Re-lensing cheapo eBay glasses?
November 15, 2010 3:15 PM   Subscribe

The internet has solved the problem of cheap glasses + lenses bought together. How about putting lenses in glasses?

So, I'm looking to switch glasses after a few successful years in these. I'll probably keep the old specs and might even stay with them at work, but otherwise, the whole looking-different-than-I-did-five-years-ago plan is almost complete.

So, I'm thinking, possibly dangerously, towards glasses like these - transparent or semi-transparent frames, a little less boxy. And wondering if, via eBay, I could pull this off - tolerating a dud or two.

  • Where can I get lenses put in glasses cheaply? I don't have eye insurance. And I can technically afford more expensive places, but am a cheapskate
  • Is there any way to actually wear American Optical frames before buying them on eBay?
    • (note: I've tried the Warby Parker route. The try-ons I got were okay but I think they're all suited to a different taste. And from my friends' experiences, the lenses are sub-par)
posted by tmcw to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite, in addition to selling their glasses, will put lenses to frames. I got the cheapest option there and, honestly, it was not great; the lenses had a coating that had a strong blue tint when viewed at any angle and started to decay after a couple years. However, maybe their more expensive lenses are better.

This time around I took my frames to a well-regarded local guy and spent more.
posted by enn at 3:23 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

My sister wore several different types of vintage glasses for years and had no problem getting lenses put in them. I think she just took them to a typical glasses store. Cheap? My sister nearly lives hand-to-mouth, so I doubt it cost a fortune.

Sorry, I can't be of more help.
posted by cropshy at 3:26 PM on November 15, 2010

The optician who did my latest eye exam and the vision whatever chain in the mall both quoted me $200-something for ordinary, single vision, no extras lenses put into my own frames. I couldn't believe it. I got new lenses for my frames at the Super Walmart optical shop for $20/lens.
posted by galadriel at 3:33 PM on November 15, 2010

I got lenses put in my Warby Parkers at a discount outlet (the sort of place that advertises glasses for $49.95, delivered in a week, not an hour). I've also heard that Costco can set you up with pretty cheap lenses.
posted by Gilbert at 3:43 PM on November 15, 2010

I just wanted to comment on enn's reply:

If you get any type of anti-reflective or anti-scratch coating on your glasses, it's going to tint your lenses a little bit. The one's I'm wearing right now are tinted yellow, which I can ignore most of the time, but it becomes very noticeable when I peer through the edge of my lenses.

Also, if you clean your glasses with a abrasive cloth that isn't made to clean glasses (like your shirt) then the coating will probably start to peel in about a year.

FYI, I've spent anywhere between $70 - $300 for my glasses+lenses.
posted by nikkorizz at 4:08 PM on November 15, 2010

Response by poster: Probably of note is the fact that I live in Washington, DC, the land of expensive everything. But I go up to NJ every so often, so Costco is a great call!
posted by tmcw at 4:09 PM on November 15, 2010

This is very easy to have done. In fact, if you already have the lenses themselves, it probably won't be that expensive to do. I have a place that'll put sunglass lenses in any frames for ~$50. So it seems to me that, if you provided your own lenses, some shop should be able to do the same for a comparable price.

(If you go to NJ often, and wouldn't mind heading into New York, I can give you my contact in Chinatown.)
posted by Sara C. at 4:24 PM on November 15, 2010

You probably already know this, but just in case: there's a Costco with a optical dept. right next to the Pentagon City metro station (yellow & blue lines).
posted by invisible ink at 4:33 PM on November 15, 2010

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