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What is your Vision Worth?

Our office has been open for the last 2 weeks, after being completely shut for an unprecedented 10 weeks. I have heard stories of pain and resilience from a number of you! As a health care provider, I share my empathy with each one of your families.

While most of you have kept your jobs, there are a few that have expressed challenges in findings affordable eyewear and have indicated a desire for online purchase. I did my research and found this:

"The number of glasses bought online is still relatively small – only about 4 to 10 percent of all prescription glasses sales are online, according to varying estimates. But sales are growing as awareness increases. The number of prescription glasses sold online grew by almost 600 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to eyewear industry group The Vision Council. Consumers bought nearly $600 million worth of prescription glasses online last year, according to the council." - from the Chicago Tribune.

"Online prescription glasses are going to exert downward pressure on prices no matter what happens." Forbes.

This debate is not new to our office also. Our frame of reference is like this: While either online or in a store, trying to decide if we go for the premium brand with all the bells and whistles or the budget option is always a question. Do you really need the brand new 8K Sony TV, or will the in-house brand 4K TV work out just fine? Weighing the pros and cons of any investment is a good decision.

Don’t sell your eyes short, though.

Just like a TV can have smart functionality, different levels of picture quality, and extra features like HDR, your glasses have different features you should consider. Let's review a few.

Treatments and Coatings

There are treatments for anti-reflection (AR) that often help the scratch resistance of your lenses. Other treatments like blue light filtering help relieve digital eye strain and reduce the damage of these light rays from digital devices.

Coatings may be an “add-on,” but they help you get more life out of your glasses, and help you see better.

Specialized Lenses

As glasses technology has improved you can now specialize their purpose. There are computer glasses that help reduce the strain on your eyes throughout the workday. Light reactive lenses are great for weekend warriors that want to keep their eyes safe no matter where an adventure takes them. Progressive lenses have replaced bifocals as a versatile pair of glasses and replace the need for separate readers and primary glasses.

Having specialized glasses for your hobbies and work is important. This does mean that you will want more than one pair of prescription glasses, the benefits mean your eyes won’t be tired after a long day in front of the computer or will stay safe during your outdoor adventures.

Premium Materials

Not all materials are made equal when it comes to glasses. The day of glass in your frames is mostly gone, many lenses are now specialized plastic. Different materials have different properties, weight, durability, and thickness. Newer innovations such as Phoenix Trivex lenses help treatments and coatings adhere better, increasing their effectiveness. Other materials are the lynch-pin to specialized lenses.

Ask your eye doctor about the different material pros and cons for your specific eye care needs. According to consumer studies by The Vision Council, the number one attribute people want from their lenses is "light and thin." The close #2 is scratch resistant. The different combination of materials and coatings available by your local optician are designed to delight you by meeting both of those desires.

Necessities of life cost money. That morning cup of coffee, the monthly cell phone, internet or cable bill, and even the inevitable back to school shopping.

Infographic on eyewear costs

On average, a pair of glasses at a big box store will cost you about $300. And these types of mass-produced frames and lenses will have an average lifespan of one year. Even better, spending that same $300 at Union Family Eye will get you better quality frames with better quality anti-reflective coating and transition lenses for even less than their price. The right specialized lens, premium material, or treatment; customized to your specific visual needs, can make a world of difference for how you see the world. And even better, our glasses come with a 1-year warranty, for peace of mind. Think about it: You’ll be putting that same pair of glasses on your face every day for 365 days straight. Let’s do some basic math: That $300 works out to $25 a month, or just 82 cents day. It costs less than a dollar a day to get crystal clear vision!

So, the next time you see an ad for free or cheap glasses, remember this: Disposable eyewear will likely cost you more in the long run. Because if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I hope the above graphic shows you the overall value of your good eyewear. We welcome you to talk to us. If in a pinch, we can help with payment plans and options like Care Credit.