Wearing glasses is necessary when you have certain vision deficiencies. They allow you to see clearly from a variety of distances. With so many glasses on the market, it can feel overwhelming when you are trying to find the perfect pair.

The first thing to do is evaluate both expensive glasses and cheap glasses. Compare and contrast the pros and cons of each pair.  (Learn More)

Looking at the different price ranges helps you to establish your budget. Consider the features you want with your glasses to assess the right price range for you. (Learn More)

After you gather all this information, you can determine how much you need to spend on a pair of glasses that will fit your vision needs and personal preferences. (Learn More)

Pros and Cons of Cheap vs. Expensive Glasses

With so many retailers and manufacturers on the market, it is easy to find a variety of eyeglasses at different price ranges. The price of your glasses is only one consideration when you are looking for the perfect pair.

In most cases, what differentiates cheap from expensive glasses are the special added features. However, more cheap glasses retailers are starting to offer these features too. These features include:

  • Anti-reflective coating to reduce lens glare and distracting reflections.
  • Transition lenses that darken when you are out in the sunlight, allowing them to double as sunglasses.
  • Hydrophobic coating so they remain clear when you are in a wet or humid environment.

Cheap glasses tend to use plastic lenses where expensive pairs use glass lenses. Glass lenses are usually more resistant to scratching. They can also be made thinner than plastic without risking their structural integrity. However, glass lenses can also shatter easier; they absorb less ultraviolet light, offering less UV protection; and they tend to be heavier.

Plastic lenses are more common today. Not only do they tend to be less expensive, but they also have the following benefits:

  • They offer strong optics for greater visual acuity.
  • They are lightweight.
  • They absorb ultraviolet light better to protect your eyes from the sun.

Plastic does scratch easier. Plastic is also more prone to fingerprints and dust compared to glass, so you will need to clean them more frequently.

You can also consider polarized or polycarbonate lenses. These tend to be more expensive even though they are not made of glass.

Polarized lenses are good when you spend a lot of time outdoors. They provide complete protection against ultraviolet light. You might also consider this type of lens if your eyes are sensitive to light, or you have recently had LASIK or cataract surgery.

Polycarbonate lenses are resistant to shattering and scratches. This makes them a good choice for kids who are getting used to wearing glasses. Adults who live active lifestyles may also consider this type of lens.

Average Price Ranges for Glasses

woman calculating cost

In the U.S., the cost of eyeglasses ranges greatly, from approximately $50 to over $1,000 for a single pair. The average cost is $196.

If you do not have vision insurance, you should expect to pay the full cost unless you can find a reputable retailer that offers coupons or other discounts. If you have insurance, you can call them to determine how much coverage they offer for eyeglasses.

You also have to consider the average price for eye examinations in the U.S. You will need an eye exam before your doctor can write a prescription for eyeglasses. The following are U.S. averages:

  • Initial eye exam with an eye doctor: $200
  • Refractive vision test: $46
  • Established patient eye exam: $128

Depending on where you live in the U.S., these costs can be considerably higher. If you have vision insurance, they may cover some of the costs for you.

If you have a pre-existing eye condition, you may need more than just a basic eye examination before getting a prescription for eyeglasses. You also need to take into account the costs associated with this.

How Much Should You Spend on Glasses?

You will need to create a budget to determine how much you can afford for your glasses. If you have vision insurance, they may cover at least part of the cost of one pair of eyeglasses every year. If you want to add any additional features, like anti-reflective coating, these might not be covered. Your insurance company may also only cover glasses in a specific price range.

There are retailers that specialize in offering discount eyeglasses. It is best to read reviews and their terms and conditions before you make a purchase. You can also ask your eye doctor if they recommend any discount retailers to ensure your glasses are high in quality.

Since the average price for eyeglasses is $196, you might want to plan to spend at least this much. This gives you a starting point when you are creating a budget. When working on your budget, make sure that you also take into consideration things like cloths to clean your lenses, eyeglass cleaning solution, a case to protect them, and the cost of your eye examination.

The right pair of glasses should be comfortable and the right prescription. This ensures that you can wear them throughout the day and get the vision enhancement you need.

References

Are Anti-Reflective Coatings Worth the Cost? Verywell Health.

Scratch Resistant Lenses. Space Foundation.

What Are Polarized Lenses? Healthline.

How Much Do Eyeglasses Cost? Cost Helper.