Tips for saving money on eyewear

SAN FRANCISCO

Looking good doesn't have to cost you lots of money. You just need to do your shopping. Many of us wear eye glasses every day, yet Bay Area Consumers' Checkbook magazine found one common mistake people with prescriptive eyewear make.

"People don't shop enough. People really don't realize how big the differences will be, so they're not really checking as much as they could," Robert Krughoff says.

The magazine surveyed 175 eyewear outlets and found major differences in price.

"We found prices ranging from $225 up to $438 for the exactly same pair of eyeglasses," Krughoff says.

The price differences were even more pronounced for people wearing contacts.

"One year's supply of particular kind of extended wear lenses, exactly the same lenses, we found prices ranging from $400 to more than $1,000," Krughoff says.

Prices can vary even at the same chain, but on average, Checkbook's survey found prices at "Four Eyes" 25 percent cheaper. For contacts, prices at Costco are about 40 percent lower. Hosever, don't count out the independents.

Overall that's where checkbook found the best service and often good prices. Hiura and Hiura Optomestrists in San Francisco rated high in service, price and quality.

"When people have a problem with the glasses, the first thing we double check is their prescription," says Dr. Ronald Hiura.

Hiura says patients need to find a doctor who takes extra care with the prescription. He routinely returns 5 to 10 percent of the eye glasses back to the lab to get the prescriptions redone. He also suggests that patients with contacts especially need to find a doctor that makes them comfortable.

"Of course, the patient's got to be comfortable. That's number one in contacts. Two, is they've got to be clean," he says.

For one week only, Consumers Checkbook will make the ratings of 175 Bay Area eyewear outlets available free to ABC7 viewers.

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