewear you buy.
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed.  They’ll refund your money and pay the postage to return the glasses.
  • Need progressives, bi-focals or tri-focals?  You’ll get a 10% discount if you order the frames alone.
  • Buy a pair of glasses from Warby Parker and they’ll donate a pair to someone in need.

Warby Parker is not for everyone.  Their frames are fashion forward with a strong hipster look.  Very Excellent Son Cameron has two pair and he looks positively gorgeous in them, IMHO.  I’ve got my five “try it on at home” frames on the way.  I’ll have to purchase my old lady tri-focals here locally, so I won’t get the crazy good price of $95. But I won’t be paying $400 for the frames, either.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

lori February 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Awesome. I will check this out for my daughter…thanks!
lori´s last blog post ..Bibs For A Good Cause

Joan February 20, 2013 at 7:54 am

I hope she likes them – my son just ordered a couple more pair!

Nancy Nancy February 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

I think my daughter will like these too. I did look for my mom but she wants rimless or partially rimless frames and they don’t carry those. :( I wish there were more sites like this though. What a great idea.

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