Buying glasses

How to find great glasses at a bargain price

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You've seen the ads on the TV and as you're checking email and surfing the web. Glasses for less than the cost of a dinner out?

Yes, you can get quality glasses without breaking the bank.

The term cheap glasses does not always mean low quality.

Here's how to find great glasses at a seemingly unbelievable price.

1. Search for the perfect look.

What kind of glasses are you looking for? How about a pair of sharp aviator glasses? Or maybe you're looking for John Lennon-style rimless glasses.

Or maybe you want a snazzy set of clip-on reading glasses.

Knowing what you want makes it easier to shop for those glasses and get the perfect pair of glasses within your budget.

If you have no idea what kind of glasses you want, look for a style finder online or try on a bunch of glasses in an optical store near you.

2. Visit your optician or an online store.

Nothing beats seeing how glasses will look on your face. Even better is trying on several frames to check how they feel and how you look in a mirror.

If you're in store, try on several variations of aviator frames, cat-eye styles or whatever kind of glasses you're seeking. If you're shopping online, try a personal try-on tool, or free home trial to check how various frames will look on you.

Maybe rimless glasses don't look that great on you after all. It happens. That could be because some glasses are better for certain face shapes.

Find your face shape and check out the frame styles that are a better fit for you. If you're shopping for glasses in your pyjamas, look for your online retailer's fit machine or fitting tool.

When you've found a great pair of glasses for your face shape and the look you want, you're halfway home. Now you have to select the glasses for your frames.

3. What lenses and coatings do you need and want?

If you're over 40, chances are you're starting to have trouble reading menus in restaurants or text messages on your smartphone. Presbyopia is the normal loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age, and progressive lenses help you to see clearly at any distance.

Difficulty adjusting from indoor light to sunshine outdoors? Photochromic lenses will help ease your transition from inside to out when you're walking the dog, heading to the coffee shop or hopping in and out of stores on the weekend.

As we spend more time on our phones, tablets and at computer terminals at work and home, digital eye strain is a concern. Blue-light filtering glasses can help.

As with your frames, knowing what you want in lenses and coatings will help you to get the best glasses for your needs. Often, your optician or on-line store may not offer all of the lenses and coating options available, so it helps to have done your research.

Your glasses not only help you to see clearly, but they also protect your eyes.

Tip: Get your glasses prescription from an optician your trust, and don't skimp on your lenses.

Now that you've got your lenses and frames all picked out, it's time to check out how they feel.

4. Take your glasses for a test drive

Many online retailers offer a free home trial of your favourite glasses selections. Try them on for several days and then send back the pairs in your trial box and order the best of the bunch online.

If you buy your glasses in store, your opticians most likely will let you wear your new glasses for several days and if there are any problems, you can return them.

Check the warranty on your glasses, too.

If you buy your glasses in an opticians, you can always get them adjusted for free. If you buy your glasses from the comfort of your home or during a lunch break at the office, your online retailer almost always will let you return your glasses if you don't like the fit or look on your face.

5. Check the reviews for your opticians or online store

Will you be happy with the glasses you bought? Were others happy with the glasses -- and the service -- they received at your optical shop or online glasses store?

If others are raving about how they can see so much better now and how friends are praising their specs-tacular new look, odds are you will love your new glasses, too.

6. Look for glasses sales around holidays

Bargain hunters know where to find sales and how to get the best deal.

You often can find the best deals on quality glasses when it's back-to-school season (children need eyeglasses, too), ahead of Christmas (give yourself the gift of a pair of performance sunglasses to improve your golf game) and around Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Take advantage of these sales at your opticians and online eyewear retailers. You might even save so much you can buy a second pair of cheap prescription glasses or cheap glasses online. (Remember, by cheap glasses we mean the marriage of high quality and low price.)

Look for employee savings programs at participating retailers, too. These programs are another way to find quality low-cost glasses.

Discount glasses also can be found at the end of a season. For example, you can find great deals on sunglasses during autumn and winter.

And often you can save on buy one/get one glasses offers, too

Stack your savings to get the very best glasses

Shop for glasses sales around the holidays and look for end-of-season discounts. Add in your savings from health insurance and employee savings programs and you could buy a high-end pair of glasses for a rock-bottom price.

The whole point is to find a quality pair of glasses that won't cost you more than a new business suit or a PRADA handbag. Cheap glasses are chic. You don't have to tell your friends how little you paid for your great new glasses!

Affordable, quality glasses are only a trip to an opticians or just a click away.

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