Why Are Glasses So Expensive?
Start writing a post

Why Are Glasses So Expensive?

You pay $200 for $20 worth of plastic. Why?

Why Are Glasses So Expensive?

I don’t wear glasses, but I had the opportunity to try out the bespectacled shopper experience for myself this summer when I accompanied my friend to LensCrafters to buy new frames. We walked out of that store with a pair of Vogue eyeglass frames that had been on sale for $149.95, That’s $150 for what is essentially a piece of plastic that could not have possibly cost more than $20 to make. And let’s not even mention the prescription glasses - those can run up to $400. Hell, I could probably walk into a gas station today and buy a pair of eyeglasses that serve the exact same purpose (and probably look pretty similar to the Vogue glasses) for $10. So, why are glasses so expensive?

Well, surprise! It all comes back to a big corporation abusing its power. Today’s winner is an Italian company called Luxottica, and you can essentially blame them for the $200 charge on your credit card that you had to pay to see. Sure, there might be a flood of different brands in the mall, but it doesn’t really matter which one you pick; Luxottica probably owns them. Ray Bans, Oakley, Prada, Vogue, Chanel, Tiffany, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Armani, you get the idea. Forbes reported that Luxottica controls 80% of the eyeglass brands available today (though that number is disputed), which means that they get to set the prices and determine value basically without competition.

Ok, but what about the brands that Luxottica doesn’t own? Surely they could undercut the corporate giant by charging reasonable prices for glasses and set a new precedent? Well, no, not really. Luxottica’s main competitors are companies like Wal-Mark or Costco, who don’t have the cool factor working in their favour, and who’s brand names tend to be associated with cheap glasses anyway. And when a ‘cool’ brand tries to dispute Luxottica’s prices and set a new precedent, it tends not to go very well for them.

See, on top of owning practically every brand of glasses, Luxottica also owns practically every store selling you those brands. That LensCrafters store I went to over the summer? Yup, that’s Luxottica. Sunglass Hut? Luxottica. Pearle Vision? Luxottica. Target Optical, Sears Optical, even glasses.com. So, if a company starts acting up and not charging a price that fits the Luxottica narrative, they can simply stop carrying that company. That’s exactly what they did with Oakley in the mid-2000s. Then, when Oakley’s stock price plummeted, Luxottica bought the company out, and now you pay $200 for a piece of plastic that makes you look like an ass.

Oakley’s might look pretty awful, but they are nice glasses. Maybe they’re worth that $200 price tag? Well, no. No, they’re not. Most of Luxottica’s brands are made in the exact same factory, and the company reports making 64 cents for every dollar you spend on glasses. That’s a crazy-high mark-up for glasses that really don’t do anything special. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Jay Duker, chair of ophthalmology at Tufts Medical Center, explains that a $40 pair of sunglasses will give you 100% protection from UV rays. Anything more than that and you’re just paying for the brand. So, the next time you have to go out and buy a nice new pair of glasses, maybe think twice about how much you’re actually paying, and what you’re getting in return.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
google images

Fashion just keeps growing and changing and old trends are made new! Now, I'm no beauty guru, just a beauty guru wannabe, but personally I have compiled some stylish wardrobe must haves! These can be cute assets to go back to school or just to catch up on some of the latest trends...

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

There's More To A Relationship Than Netflix

Summertime is only 93 days of the year, Find something to do!

Tallie Ammar

Summertime is ideal for more than just hanging out and binging your favorite TV series with your friends. Although summer does bring rain and thunderstorms which is perfect for those binging days, take advantage of those nice and sunny days. There is so many opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the season before the snow starts to come back. Here are 25 interesting dates that are doable almost anywhere for any age.

Keep Reading... Show less
Leilani Encarnacion

Philadelphia has its beauty, but some of you may have not been to some of the most beautiful hidden spots in the city. This summer is a chance for new adventures and exploring, so here are a few places that I highly recommend you should visit at least once.

Keep Reading... Show less

To my boyfriend's parents,

Keep Reading... Show less

How Not To Go Insane During Summer

Holy cow. If you're like me, you are bored out of your mind taking summer classes all the way until August. Then just to come right back and take more classes for the Fall?

It is like I am going insane.


I mean, I am taking rigorous classes which allow me to devote a lot of my time towards them, but still...it is only two classes. By the time I get done, I have a whole half of the day full of nothing. I end up just sitting on my phone for most of the day instead of doing something practical.

So here I have compiled a list of how to keep yourself from not going crazy!

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments