3 Ways to Save Money on Your Prescription Glasses in Malaysia
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 🙂
Great tips, number two seems the most plausible!
However, with my power being around the 400-500 range, a spec at this range is nigh impossible. I’d like to add another tip though: make sure you browse around forums to see what people recommend. I also noted that spec shops around college areas offer competitive prices. My current spec shop (and it looks like I’ll be going to him from here on out) is from Lowyat recommendations and in a college area too.
So, with my power, flexible frames (I need this because my last spec had fiddly spring bits that wore out) and hi index lenses was around 200+. Not bad, considering my previous pair was stupidly expensive at around 500 plus elsewhere.
Thanks for the contribution, Madhav! Good to know the price range for this method, super helpful 😀
Great article on cost effectiveness but If you’re to get prescription glasses, you need to know the basics and not get scammed by the optical shops to pay higher. Basically, there are uncoated and multicoated lenses. Uncoated Lense is without any filters. Nowadays, nobody uses them. Multicoated are those with UV filter, anti-reflect(good for night driving), scrathresist. Your best cost effective yet useful choice would be multicoated lense. So, if you’re going for those promos at optical shops, make sure they include multicoated lenses in their package. The cheapest you can get is about RM38 for student promo including lenses and frame. Bear in mind, promo frames are very cheap (RM1-2). You’re basically paying for lense. Okay, coming back to lenses, if you’re going to get reading glasses, you don’t need multicoated lense. Just get uncoated lense. More cheap. Remember, our cornea already filters 99.9% UV rays. Therefore you don’t actually need a filter for UV. It’s marketing gimmicks you can say. A small tip, glass lenses are cheaper than plastic lenses but are more fragile and heavier. Coming to nowadays trend, the optical shops will try to sell you those lenses which can filter magnetic rays (blue ray) from computer. These are a little higher priced (extra RM100) but subjective to user preference. Good for those who sit in front computer all day long. Then, finally coming to those with high power prescriptions. A common fiction believe is that the higher your power, the higher the price. NOPE. The higher your power, the higher the lense thickness. Lense thickness usually categorized as low,middle,high and super high index. If you want your lenses to be thinner, you pay higher for high index lenses. Power lower than 300, no need to care about this. Higher than 300, your frame may not fit the lense. Either get another suitable frame or option for high index lense.
My head spins on the amount of information here. Goodness, you know your stuff don’t you? This is amazing, thanks so much for sharing.
No wonder there are so many optical shops. What a profitable business.
I have an optical shop that is honest, reliable and cheap. Tells you what is best and cost effective. One fact he tells me – no need to buy expensive lenses after I told him one shop quoted me a 1K-3K for lens only. Fact is when you drop and scratch it, it is useless and money gone. Just get cheap ones and if you drop it, make a new one without felling painful.
That’s a rare gem, that shop. Semoga diaorang murah rezeki always. Love it when businesses prioritise customers rather than profits.
Really? pls publish name and address
I did my spectacles at Sungai Way for only RM110 (including UV protections)! Good deals I must say. The basic frame + lense only cost RM60. The cheapest so far.
That’s a really good price! Crap I definitely overpaid for my glasses. Thanks for sharing Faha!
Hi Faha, could you share the name of the shop?
Thanks for the tips! I just received my new glasses from selectspecs. And it only costs RM75 (including delivery!)
Awesome! Hope you’ll enjoy using it!
Our industry is considerably matured; overpricing is very unlikely especially in competitive areas like cities and some suburbs. Im an optometrist, working in the manufacturing, not the retail optical.
All I can say is what you pay is what you get. One of the most expensive lenses is 7k and there are alot of reasons why it is the way it is but overpricing is definitely not one of them. There are also lenses as cheap as RM7 if you’re willing to go out of town and god knows if it’s just another acrylic or water bottle plastic material.
Another interesting point for you to note. The way you wear your spectacles might require slight adjustments in your prescription. If it’s not thoroughly checked, the worst case, you’ll be wearing too much power and you’ll face consequences.
It’s your choice on how you want to spend your money afterall, am i right?
Thanks so much for your input, much appreciated!
What are your tips to customers who are looking for best value-for-money glasses? Not cheapest, but most value for money
OMG I overpaid for mine! mine is multifocal and was told it costs a lot more and paid over RM2K! They are super light tho as I didn’t want a permanent mark on my nose when I removed my glasses. Anyone know where to get cheap or reasonably priced contact lenses? I use both.
RM2k omg. I hope they will last you a long, long time!
Re: contact lens – you can get them on Lazada apparently! Wait for sales and stock up 🙂 Or use cashback to get some discounts – see: http://ringgitohringgit.com/shopback-tips/
I shared the same fate as Audrey Herrera: my lenses alone cost close to RM3k, and this was almost a decade ago! They are always the most expensive things on me.
I have astigmatism and an extreme case of myopia: on each eye is a jarring 1000+ and it is much higher on my left eye (2 years ago, I was told by an ophthalmologist that its lights could go out without warning…so yea.)
I really hope to get the lowest possible pair of lenses within the first half of February! Now you know why I found your wonderful post and all the valuable replies to it.
What do you mean, the lights could go out without warning? Do you mean you can go blind anytime? That sounds scary. If that’s true, I’m so sorry for your predicament
Heys Suraya – yep, that’s as you thought so:)
What you get is what you paid for. The third method is by far the most ridiculous. Online spec purchase only works for people whose prescription is <+2.00 or <-2.00. Making a spec is not easy, opticians have to measure your pupil distance, height, and etc to fit the lenses optical center align with the focus point of your pupil, this require professional knowledge and skills. The price you paid not only include the frame and lenses, but also the professional service.
The specs are going to last for 3-5 years, provided you a comfortable vision. You can pay for cheap spec below RM100, but the risks of headache, dizziness and even eye deviation are what you need to bear.
Take good care of your eyes, spend for what the eyes deserves, you only have ONE pair, and it is not replaceable.
I agree that a GREAT pair of glasses is worth its price, but not everyone can afford that. For many of us, we have to ‘make do’ until we’re in a better financial position to splurge.
I got my glasses for only rm95.60 via 2nd method.
I break my glasses a lot, no matter the brand. Hence 2nd method is the best. I’ll buy frames from daiso, usually 2-3 frames of the same shape/style with different colors. That way, I can change style/mood whenever I want as well. Rm5.60
Then I’ll send it to any optical shop. The one that I usually go to is in Shah Alam. Coz I like the aunty. 😁 Rm90.
Whenever I break my frames, I’ll just take off the lens and put it in the spare ones. Or just to change style from clear frame to red or black.
I have been using my current specs for the past 2 years, with ocassionally check up with optometrist to check my prescription. They stayed the same. All in all, the past 2 years, I have changed the frames 4 times. 😅 So, it’s only rm90 + (rm5.60)x4 for me. 😁
Thanks for commenting here, Nurulauni!
I love to my glasses, my method? I used to bought a cheap frame (mainly eyes glasses), then sent it optical shop for lenses. Long story cut short, doing this like 10 times (those days, simple lenses cost around rm90, cant remember the price) Now, as today (2020), I’ve found out that shopee, so i bought a few frame (with metal hinge) cost me around rm4.00. and for lense cutting, one shop at paya jaras area (optik danish), they charged around rm50 for cutting the lenses. My next try will be an optical shop named Optik Optik (you can find in Facebook), might be cheaper, for lense cutting. Hopefully… Hahaha. Last but not least, i love wearing glasses, geeky, nerdy, hahaha.
Thank you for sharing some optical shop recommendations, Geeky! Hahahah glad that you love your look
I run a small Enterprise business and pay all business bills using my credit card. I rack up the points really quick.
Some eyewear shop can redeem points for glasses.
I’ve had 4 free glasses so far.
I’ll write up a blog post about this soon 🙂
!!! What a great idea!!! Thanks for sharing this tip, never thought of it that way!
I came across this article while surfing on Google and I hope you don’t mind me to share my startup that I have started this year: http://www.wondersspecs.com
Our mission is not only to be the most complete online optical shop in Malaysia aka SelectSpec of Malaysia, we are providing the most affordable option in Malaysia. Our prescription glasses are from RM38.
Our typical customers usually upgrade their glasses to include blue light blocking lenses and they only need to top up RM40. That is RM78, still under the budget of your blog.
Anyone are keen to buy really affordable glasses can checkout from the website or hola at us @wondersspecs on Instagram. Most of the time I will be there to help to answer your question.
Thanks Aidan for stopping by and introducing wondersspecs 🙂 Im a fan of selecspecs and glad there is a Malaysian equivalent!
My 11yo niece threw out her cheap, bought-for-fun, powerless spectacles. This auntie salvaged it from the bin and sent it to her sister-in-law’s optical shop in a small town to have the lenses replaced based on last prescriptions. Total cost: RM100. And it’s so nice to wear something that used to be owned by my niece. My previous glasses were bought in another optical shop in Penang when they had a Bofo promo and my mom wanted only one pair.
A free frame is a free frame 😛 Hope it looks good on you and works well for many years to come!
Do mutifocals really cost RM2k upwards? Is there no option under RM1k?
I look around at poor people around me and wonder how many of them might be going about their lives, working, riding bikes, driving cars, with blurry eyesight
Hi Suraya… Not sure if i missed out..
I cant find any shop that wld make lenses that wld fit to the we buy from outside.
Can you suggest some, please. Penang or KL or Selangor. I dont mind
Usually people just go around and ask. Is it hard to find? I would imagine nowadays glasses shop are keen to get business
I’m a person who don’t like to wear glasses, but I need them. I get headaches if I don’t wear them for too long.
Since a doctor recommended me to wear glasses, I always bought the cheap one. But I always lost them since I only wear them when I needed to, and always left them somewhere.
So 3 years ago, I decided to splurge a bit on new glasses. Got a Rayban frame, with Zeiss glass multi coated anti UV an all. I also got the transition ones. Cost me around RM1.4k
It felt very comfortable to the point I felt like it’s a part of me. This is the longest pair I ever had without losing. Lol
IMO, the frame might not be relevant, but the glasses do makes a different. I’m hoping I could find a good quality lenses like the Zeiss, but not with the high price tag