Since early 2012 after college, I have already worn four prescription eyeglasses – from a 75/100 (-.75/-1.0 nearsighted) with my very first pair to a current grade of 350/350 (-3.50), after six years. My vision gets blurry and blurry over time, but the optometrist says it’s all normal. It runs in the family, I must say. I grew up with my mom wearing a pair of thick eyeglasses while my two other sisters got their first pairs in high school. I got mine after college.
As a common experience among nearsighted people, I would suffer then from occasional eyestrain headaches and blurry vision upon looking at distant objects when I began teaching a few months after graduation. I would even struggle looking at my writings on the classroom whiteboard ten steps away. Soon I decided to consult with an optometrist.
A recent study published on Ophthalmology online journal predicts that 50 percent of the world’s population, or around five billion people, will be myopic or nearsighted by year 2050, primarily because of environmental factors and lifestyle changes resulting from decreased time outdoors and increased near work activities.
Getting an eye checkup is easy. It usually takes merely half an hour. You just have to be honest with the attending optometrist with what you see on the Snellen chart. Don’t pressure yourself guessing the character that appears blurry. I had my first eye checkup at Executive Optical shop (Sta. Lucia Mall), and I have been a regular client. I should say it’s their customer service that keeps me loyal. After all, EO has been a trusted eye care provider in the Philippines.
It was summer 2016 when I had my pair of 250/250 (-2.50) prescription eyeglasses from the same shop, and since the start of this summer, I have been experiencing the same what I had before – occasional eyestrain headaches and blurry vision even with eyeglasses. So, I finally had a visit in the morning of the local election day, 14th of May. I was surprised to find out that my vision has deteriorated quite fast in two years, now in 350/350 (-3.50).
Actual Costs of Prescription Eyeglasses in the Philippines
Both my prescription eyeglasses with different diopters in 2012 and 2014 cost me around PHP 4,000.00. In 2016 however, I had the luxury of availing the 50 percent (PHP 10,000.00 original price) discount on a stylish Adidas frame and the transition (photochromic) lenses add-on. It’s all worth it at a price of PHP 8,600.00. Anyway, I was able to use the pair of eyeglasses for two years without even a little regret except the recent need for lenses upgrade and the rubber corrosions on the hinges of the frame.
During my recent visit at Executive Optical shop, I have observed that available frames for prescription eyeglasses cost from PHP 1,900.00 (mostly with wooden hinges) to PHP 10,000.00, others even more expensive (highly branded frames). Sometimes, the shop offers complete eyewear packages of frames and lenses at a discount.
While I don’t think I can reuse frames after a year or two, I opted for a cheaper and lightweight Fifth Avenue Silver Blade frame. Based on what I experienced, it’s imprudent to buy too expensive eyeglass frames. It’s only when I take a bath and hit the bed that I take the pair off, hence prone to wear and tear. So, here’s the complete breakdown of my new pair of prescription eyeglasses from Executive Optical:
- 350/350 Transition (Photochromic) Lenses: PHP 2,290.00
- Fifth Avenue Silver Blade Frame: PHP 3,136.00
- Eye Checkup: PHP 0.00 (Free)
- Total Eyewear Cost: PHP 5,426.00
How to Save on Your Prescription Eyeglasses
If you’re on a tight budget or just a frugal person, then there are several ways on how you can save on your next prescription eyeglasses. Remember, you don’t want an uncomfortably blurry vision, but the costs of prescription eyeglasses and other eyewear products seem to make a big pinch on your savings.
 Avail Free Eye Checkups. Most local optical clinics and shops offer free eye checkups. You don’t have to worry about the accuracy of the eye test results because you can always come back and request retests or eyeglass adjustments should you feel any visual discomfort. After all, I haven’t heard any unlicensed optometrist doing the eye tests.
 Explore Cheaper yet Quality Frames. You don’t have to settle with the cheapest or the highest quality frame available at the optical shop. Do the browsing and try as many frames as you can as long as you don’t annoy the salesclerk. Sometimes, it’s good that you get honest about your budget range so you don’t end up getting wheedled to buy an expensive pair. You might as well consider visiting other shops for more options.
 Skip Add-ons. Nowadays, prescription eyeglasses may come with add-ons – transitions or light adapting lenses, clear anti-reflective lens coatings, digital light and ultraviolet (UV) protections, and others – all but bring additional costs. You have the options. Honestly, they don’t really add comfort or productivity, but a fashion sense with all those photochromic effects. Skip these add-ons if you’re already satisfied with the traditional and basic features, and you want to maximize your savings on the side.
 Reuse Old Frames. Other frames remain intact and reusable even after a year or two. If you’re still comfortable wearing the same old frame, then there is no need to buy one. You simply need to update your prescription lenses and reglaze with existing frames. Anyway, almost all optical clinics and shops offer eyeglasses reglaze services. If not for free, then expect minimal service fees.
 Shop for Frames Online. Cheap frames for prescription eyeglasses are also available at local and international e-commerce websites, even at Lazada. If you can’t find one that suits your budget at optical shops, then try online shopping.
 Take Good Care of Your Eyeglasses. In the end, your major savings on your prescription eyeglasses depends on how you maintain them. Upon buying a new pair, the attending salesclerk usually reminds you of the do’s and don’ts. For instance, using paper towels, tissue, and ordinary cloth, regardless of how soft they are, have textured surface that easily scratch your lenses.
If lenses are multicoated, then exposure to chemicals and other liquids may result in a major damage. Still an important tip, store your eyeglasses properly when you’re not wearing them.