Confession: I wear glasses because they’re more economical than contact lenses.
Can you make something economical EVEN MORE economical? Caaaaan. Here are three methods to get below-RM100 glasses. No lie.
First things first though. This guide works best for low-to-medium-strength prescription glasses. For complicated cases*, it might be harder (but not impossible!) to get glasses at this price.
*Complicated cases: suffer from both short and far-sightedness, have astigmatism, very high power, etc
Also, don’t expect branded frames. Who cares for branded frames anyway.
With those in mind, here we go.
Below-RM100 Glasses – Method #1: Buy them from optical shops during promo
You’ve seen this, so this tip is hardly a surprise. Many optical shops around Malaysia offer basic prescription glasses for RMxx (usually RM88 or RM98). The cheapest I’ve seen is at GM Klang (a wholesale mall) for RM58. If you don’t know where to go to get these prices, shoplots nearby student areas is a good bet.
However, in most cases the prices are for frames + basic lens only. The shop attendant will likely try and upsell add-ons, like AirAsia style. In my case, I was attracted to the RM58 price tag but ended up paying RM178 in total for:
- Sturdier frames (additional RM70)
- Non-scratch lens coating (additional RM50)
They also have options for UV coating lens (additional RM180) and tinted glasses (not sure of price).
EDIT: I overpaid. See comments section for places to get better glasses package deals.
Below-RM100 Glasses – Method #2: Buy cheap frames, then ask optical shops to fit them with your prescription lens
My dad does this method. He likes to buy vintage glasses from second-hand shops, then he brings them to optical shops for custom lens fitting.
In this case, you’ll save money on the frames. Once, my dad bought these kickass vintage frames costing just RM5 – an absolutely good buy for the quality. RM10 ‘fashion glasses’ can also work for this method.
Next, it’s a matter of finding optical shops that are willing to do it for you. Some common difficulties:
- “We don’t replace lenses” – just go and find another optical shop
- “We don’t have lenses for this kind of frames” – try another shop, or try another pair of frames
- *gives you above-average price for lenses* – shop around and compare quotes
My dad says this method is cheap, but he can’t remember the prices exactly. I’d be grateful for anecdotes on this – if you’ve tried this method, do share your costs in the comments section. EDIT: See Madhav’s comment on this!
Below-RM100 Glasses – Method #3: Order your glasses online
THIS IS THE MOST COST-EFFECTIVE METHOD
In 2016, I bought 3 prescription glasses and 1 sunglasses from SelectSpecs – an online optical shop. It costs me USD77.31 including the USD11.25 shipping fee.
Minus the shipping fee, the average price for ONE eyewear is a mere USD16.52. Or just RM64.34 per glasses, with today’s exchange rate (30 Jan 2018). Seriously, so good value for money, even if you factor in fluctuating exchange rates. The prescription glasses also comes with free UV coating, anti-reflection and scratch-resistant lens.
The caveat is:
- You have to know your eye prescription. The only way to get accurate prescription is via eye tests at optical shops. And it’s not nice to get free prescription without buying from them (which is why this time I bought from method #1 – I wanted to know my latest eye prescription).
- You have to wait for a bit. It might take weeks to arrive.
- The budget frames selection is limited. You might like them, you might not. If you don’t, they also offer other styles, usually at higher price points. The good thing is it still costs less than normal optical shops.
- You can’t try it on in person before you buy. It’s all online.
But other than that, the prices can’t be beaten. I’m the kind of person who prefers to have a few glasses at any one time in case I lose/break them, and getting them from here is the most cost-effective method for me.
Now that I know my latest eye prescription, you bet I’ll buy the rest of my backup glasses from this website. Aside from SelectSpecs, you can also try out BudgetSpex, Googles4u and others listed in Money Saving Expert’s Cheap Glasses page. I studied in the UK and this English sifu helped me save a bunch of money, including for glasses.
Do you know any other ways to get cheap glasses in Malaysia?
Please share in the comments section! If this guide is helpful, please share to your friends 🙂