Are Expensive Eyeglass Lenses Worth It?
Do you frequently change your eyeglasses with the latest trend or only when your ophthalmologist prescribes a change in the lens for vision correction due to power variations? The former is more of an impulsive purchase and the latter is a practical approach based on your needs and budget.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that eyeglasses are a complete necessity for the wearer, whatever may be their lifestyle. How often you change your eyeglasses and whether it is cheap or expensive is irrelevant to this fact.
But it would be pertinent to justify the cost if it is worthwhile to purchase expensive eyeglass lenses or if a cheaper substitute can serve the same purpose. This article analyses the reason why some eyeglass lenses are expensive while some are available cheaper.
Why Cost of Eyeglass Lenses Vary?
There are many reasons the cost of eyeglass lenses varies. First, let’s understand that the making of an eyeglass lens is a complex process. The convex and concave sides of the lenses are cut, grind, and polished to perfection as per the prescribed specifications before coating it with layers of color for anti-glare or other purposes.
Besides the quality of blank lenses, each manufacturing step has varying costs depending on the investments in the processing unit. Some have fully automated sophisticated machines for mass production and some are semi-automated. The processing time, rate and quality of raw materials, and operational expenses make a significant difference in production costs.
Furthermore, marketing and sales expenses, cost of inventory, and logistics add up to the landed cost of the lens. Lastly, the administrative costs and taxation are the last nails. What you eventually get to wear is the final product that has come from a lengthy supply chain process. Although the pricing mechanism is defined by the supply and demand forces, branding has a powerful impact on the prices.
Why Are Expensive Eyeglasses So Pricey?
It is a general notion that if a product is expensive, then it should be of good quality and would last longer. However, it may not be true in all cases. Many expensive eyeglasses are not at all worth the price and cheaper ones have performed far better.
Some prominent characteristics of lenses that affect the cost are:
Lens Type: There are several types of lenses available for specific needs. Each varies in its material, quality, weight, and purpose.
Lens Color: To block blue light from electronic devices and UV rays from sunlight, you need specific lens colors for different light conditions to shield your eyes.
Frame Material: For many people, eyeglasses are a need, but for some, it is a fashion statement. You can get your glasses in plastic, metal, acetate, tortoiseshell, etc. and each has different pricing. In some frames, the nose pad is a separate attachment, and some come molded into the frame.
Accessories: This includes the lens cleaning liquid, cleaning cloth, and eyewear cover/box.
Despite the manufacturing costs being approximately in the similar range for cheap and expensive ones, the operational costs could be a major component in some lenses that makes them pricey. Online stores may have the leverage in cost reduction, but the price difference is only marginal. These stores have additional investments in technology to satisfy their customers with a superior user experience on their websites.
They need to engage consistently their potential customers with innovative techniques like 3D Virtual Try-On to see if a frame matches your face, informative blogs, enticing marketing campaigns, and other promotional strategies to keep them hooked to their stores and keep the competition at bay. Yet the price war is always fierce.
Types of Eyeglass Lenses
What you pay for is what you get. So, it would be wise to understand the type of eyeglass lens you are purchasing and its purpose. You get prescription lenses for single-vision, bifocal, and progressive. These come in different shapes, sizes, and characteristics to fit your visual needs.
These were the type of lenses always used on eyeglasses until the invention of synthetic materials. Glass lenses are more expensive than plastic lenses because they must be of better material. They provide superior optical clarity and scratch resistance. Additionally, they are quite strong and resilient. However, they are less durable than plastic lenses.
Plastic is the most commonly used material for lenses for its strength, durability, scratch resistance, and optical clarity. If you use them carefully, they can last even up to 5 years or more. Since it doesn't have any additional coatings on them, we can clean these lenses with just soap and water.
Polycarbonate lenses may be the best choice if you need glasses for an active lifestyle like sports and games. They are robust and light enough to handle any activity. Children, young adults, and people who need safety eyewear are most often advised to wear these lenses.
These lenses compete with polycarbonate lenses for better safety and are made of incredibly clear, lightweight lens material, resulting in excellent all-day wearing comfort. So, you can get superior eye protection, clear vision, and lightweight comfort, all in the same lens. Trivex can almost completely block ultraviolet light as well. A major drawback of these lenses is their low index of refraction, which necessitates thicker lenses for higher powers.
It is known to be the thinnest lens available on the market. Because they are thinner, this may be the best option if you have a strong prescription. High-index lenses come in a variety of weights, optical qualities, and impact resistances depending on the material used. These lenses can either be glass or plastic. Because of the high specific gravity of high-index glass, these lenses are generally heavier than those made of other materials.
Each of these lenses has distinct characteristics. What best fits you will depend on your priorities and lifestyle.
Are Expensive Eyeglass Lenses Worthwhile?
So, by now you have understood the different types of eyeglass lenses and their purpose. Also, you know why expensive eyeglasses are pricey. Nevertheless, we need to analyze if expensive eyeglass lenses are worth the price.
Expensive seldom means the same as high-quality. And neither is cheap the same as low-quality. In fact, some popular brand lenses are expensive, but that’s all they are – just a high-priced product. As per market reviews, their quality has been poor and their lifespan too short.
Let’s break the myth; you don't have to spend a fortune on your eyeglasses to have clear vision. Lenses with better value for money are always a good choice and cost little. If you are not brand conscious, especially international brands; and vision clarity is your priority, then you have a ton of purchase options within your reach.
While expensive eyeglass lenses may offer better quality, many cheaper options offer comparable quality. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if it is worth spending more money on expensive eyeglass lenses:
In exchange for something more cost-effective, you give up a more customized set of lenses. Consider what you need for your vision before purchasing if you're thinking about choosing a more affordable option for your glasses.
Cheaper lenses will give you the clarity of vision you require, but more expensive ones will give you a more distinctive pair of glasses, with personalized features.
Customized features like lens color, anti-reflective coating, scratch-resistant, polarized, photochromic, etc. are the components of higher price. Besides these, the lens material and multifocal prescription lens make a significant price difference.
Service from experienced optometrists and in-house consultation with ophthalmologists adds to the expense. The extended warranty period for lenses and frames makes it an expensive purchase.
When deciding if expensive eyeglass lenses are worth it, consider your needs and budget. If you wear glasses, your lenses are an investment in clear vision over the long term. Decide what your vision requires before making a purchase. Investigate the components, attributes, and customizations of the lenses you require. This will help you budget your expenditure and make a wise investment.