Why are prescription eyeglasses so expensive? Some cost more than $2000, and this doesn’t even include the pricy eye exam!
According to Bruce Bergez, former owner of the Great Glasses retail chain, quality generic lenses can cost as little as $2-10 to make. In addition, CBC says that in a pair of glasses, you have one, two, three, four screws, and a pair of lenses made out of plastic! The frames are made from either metal or frames, so why are they so costly? It’s the established retailers and the regulators of the optometry industry who keep the costs so high.
74 percent of Canadians need vision correction — in a lifetime, that’s a whole lot of money. So, where can people on a budget shop and find stylish frames at affordable prices?
We’ve found some great options for you. If you’re in the market to buy great prescription eyeglasses that won’t break your wallet, check out our list.
Here are the top 9 places to buy affordable glasses in Toronto:
Did you know that your local Costco has a vision centre? Each and every location has one! They accept current prescriptions from licensed doctors, optometrists, and ophthalmologists, so you don’t need to have an eye exam there to purchase eyewear. The median price for a pair of glasses is a bargain at just $157, and they also have contacts available for purchase. Just go to your favourite Costco location if you’re a member — no appointments necessary.
This chain is full of deals, promotions, specials, coupons, and discounts on everything from frames to contact lenses. Pearle Vision stores are located all around Toronto and the GTA, so finding one near you is super easy. Before you drop in, make sure to check out their Special Offers page, where they often have multiple deals going on at a time.
3. Ollie Quinn
With multiple locations around Toronto, you can buy sunglasses and prescription glasses for as low as $155 at Ollie Quinn. They have a wide range of styles, from Harry Potters to steel aviators. Not to mention, they also offer eye exams. For orders made online, Ollie Quinn offers free shipping, and if you don’t like what you get, you can return them for free!
4. Warby Parker
With two locations in Toronto, one on Queen St. West and one in Yorkdale Shopping Centre, you can pick up cheap eyewear from Warby Parker. Choose from a huge selection and pay bargain prices of $150 for a pair of frames with prescription lenses. You can even get them delivered to your home! If you’re looking for something extra special, make sure to check out their limited edition glasses online.
This nondescript storefront in Toronto’s Chinatown is not to be missed. Forget the unassuming exterior and check out Saigon Optical‘s super cheap prices. They even have the occasional two-for-one deal at less than $150. Brands featured at the store include Kendall + Kylie, Gucci, Tom Ford, YSL, Cartier, and more.
If you want to go a bit more upscale and look for a specific designer, take a peek at this Queen West store before buying anywhere else. The Toronto Fashion District-based store has been in business for over 20 years! At Specs and Specs, you’ll like find designer glasses for less than other retailers, and some are less than $150.
7. LF Optical
Check out their five stores across the GTA to find thousands of frames, including boutique lines from top designers, at big discounts. Brands you’ll find at LF Optical stores include Burberry, Oliver People’s, Tory Burch, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, and more.
With only one location in Toronto, Clearly is well worth the streetcar or car ride downtown. Located on Queen St. West, the e-comm store-turned-storefront offers in-house contact lense fittings and eye exams. With your exam, you’ll get a $20 credit towards your next pair of glasses. Don’t need an exam? Don’t worry. You can bring in your prescription and choose a pair you like regardless. Prices start at just $50.
Another place to look for trendy yet affordable eyewear is BonLook. The retailer has eight locations across the GTA, and offers glasses with prescriptions lenses starting at $145. Each pair of frames featured in-stores are designed in Montreal, so you can feel good about supporting a Canadian business and look good while you’re at it!
Featured Image: Instagram/@oqstories