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Saving on Eye Care: Bargains and Risks

Why cutting costs on eye care sometimes goes too far.
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The Proper Way to Get a Proper Fit continued...

"What would happen if the customer can't adapt to the frame or prescription? Are there returns? Remakes? Redos? I'm not aware of any governing body standing behind online ordering," says Schoen. "These are new frontiers."

Pierce advises patients to use the Internet as a way to educate themselves about what is available, to find frames that they think they might like, and then seek out a local store that can fit them properly with a pair of glasses that matches what they need and what they want.

"In my mind, the online experience could be positive if it is used as a means rather than an end," Pierce says.

Money-Saving Tips

But there must be a way to save money on eye care, right? In fact, there are several.

Pierce says that these days, more and more of his customers are keeping their old frames when they update their prescription. For most people, that will be the best way to keep costs down.

"The frame accounts for roughly half the price of new glasses," Pierce says. "So if your current frame is in good condition, keep using them."

If you have to have new frames, skip the designer brands and go with the generic. Pierce says the only difference in the frame itself may be the name printed on it. The difference in price, on the other hand, can be quite significant.

Pierce also says that close-outs or discontinued models might be available at a low cost. However, they might not be on display, so be sure to ask if any are in stock.

Schoen says another way to save money is to make use of budget eyewear chains, but first do your homework. He says that the quality of care can vary from place to place.

"The most dependable way to find a place that does good work is through word of mouth," Schoen says. "Talk to your friends first and see where they have had good experiences."

Lastly, both Pierce and Schoen say there is nothing wrong with a cheap pair of reading glasses like the ones found at the supermarket or drugstore.

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