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Buying eyeglasses at Costco

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After breaking my last pair of current prescription eyeglasses at the track last weekend, I needed to shop for a new pair which meant another round of aggravation over the ridiculously high prices at the usual stores. I had never considered Costco before my partner mentioned that it saves her hundreds of dollars each time so I did some comparison shopping.

I never paid attention to the corporate information of Lenscrafters, my usual supplier, and was surprised to learn that they have the same owner as Pearle Vision as well as Sunglass Hut and several other chain stores in your local malls. The parent company, Luxoticca (also a brand of frames sold by Lenscrafters), also bought Oakley for $2 billion. Needless to say, the fact that one company owns most, if not all, of the eyeglass stores in your malls makes it difficult to get a good price on anything.

After a little more research, I found that Costco was rated very highly among consumers and not only was less expensive but also provided a higher customer satisfaction rating. Although I now have to wait 10 days for my new glasses to come in rather than an hour at Lenscrafters, the glasses that Lenscrafters wanted to sell me for $450 (after discounts) cost me only $159 at Costco.

I just thought that I would pass along the info in case anyone was like me and had simply settled for the convenience of the Lenscrafters chain type stores without realizing that those sames lenses costing several hundred dollars start at $49 at Costco and the frames generally are less than $100. And, yes, you do have to be a member but if you are not the annual fee is only $50 which you recoup on the first pair of glasses and you can also stock up on Mobil 1 while you are there.
 
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I know someone who is an optometrist at Costco and they have told me the same thing. Did you get the glasses with the "OptiGrab".
 
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Great news. Do you take your perscription in or do/can you have your eyes tested there?
 
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great post! we've used costco opto-services for ~3 years and have been very happy with walk-in availability (for testing), quality and price of their products.

thx for the reminder.
 
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Costco's prices, especially on fashion name brand frames and lenses, are indeed lower.

However ..... there is always the "but" ...... the frames are limited to what they have on display, and the displays vary from store to store with no rhyme or reason (like some of their other products). You can't order a frame on display in different size or color, not to mention anything else from the same manufacturer. If you bring your own existing frame, they add $18 service charge (here in CA) for using your frame but buying their lenses. Still can be a bargain - especially when compared to Kaiser's Optometry!

I have used both Costco and another local boutique shop that offers "relatively" competitive pricing with great service and the selection benefits that Costco doesn't offer. Shopping around does pay.
 
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Re: A timely kick in the butt for me

I got a new pair of glasses a few months ago and promptly lost them. After hearing the full boat replacement price, I decided my old ones looked (and worked) just fine for now. I had wondered about going to Costco or using www.cheapeyeglasses. Guess I'll get my prescription and stop by Costco and check them out a little closer. I mean if you've got an endorsement (albeit qualified) from Hrant :cool: on something involving money, well, it really can't get any better than that.......... unless you're buying floor mats from him. :biggrin:
 
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However ..... there is always the "but" ...... the frames are limited to what they have on display, and the displays vary from store to store with no rhyme or reason...

That was a concern of mine before I decided to drop in without an appointment. Although more limited than at Lenscrafters, I found their selection covered most of the styles that could be found at Lenscrafters, which looks to have a lot more, in part, as a result of displaying the same style in multiple colors.

Even if you need to bring in your own frames, the nominal upcharge for them making lenses will still save you at least $75 over the competing chain lenses. When I asked the Lenscrafters personnel as to why the identical lenses cost only $49 at Costco, they replied that it was because Lenscrafters can make them in an hour. Not enough of a reason for me to pay $300 more for a pair of glasses overall.

If you do not see frames you like at Costco, I would also recommend http://www.framesdirect.com/ for discounted frames. As indicated above, you will still save at least $75 on the lenses plus approximately 40% of the frames cost. Compare identical frame prices on Lenscrafters site. For example, Frames Direct sells Luxoticca at 40% off of the price at Lenscrafters who is owned by Luxoticca. I am using Frames Direct to buy a pair of prescription Oakleys at a savings of $180. Lenscrafters simply sends the Oakley frames out "to Oakley" (their subsidiary) to make prescription lenses so you would have to wait anyway for them.
 
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Not sure about the only $49 for lenses at Costco .......... I paid about $95 for polycarbonate with anti glare lens - bringing my frame. My boutique shop does it for $129 and they have the convenience of doing in-house too!

Frames Direct is indeed good value since they ship for free. The fashion frame that my daughter was looking cost $245 at Kaiser (plus 7.75% sales tax) but only $189 at Frames Direct. Costco did not carry those frames but similar ones were about $165. My boutique shop is getting it for $191. YMMV.
 
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Not sure about the only $49 for lenses at Costco .......... I paid about $95 for polycarbonate with anti glare lens - bringing my frame.

That was for the basic plastic lens that most people can use. The Poly with anti-glare lens will be an upcharge at Costco just as it is at Lenscrafters. The equivalent Lenscrafters lenses are marketed as "FeatherWates" and are in excess of $200 just for the lenses compared with in the $90s at Costco.
 
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Thanks for the heads-up. I will most certainly look into this.

Speaking of Costco ... the only reason I joined was so that I could get my mitts on big jugs of Hoody's Cinnamon Toasted Almonds. Which they promply stopped carrying at my local store.
But if you find them, try them. You'll get hooked.

http://hoodysnuts.com/products/almonds.html
 
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One one can beat Costco's prices period. They also have a great warranty on the glasses for manufacture defects. If it breaks due to normal wear. Just bring it in and if they can't fix it, they will get you a new pair. (Of course with in a reasonable time frame 3-5 months).

I just got a new cell phone contract with AT&T via Costco and all 4 Sony E. cell phones ended up costing me a total $30.00 + taxes. I got an instant in-store rebate of <$450.00> off my total.
 
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I am an Optometrist x 12 years so feel compelled to give my .02 to help my fellow Prime members. I am an avid Costco shopper & believe they have the best bang for the $$ for 90% of the products they offer. Like a mechanic though, you should develop a relationship (assuming the doc is personable) with your optometrist AND their staff. Although you can attempt this in a box chain, it is more difficult due to the higher turnover rate of employees and volume of patients the doctor sees. Unfortunately, the difference from one eye exam to the next is not realized til' pathology or suspect pathology is brought to the attention of the patient. Again, it is no different from than a PPI on a car or any other tests/repairs we do on our beloved NSXs. In addition, the refraction or "which one is better test" technique varies from one doc to another. I use a series of double check systems to verify the anser of the patient, explain EXACTLY what I am looking for, and give the patient time to answer/decide. This gives the patient a very precise Rx for their glasses. As for the glasses themselves, I agree with what was said, Costco typically carries limited colors/styles/last years models etc so if a part is damaged you would likely need to replace the entire frame/lenses. Other things to consider, we have an in house lab where we edge the lens (not quite as extensive/$$ as Lenscrafters where they can make the entire lens from scratch in house). This makes any adjustments to the lens fitment easier. IOW, we can grind down the lens to assure a perfect fitment. I don't want to get a phone call from a patient who is on a cruise and their lenses popped out/lost etc. Not saying Costco delivers a poor product whatsoever. Just check the lens fitment around the frame..should be smooth/even/snug..put a little pressure on the lens with your thumb and it should stay snug. Lastly, if you were a no line bifocal aka Progressive lens, be sure the tech measures twice..they will measure the pupil distance and the height of the bifocal. These are absolutely CRITICAL for the comfort of the bifocal. You should also mention your hobbies to the doc so he/she can make suggestions for the lenses. Good luck.

Jeff
 
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I am an Optometrist x 12 years so feel compelled to give my .02 to help my fellow Prime members. .... You should also mention your hobbies to the doc so he/she can make suggestions for the lenses. Good luck.

Jeff

I was hoping that we would hear from someone in the field. I have always been concerned getting evaluated by a chain store because many times they will have higher turnover with professional staff than the local practictioner. I was comfortable with my first visit at Costco since this initial evaluation included an extensive family history as well as social habits including my track driving and need to drive often at night. As for more serious opthalmic conditions, I would defer to my opthalmologist with whom it is easier to maintain a long doctor/patient relationship.

Also, as long as we have a professional now in the thread, I was curious as to your opinion about the dilation part of the exam. I turned it down not because of the increased cost (only $15) but because I needed to drive back to court for my trial and could not risk impaired vision. Assuming all other results were "negative", how valuable is it to you as an Optometrist to perform that test.
 
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The prices at Costco are frequently, but not always, the lowest prices you can get, anywhere. And when they're not the lowest, they're usually darn close.

you can also stock up on Mobil 1 while you are there.
Mobil 1 is one product where Costco does not have the lowest price. Wal-Mart does. You can save a few bucks when purchasing Mobil 1 at Wal-Mart rather than Costco, and Wal-Mart's price is less whether you're buying it by the quart bottle or by the five-quart jug. (Costco sells it in cartons of six one-quart bottles.) Ironically, the price at Sam's Club is usually about the same as at Costco, which means Wal-Mart is underselling their own discount club division.

Yesterday I was in Costco and they were selling a case of Mobil 1 for $31.49.

Costco can save you money on a variety of goods and services, some of which you wouldn't even necessarily think of. Five years ago I was checking fees for merchant credit card processing, for the credit card payments to the NSX Club of America. The lowest place? You guessed it, Costco! There was a bit of trouble getting our application approved - they initially declined it, on the grounds that we were a membership organization - but I got that decision overturned by contacting their VP of Membership (and noting the irony of those grounds considering that Costco is itself a membership organization). Since then, they (and their contracted vendor) have processed our credit card payments, with savings on transaction fees of close to 50 percent compared with our previous vendor.
 
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I was hoping that we would hear from someone in the field. I have always been concerned getting evaluated by a chain store because many times they will have higher turnover with professional staff than the local practictioner. I was comfortable with my first visit at Costco since this initial evaluation included an extensive family history as well as social habits including my track driving and need to drive often at night. As for more serious opthalmic conditions, I would defer to my opthalmologist with whom it is easier to maintain a long doctor/patient relationship.

Also, as long as we have a professional now in the thread, I was curious as to your opinion about the dilation part of the exam. I turned it down not because of the increased cost (only $15) but because I needed to drive back to court for my trial and could not risk impaired vision. Assuming all other results were "negative", how valuable is it to you as an Optometrist to perform that test.

The dilation part of the exam is important do annually. Of course, family history, surgical history, history of trauma and your Rx (-6.00 or higher) will dictate the urgency of the dilation. BTW, you can develop the same relationship with your optometrist as long as he/she is very capable. I know this is impossible to know from a patient's perspective. Again, like a mechanic who may or not be ASE certified blah blah, you just KNOW when you have someone who is good/thorough. I know many good AND bad ophthalmologists AND optometrists I wouldn't send my family to. Now, once you are diagnosed with a very serious condition it may then be more ideal to monitor/treat with the ophthalmologist. However, I tend to work with the ophthalmologist so the patient has 2 docs looking out for him (no pun intended). The ophthalmologist I work with even sends me written correspondence if you missed your appointment with them and that they are attempting to reschedule or have rescheduled.

Jeff
 
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The dilation part of the exam is important do annually. Of course, family history, surgical history, history of trauma and your Rx (-6.00 or higher) will dictate the urgency of the dilation.

As long as I have you "on the line", how urgent would it be for this "hypothetical patient":

1. family history of occular hypertension
2. no surgical history
3. no history of trauma
4. -2.25/-2.50

Thanks in advance for a free disclaimer-laden off-the-record "opinion".
 
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As long as I have you "on the line", how urgent would it be for this "hypothetical patient":

1. family history of occular hypertension
2. no surgical history
3. no history of trauma
4. -2.25/-2.50

Thanks in advance for a free disclaimer-laden off-the-record "opinion".

No problem...anytime. Monitor your intraocular pressures (ask the doc to not just do the "puff of air" test but to use the orange dye (fluoroscein). It is more precise. To answer your ? I would have the dilation done (can go back to Costco to just do this test) this year if your pressures were borderline (low twenties/high teens) and if you are over 40 years old. Anyone over 40 I suggest having their eyes dilated annually regardless of history. Contrary to popular belief, 99% of patients can drive after a dilation. Yoiu won't have a problem w/ your Rx...just bring your new glasses you got from Costco. :biggrin: I also wouldn't waste $$ on "thinner" lenses or polycarbonate unless you are buying a large frame...larger the frame the thicker the lens in your Rx...also heavier. Anti reflective coating (HUGE difference in quality here) is nice esp. for night driving. It reduces the "starburst" effect from oncoming illegal HID retrofitted in NSX pop up headlights :tongue: My lab guarantees their coatings to not swirl/scratch (unless abused of course) for 2 years. They will replace the entire lens in that time not "buff it out". Feel free to ask more ?s.

Jeff
 
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I have no issues with eyeglasses from Costco. I've been using them for about 10 years. The options on eyeglasses are also cheaper (i.e., anti-reflective coating, polycarbonate or high index lenses...).


Great news. Do you take your perscription in or do/can you have your eyes tested there?
Doug,
Depends on which Costco you go to. You have to take your presciption in to some Costcos. Other Costcos have an in-house optometry department where they can check your eyes. You may want to check your local Costco to see what they offer.:smile:
 
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fwiw, I purchased a set of glasses at Costco about a year ago, once they arrived the prescription was wrong, and even though they tried to correct it, I still wasn't comfortable with the final vision quality.

I went to my regular optometrist for an eyeglass exam, was much more satisfied with the result, and took that prescription online, to http://www.39dollarglasses.com

The website sells discounted eyeglasses, and you can indeed get a set of frames and lenses for $39, but if you want thin, anti-reflective, etc. lenses, the total (with "seiko" polycarbonate lenses) goes up to $84 shipped, still a very cheap price. Since buying my eyeglasses, I have picked up two sets of prescription sunglasses from this company, at $44/ea - the nice thing is, all three sets of glasses, my eyeglasses and two sunglass sets, share the same frame, so if one were damaged, I could swap the lenses out with my sunglasses as a temporary solution.
 
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I got 4 decent pairs of prescription glasses from zennioptical.com for around $20 each (they start from $8) and have no complaints. You can search for "cheap prescription glasses" on google and get a lot of online sites that provide very cheap and decent quality prescription glasses.
 
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No problem...anytime...... Contrary to popular belief, 99% of patients can drive after a dilation..... Feel free to ask more ?s.

Jeff

That's one of the reasons I love Prime. Unlike many other car forums where the average age of the members is prepubescent either chronologically or emotionally, on Prime you can always find someone with knowledge in diverse fields to get an educated response.

I was concerned about dilation since I had never had it done before despite going to the same Lenscrafters together with their "house" optometry department for over 10 years and it was never even suggested to have it done. My partner (same one who recommended Costco) recently had dilation by her opthamologist who told her she could drive and by the time she got in the car her vision was so impaired that she could not dial her cell phone to tell me she was running late. Costco recommended that I come back when I would be able to sit for a while in case I had similar issues.
 
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A dilation impairs your reading ability (don't need this to drive unless you are going on a roadtrip and need to read your GPS. In your case, as you are aware, you have the natural ability to read up close WITHOUT your glasses. You can still do this after a dilation. It is WITH your glasses on you will know how it feels to read at 60 plus years old. At that point in your life, you can either remove the glasses everytime you want to read (pain in the rear unless you are reading long term) or get a pair of bifocals (don't read this as THICK glasses :tongue:)...they are not much if any thicker than single vision glasses. If you have a driver, admittedly it is more comfortable to let someone else drive. Beauty of having it at costco is your driver can shop while you get your eyes dilated.

Jeff

That's one of the reasons I love Prime. Unlike many other car forums where the average age of the members is prepubescent either chronologically or emotionally, on Prime you can always find someone with knowledge in diverse fields to get an educated response.

I was concerned about dilation since I had never had it done before despite going to the same Lenscrafters together with their "house" optometry department for over 10 years and it was never even suggested to have it done. My partner (same one who recommended Costco) recently had dilation by her opthamologist who told her she could drive and by the time she got in the car her vision was so impaired that she could not dial her cell phone to tell me she was running late. Costco recommended that I come back when I would be able to sit for a while in case I had similar issues.
 
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