Update: From the comments: Patrick Mueller suggests reviewing potential retailers here: http://www.eyeglassretailerreviews.com/index.htm. He also notes that he picked up some prescription shades at EyeBuyDirect.com. For those of you in the U.K., David A. recommends Glasses Direct.
About three months ago, my then one-year old snapped my $300 glasses in two. One month later he broke the stem off my previous pair of glasses that I still had lying around. I’ve been wearing an even older pair since then. (Fortunately I don’t throw away old glasses and my prescription hasn’t changed in years.)
Let me tell you about those $300 glasses. I got them at the optometrist in town. It took two weeks for them to have them ready, though they promised me one week. When I picked them up, the lenses didn’t fit the frames - there were gaps big enough to put a kitchen-match through. A week later they had a new pair for me, but within days the screws near the stem came loose. A day later I had a pair of glasses I could wear. Even so, I paid for scratch-resistant lenses, but the glasses were showing scratches in no time. What on earth was I paying for?
After number-two son broke the second pair of glasses, I recalled a site I stumbled upon months earlier, Glassy Eyes, created by some guy who went through something similar to the above, bought some eyeglasses online, and was immensely happy. So I went downtown and got my prescription, clicked over to eyeglassdirect.com, and bought four pair of eyeglasses for — get this — $160! It could have been cheaper, but I opted for the polycarbonate lenses instead of plain plastic.
They arrived yesterday. They look as good as any other pair of glasses I’ve ever owned, the lenses fit the frames, I can see out of all of them, and, for all intents and purposes, they’re disposable.
Was everything perfect? No. One pair of glasses doesn’t fit very well. It’s not the fault of eyeglassdirect.com, but rather it’s the frames I chose. Had I been in a store, this wouldn’t have happened. But then, of course, I still would have ended up spending $300 on a single pair of glasses. Also, eyeglassdirect is experiencing some growing pains; it took three weeks for my glasses to arrive. Of course, that’s the same amount of time it took the local optometrist, and those glasses lasted six months.
So, if you wear glasses and you’re tired of being fleeced, go online for your next pair, and avoid the 1,000% mark up.