The cost of prescription glasses in Malaysia can be expensive, but they’re still more economical than contact lenses in the long run, so it’s worth investing in a pair (or two) so you get to save money in the long run.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no way to reduce the cost. In this article, I’ve compiled three methods to save money on your prescription glasses in Malaysia, both offline (aka at shops) and where to buy glasses online, if you’re really on a budget.
- 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.
- It’s understandable to prioritise price if you’re on a tight budget, but if you have more to spare, it’s ok to not look for the best possible deal. Prioritise your eye health and invest in a high-quality pair and reputable service – there’s a difference between being frugal and cheap
- Don’t expect branded frames. Who cares for branded frames anyway, look for quality not necessarily brand.
*Complicated cases: suffer from both short and far-sightedness, have astigmatism, very high power, etc
With those in mind, here we go.
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 ending with RM8 for some reason). This is also a great way to get a professional eye exam – it’s typically included in the package.
If you don’t know where to go to get these glasses packages deals, shoplots nearby student areas are a good bet. Otherwise, you can also go to Facebook Ads Library, type in ‘cermin mata’ or other related keywords and find optical shops currently running offers.
Note: If you’re taking these glasses package, more often than not the shop attendant will try and upsell add-ons, AirAsia-style. In my case, one time 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) but I didn’t take
EDIT: I overpaid. See the comments section for places to get better glasses package deals.
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!
Method #3: Buy 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 the exchange rate at the time (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. Get your latest eye prescription via eye tests at optical shops (it’s kinda rude to do the test with them without buying, so make sure to get at least one pair with them), from private hospitals offering eye health packages, or by making an appointment with Klinik Optometri UKM (RM5 only)
- You have to wait for a bit. It might take weeks to arrive.
- You can’t try the frames on in person before you buy. Obviously.
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 the most cost-effective method for me is to buy glasses online, no contest.
Some websites for cheap glasses include:
- WondersSpecs (based in Malaysia! Buy glasses online from them for fastest delivery)
- SelectSpecs (based overseas but cheap)
- Check others listed in Money Saving Expert’s Cheap Glasses page
TIP! If you buy glasses online from overseas, then use Bigpay card to get the best exchange rate and more savings. Obligatory referral code: Get extra RM10 credit if you use my BigPay referral code – download the app here.
Do you know any other ways to save money on prescription glasses in Malaysia?
Please share in the comments section! If this guide is helpful, please share it with your friends 🙂