Multifocal glasses – no longer the Yeti of online eyewear

If you’ve ever priced out glasses with multifocal lenses (trifocals, bifocals, and progressives), you know a thing or two about sticker shock. At a normal brick & mortar retailer, a simple pair of single-vision lenses can run upward of $400. Adding multifocal lenses adds anywhere from $100 to $300 on top of that.¬† This puts a complete pair of multifocal glasses easily north of $500. And until recently, the consumer had few options to save him/herself from what felt more than a bit like price gouging.

In 2008, a reader wrote and asked about purchasing trifocal glasses online. I remember doing a bit of research and to my dismay, none of the online discounters offered much in the way of multifocal lenses.

Today, the market has changed. Trifocal lenses are available from one online shop for less than a $100 surcharge. Progressives and bifocals are available at several shops for even less, most surcharges in the $50 range.

 Multifocal surcharges at various online eyewear shops


Multifocal estimated total cost per pair. Total cost based on mid-priced frame with typical configuration and generally available discounts.


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