The Optical Industry - Why Do Glasses Cost So Much?

SightLine grew from a 65 year-old optical eyeglass frame company.  At its peak, we sold over 20,000 eyeglass frames per month, and had over 300 individual styles, at several price points, in our portfolio.  So, it would be fair to say - we know the eyeglass industry very well. 

The optical industry is going through many changes thanks to Luxottica, other huge players in the industry, Warby Parker, and venture capital firms  entering the space to consolidate retail.  Sadly, eventually the independent optical shop may go the way of your local drug store.  That would be a shame - so get your eyes examined regularly.  Many optical shops are owned by small business people.  It's a great opportunity to "buy local".  

The monster of the reading glasses market is Foster Grant (FGX).  FGX Magnivision reading glasses are sold in mass market retailers like Walgreen, CVS, etc.  FGX was an old line USA based company (remember these groovy TV ads?) recently purchased by EssilorLuxottica of Italy.  Want to learn more?  See this 60-Minutes report.

If EssilorLuxottica did what SightLine does, in terms of quality and price, it would conflict with their goal of selling hugely marked up ophthalmic frames and lenses.  They must dumb down the quality of the reading glasses frames, or risk alienating the professionals who overpay for the "designer" brands they market.

SightLine's Mission:  Provide the best quality reading glasses at a reasonable price.  

SightLine comes at three basic price points:

  • Below $20.00 = Reader quality frames like FGX
  • Between $20 and $30 = High Quality Readers Made from Optical Quality Eyeglass frames.  Plastic models can be heated (that matters to an Optician) and adjusted.  Metal models have stainless steel eye-wires, and nose pads and temples that can be adjusted.  These are suitable for prescriptions lenses.  These same frames used to wholesale into many large optical programs around the USA –the frame alone retails for $49 to $99 in optical shops. 
  • Over $30 = Premium Quality Readers Made From Premium Quality Optical Frames.  Same properties as above category, but with higher quality materials, metal plating processes, hinges, etc….  These are the same frames we would wholesale to optical shops and retailed for $79.00 to $179. Our closest competitor for these models would probably be Eyebobs (admittedly we style our frames more conservatively than theirs) but the quality is as good or better than their $149 models.   

Our customers see the value, and feel the comfort, of doing business with SightLine Multifocal Readers.  We have MANY repeat customers, and our return rate (returns are free), is in the single digits. Try SightLine, see clearly why we are the best value in the multifocus reading glass market.  

Thanks,

Bruce 

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