Need a new pair of (eye) glasses? Prices for eyewear have gone up dramatically in the past 10 years. Recently, 60 Minutes covered the industry and why prices keep increasing. In short, Luxottica Group S.p.A., an Italian eyewear company, is the world’s largest eyewear company, controlling over 80% of the world’s major eyewear brands. When a company controls a majority of the market, they have the ability to set and control prices.
Luxottica owns companies like Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Eyemed vision care plan, and Glasses.com and also owns well-known brands like Ray-Ban, Persol, and Oakley. Several eye insurance companies, designer brand sun/eye glasses, and prescription frames have fallen under their control.
Competitors of Luxottica are independent and cost significantly less than typical, name brands. This includes Walmart Optical, Costco Optical, and Warby Parker.
Because your eyes are important, it’s good to know the best practices of eye care and how to save your time and money:
- Your eyes should be checked every one to two years.
- To get eye glasses, you must go through three purchases: the eye exam, the frame selection, and types of lenses.
- Eye exams can be found in several places: eyewear shops, department stores, etc. For instance, Costco (for members) and Sears offer well-priced eye exams.
- Eyeglass frames can be ordered online for great prices. It’s best to try on eyeglasses in store, get down the model, make, and color, and search for it online.
- In terms of lenses, there are several paths you can take. Glass or plastic lenses are helpful to patients in different ways; ask your optometrist for their professional opinion. According to sources in the industry, scratch resistant options seem to be a waste of money.