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Cheap vs. Expensive Glasses Lenses: What Are You Paying For?

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According to the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, the average prescription eyeglasses can range from 240 to almost 1,000 dollars. If you’re looking for the best pair of lenses, what’re you paying for? 

Your optometrist writes you your prescription, but you can get your lenses from anywhere. Learn more about what you’re paying for when debating cheap and expensive lenses so you can make the best decision for your needs. 

Cheap Lenses: What’re You Paying For?

Many assume expensive equals high-quality and cheap equals low-quality. Your glasses don’t need to cost hundreds of dollars to provide you with clear vision. If you’re looking for something to get the job done, cheaper lenses are never a bad option. 

If you’re looking to get your hands on some lower-cost lenses, what’re you paying for? 

Cost-Convenient Lenses 

Cheaper lenses generally use more common lens materials. They may not be as tailored to your needs as other lens materials, but they still provide clear vision for a fraction of the cost. 

Generally speaking, the lower the cost of your lenses, the fewer features you have available. You’re sacrificing a more personalized pair of lenses for something more frugal. If you’re debating going for a more cost-effective route with your glasses, think about what you need for your vision before buying. 

Purchasing Convenience 

You can buy cheaper lenses from a variety of locations. You can go to a retail store, vision centre, or even shop online

If you need easy-to-obtain, cheaper lenses, you have convenience on your side. You can order a new pair of glasses without having to leave your couch. 

With cheaper lenses, you’re getting what you need to provide yourself with clear vision, but more expensive options give you a more personalized pair of glasses. If you’re looking at more expensive lenses, what’re you paying for? 

Expensive Lenses: What’re You Paying For? 

Everyone deserves clear vision, but some are willing to pay more for high-quality lenses with additional features and customization. Lenses are incredibly customizable; you can add lens tint, anti-reflective coating, or scratch-resistant technology to your eyewear. You can create a lens designed for multiple prescriptions, including bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses. 

Generally, the cost of your lenses depends on a combination of factors, including the lens’ quality, features, customization, and the service you’re purchasing your lenses from.

Even if you want quality eyewear without any additions, why might your bill end up expensive? If you’re wondering what you pay for with expensive lenses, here are some of the common factors: 

High-Quality Lens Materials 

With eyeglasses, there are more options for lenses than you think. With more options, there is a larger difference in price. Besides your standard glass or plastic lenses, many options exist, including: 

Each type of lens offers different benefits for its user. Some are impact-resistant, lighter, or thinner; making a final decision usually comes down to preference. Generally speaking, a more customized or quality lens may affect your bill more than standard lenses. 

Before you look for a new pair of lenses, think about your lifestyle and the features you need.

Optician comparing lenses and showing a customer different options in spectacles

Lens Features 

Besides the type of material your lenses use, there are other options to give your eyeglasses a personalized feel. If you’re suffering from presbyopia, you may have multiple prescriptions you switch between throughout your day. A common feature is the addition of multiple prescriptions in a single lens. 

Your standard lenses have one prescription, but multifocal lenses are available for people needing 2 or more prescriptions in a single lens. There are several types of multifocal lenses, including: 

If you need multiple prescriptions, research multifocal lenses before making your final decision; the convenience may be worth the cost. There are many multifocal lenses, but knowing what you need for your new eyeglasses can help with any cost considerations.

Lens Customization

With lenses today, there are many cosmetic and functional additions available. If you’re on your computer throughout the day, an anti-reflective coating can reduce the glare hitting your lenses. Scratch-resistant coating can protect your lenses from drops and falls. 

Special lens treatments include: 

These customizations can give your eyewear more protection and functionality, but this may come at a cost. Money-conscious eyeglasses wearers should determine if they need any lens customization before making a final decision. 

Hands-On Professional Help

While some shop online or at retail vision stores, many people buy their eyewear from their optometrist’s office. While you’re trying on lenses, you have assistance from trained and experienced opticians. They can answer any questions or concerns you may have and help you fit your glasses. 

Other retail stores may have cheaper costs, but they may not provide the level of service your optometrist’s office does. A comfortable, effective pair of glasses may be worth the extra cost. 

Do Your Research Before You Buy

If you need glasses, your lenses are an investment for long-term, clear vision. Before you make a final decision, determine what your vision needs.Do some research on the lens materials, features, and customizations you need. You can always contact your optometrist’s office if you have any questions. Whenever you’re ready to purchase your new lenses, contact the corresponding retailer or call your optometrist.

Written by Laurie Capogna

Dr. Laurie Capogna is a doctor of optometry and the founder of Eye Wellness. Her mission is to educate and inspire her patients, the public, and the eye care community about the power of nutrition and lifestyle in ocular health. She regularly presents educational lectures and articles on eye health and nutrition, and has co-authored two best-selling books on these subjects; Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes and Eyefoods for Kids: A Tasty Guide to Nutrition and Eye Health.

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We are located at the corner of Portage Rd. and Colborne St., in the same complex as the Shoppers Drug Mart and Stamford Centre Library.

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  • 3643 Portage Rd, Unit 9
  • Niagara Falls, ON L2J 2K8

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