I buy my eyeglasses online, paying about $30 a pair (I use Optical4Less, though there are many other online prescription eyeglass stores with equally low prices). I've always suspected brick and mortar eyeglass shops to be a ripoff, and this excellent LA Times article by David Lazurus confirmed my suspicions.
[E. Dean Butler, the founder of LensCrafters] said he recently visited factories in China where many glasses for the U.S. market are manufactured. Improved technology has made prices even lower than what Dahan recalled.
"You can get amazingly good frames, with a Warby Parker level of quality, for $4 to $8," Butler said. "For $15, you can get designer-quality frames, like what you'd get from Prada."
And lenses? "You can buy absolutely first-quality lenses for $1.25 apiece," Butler said.
Yet those same frames and lenses might sell in the United States for $800.
Butler laughed. "I know," he said. "It's ridiculous. It's a complete rip-off."
Image: Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock