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Top tips to save on your next pair of glasses

Top tips to save on your spectacles - trendy inexpensive glasses - Otago Optical Shop Chinatown

Need glasses soon? Read this and maybe you’ll avoid paying extra – whether you’re one to try every possible lens upgrade or on the lookout for the most budget pair of spectacles.

1) Go to an optical shop that has transparent pricing.

Avoid shops that don’t seem to have prices listed, or give you a different price on the same product when you visit on different days. While this practice was more common in the older days, good optical shops have moved on and now adopt a fair, open, and transparent pricing – whether it’s by listing the prices clearly in store or in the online shop, allowing you to compare prices if you wish to.

The popularity of package pricing these days also make it easier to know the final price you'll be paying, especially if you're not fussy about lenses and just want the standard option. Just make sure the basic lenses come with anti-reflective and UV-blocking properties (ours do)!

Transparent Package Pricing Inexpensive Spectacles - Otago Optical Chinatown Optical Store

2) Know what lenses you want.

Before getting glasses, it is good to think about the functions that you need. Maybe you want a trendy lightweight roundish frame, or perhaps you’d prefer lenses with photochromic “transition” function as you often shuttle between indoors and outdoors and you can’t be bothered to carry along sunglasses (note: most lenses these days already protect against UV rays even without the photochromic function).

Most extra functions require an upgrade or come at an extra cost – so while it’s great to upgrade if you need it, if you’re on a budget you should always compare prices after the upgrades, as some upgrades can cost much more than the basic lenses itself.

3) Know the basic lens jargons and functions.

This is related to the previous point. Knowing the lens jargons like AR and UV coating, and functions like blue-light blocking can help you decide on what you really need, and avoid paying for things you don’t. If it’s something new you’re seeing, search for more information before making the decision.

4) Beware the up-sell.

Let’s face it, rentals are rising, and the cost of goods is also rising. It is tempting to ‘hop on the dark side’ and start upselling to every customer. Hence, as a consumer, you should know what you’re getting, rather than simple believing all the marketing that’s being thrown at you.

One of the common general tactics used (in this world...not just in the optical industry) is to attract consumers with a low price, then stack on various items, especially those that the consumer is not informed about, which reduces the ability to compare prices and realise that one is overpaying.

We like to be a good shop, so we don’t sell you things that “if you don’t upgrade, it will spoil your eyes”. Yup, watch out for that one!

5) If you are above 40 years old, know the difference between single vision and progressive lenses.

Single vision lenses allow you to either see far, intermediate, or near, while progressive lenses do all in one set of lenses. Single vision lenses are easier to adapt to, but progressive lenses can provide much greater convenience (if you are always wearing your glasses, you don’t lose them) once you are adapted to it. Progressive lenses can cost more, but the difference may be minimal in the long-run once you add on the cost of getting two frames for two set of single vision lenses.

Talk to your optician about your lifestyle and visual habits, and see if progressives are indeed right for you, or if you’re better off with just two single vision glasses.

Note that there are also different types of progressive lenses, some of which can run well above a thousand dollars – make sure you know what you’re getting!

6) Don't pay a little less money for a lot lower quality (or glasses that don't arrive).

There's only so low optical shops can go, so a product priced right at the bottom end is also likely the worst possible you can get. Decent quality is important - for your vision and comfort. Besides, a 'night-market'-quality frame is likely to give way sooner and it will just end up costing more overall since you have to get a replacement.

The overheads for online-only stores are significantly lower, but many of them are based overseas due to local regulations, which leads to quality control and accountability problems. We might buy a toilet brush off the web but spectacles that we use daily and help us to see clearly - nah.

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