America's Best - Real Costs of Eyeglasses and Eye Exam

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby Jay Tee » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:04 am

Just picked up 2 pair of glasses for $69 including eye exam from Americas Best.... Couldn't be more pleased. :D

<admin: Post moved from the Costco Optical thread>
Jay Tee

Postby george » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:03 pm

It was brought up in the thread about eye care at Costco that someone mentioned being very satisfied with America's Best deal of two pairs of glasses and an eye exam for only $69. I was not familiar with this offer so I looked into it. If anyone has feedback or comments on America's Best - this is the thread to add it.

First off, the basic offer looks like a fantastic deal. For $69 you get an eye exam plus 2 pairs of prescription glasses. Since eye exams generally cost at least $45 at most places, that means the glasses are only about $12 each. This price would put them in line with the cheapest glasses available, even online from places like Zenni.

So, is the deal all it appears to be?

My conclusion is that it may be for some people. If the glasses you need are pretty basic, then this may be an okay deal. Based on what I can find out, the frames included in the package are mostly ugly, especially the choices for women. Perhaps there are different choices at different branches, but you will have a very limited selection of frames. I will be adding more information soon witih additional details on the prices to upgrade the frames. The lenses are standard plastic single vision lenses. My first pair of glasses I got at Lenscrafters had plastic lenses and that was adequate for me, but that we before I learned a lot more about various options with eyeglasses.

It turns out that most people who wear glasses will not be satisfied with plain plastic lenses. They can be thick, especially if you have a strong prescription. I am guessing that for most people they will try to upsell more expensive options. Based on user feedback, that appears to be the case. I plan to update this thread on the costs of the various upgrades. Since the upgrades wind up being for two pairs of glasses, this seems to quickly add up. Many people said it was around $200 for them when all was said and done, and some people wound up paying around $500. I'm guessing an upgrade to polycarbonate lenses (somewhat slimmer, lighter, and stronger) is what gets people into the $200 range. I'm not sure yet if that includes any sort of anti-reflective coating, which I personally have found I like. The $500 options would like be for someone who needed high index lenses (much thinner) due to a strong prescription.

Based on what I could find out so far, it seems many people are not happy with their experiences at America's Best. I'm guessing part of that could vary significantly based on the particular staff at a particular store. I also think many people are unhappy when they go in expecting to get everything that want for $69, but wind up needing to spend a lot more to get what they want.

I look forward to hearing other people's feedback.
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Postby george » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:05 pm

Jay Tee,

I would love it if you could post more details of your experience in this thread.

Based on what I could find, most people are not as happy as you are with their service.
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby george » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:18 pm

I wanted to find out more about the prices and products that America's Best offers, so I called a local branch and asked some questions. First off, when I called, a nice woman answered right away. I told her I wanted to know the prices for some of their products. She asked me to hold. I sat on hold about 5 minutes, and then I got cut off.

While I was on hold, though, I got to listen to a bunch of their ads. Their ads do suggest adding a sales associate about their lighter and thinner lenses that are 30% thinner than standard (more on this later). They also mention you can get two pairs of lined bifocals with a free exam for $99, which seems like a very good deal. Finally, I heard them mention that for $99 you can get contact lens exams for three years. This also seems like a good deal.

I looked around on their website, which mentions "verithin" and "verilite" lenses which must be their polycarbonate and their high index lenses. I'm not sure which is which and I couldn't find anything online with details about the lenses they use. I'll keep looking and see what I can find. I also saw comments from people online about their 3 years of eye exams. Several people commented that the eye doctor would not easily give them their prescription to take elsewhere. I'm guessing they give the cheap price on eye exams with the expectation that you will then order your contact lenses from them. The bifocals probably have the same issue that their single vision lenses have - which is that they will strongly try to upgrade you to a more expensive lens.

I called back and reached the same nice woman. She apologized for my being disconnected and said she is on another call and she will call me back when she is done. She took my phone number and called me back in about 10 minutes. I asked her about the costs for polycarbonate lenses and anti-reflective coatings. She said that the prices were just approximations as it would depend on my specific prescription and needs, but she said the polycarbonate lenses would be an extra $135 for two pairs of lenses and the anti-reflective coating would be an extra $60 for two pairs of lenses. So after all is said and done, you would pay the $69 for the eye exam and two basic frames (those that they list for $49 - it isn't clear how much additional you pay for their more expensive frames), $135 for polycarbonate lens upgrades, and $60 for anti-glare coatings bringing the total to $264 for the two pairs of glasses plus eye exam. That is still cheaper than places like Lenscrafters, but I don't know how the quality compares and it seems like most people weren't able to get their glasses the same day.

Based on what I've been hearing from others, most people who go in looking for the $69 offer are not happy as they get pushed into the more expensive options.

There were also a few reports of people having a hard time getting a copy of their prescription from the special $99 for 3 year eye contact lens exams. By law, they do have to give you the prescription, but apparently they don't make it easy as they probably assume they will make up the cheaper cost of eye exam by having you purchase your contact lenses from them.

My recommendation is the $45 eye exam is a decent price but close to the same as everywhere else but the glasses are a lot more expensive than what you can order online from places like Zenni Optical. If you prefer getting glasses from a brick and mortar store, then Costco still seems to be the best deal for good quality glasses.

I'm still interested in hearing reports from more people.
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Anon » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:03 am

I went there this weekend all the frames where decent looking if not good looking women had a huge selection as the store I went to compared to men how ever. I got two designer frames or 59.89, while I did pay more for the deal it was for personal reasons I could have gotten basic lenses, but I upgraded on the dr's suggestion, due to my stigmatizes. I am currently waiting for my glasses now but I must say I am very please for what I got polycarbonate with verilite package and anti reflective coating. At any other store I would have payed what I payed for both pairs just for one $302. Unlike most stores they did not charge me $115 per lens it was about 60 for the first set of lenses and cheaper for the second. All in all I am very pleased. I think the problem is with people the seem to have complaints is they don't read the whole ad, or they think the DR's suggestion on lens type is required. The girl I sat down with went though each feature I could add and told me the price differences between them.

Postby scam » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:13 am

Jay Tee wrote:Just picked up 2 pair of glasses for $69 including eye exam from Americas Best.... Couldn't be more pleased. :D

<admin: Post moved from the Costco Optical thread>

I don't know who this guy is, definitely a set up. Nobody walks out with two glasses for $69. Me and my girlfriend sprint hours there with customer after customer complaining and wondering why there're glasses and prescriptions were so much. They don't tell you how much the glasses are until after you have your eye exam and they tell you how you don't want a cheap glasses because they won't work for you, Have a stigmatism, you don't want to wear super thick glass lenses, you don't want to cheap plastic ugliest glass frames you've ever seen, you're going to want antiglare which is close to the 60 something dollars they were talking about alone. This advertisement wastes for peoples flying that don't have the money or resources to afford glasses and are unfortunately or wasting their time money and gas. At the end if you say I can't afford it and they'll tell you you still have to pay sixtysomething dollars for the exam. When nothing was told to you prior to the exam. Don't fall into this trap it is very dishonest this company should be ashamed of your business practices they know right from the beginning. There sales technique is to fool you. You can take glasses for $69 but you have to realize these would be the worst glasses you've ever seen very uncomfortable to wear it look ridiculous. I'm only writing this because they need to stop this horrible business practice. If you're great company tell the truth don't mislead people. Again don't mislead people you know that's what you're doing. Signs America's worst company practices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Postby Lucygoosy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:55 am

I have been using Americas Best for about 7 years now . I have always found glasses that I liked within the sale price they advertise. I have a basic prescription, no eye issues so there's nothing more price wise to add for me. Their glasses hold up with proper care. The only complaint I have is the quality of the eye dr. Some years I have felt the eye dr rushed through the exam other years it was just fine. They advertise a package and if you find what you want (willing to settle in some cases) then it works. It's like getting mad at a car dealership because you decide to buy a car for a certain agreed price then say it's false advertising because you have to pay extra for tinted windows, air conditioning, monster mats, etc.

Postby ginabnina » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:30 pm

I took my 6-year-old daughter to America's Best for glasses. It was perfect for her!! She got two pair for the $69. That meant that she got to pick out one pair on her own and I got to pick out one pair for her. (They had a nice selection of frames within that price bracket.) It is so nice to have a primary pair of glasses for her as well as a back-up pair. They do free polycarbonate lens upgrades for kiddos (under 13, I think), so that was a bonus.

I'm not sure if I will go there for myself, as I know I'd be more likely to get sucked into some of their upgrade traps. However, they're a perfect place for glasses for he kiddos.

Postby CHarrison » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:14 pm

I went to Americas Best on Thursday Feburary 28, 2015. I had to get the $99 bifocals. I added the transition lenses for both pairs. I finally got nout for 190. I don't like having to wait 7 to 10 busness days for the glasses. We will see if everything works out. I didn't get the eye exam as I have medicare and got my eyes checked through medicare and my medicare advantage plan.

Postby satisfied customer » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:29 pm

Got 2 pairs of prescription glasses for $69.95! I didn't get anything extra as I've always had the cheap stuff anyways and they've always worked for me.
satisfied customer

Postby BJA » Sat May 09, 2015 9:05 pm

Hi, From Indy. If you do not get anythings else with your glasses and it is just basic it will only cost you around $70.00. They will try to sell you upgrades lenses, coating etc but if you get the basic it will be around $70.00

Postby ame77 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:48 am

The advertised deal is two glasses for $69. This is false. The deal is actually two FRAMES for $69. You pay EXTRA for the lens that go into your frames which then makes the frames/lens become GLASSES. The ad is very misleading because most people would consider the term glasses that was mentioned in the ad as being the final product but really it is just the frames.

Postby KenDay » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:47 pm

<Post moved from Costco Optical thread>

VERY interesting tales of joy and tales of woe with the Costco progressives. I can sympathize. I bought my first pair of progressives from a cheap outlet without doing any reading or research, and they are completely worthless: the field of vision is so narrow driving and stepping off a curb are dangerous.

I am now using a higher quality lens in a larger frame, a NikonHD from Am's Best. It's ok. That is, I respect what it can do and it's too useful at work to go back, but I also enjoy the sensation when I put on my old prescription and can see the ENTIRE (distance) world in focus.

Been looking at some from Zenni, but they won't compare their prog lens field of vision with any other; I asked. They do say that the "corridor" is 12-14mm which, at almost 1.5 cm, seems very wide indeed. But Zenni gets very mixed reviews from this site, so I don't think I'll go that way based on my past experience. And, as we don't have a Costco within 60 miles, for the time being, on my budget, I'll be wearing my functional but unimpressive Nikon's.

Thanks for all of your input.

Postby Anita » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:51 pm

My husband I both got glasses today. He had trifocals and paid $340! Mine were $360 for single vision with polycarbonate lenses. Added transition for $90.

Postby Harrisford » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:23 pm

Are usually end up paying around $300 for my glasses here. I have used him for four years in a row and my glasses are sturdy, and I save money compared to going To places like lens crafters. I have never found a pair of frames that are the cheapest that I like, I usually end up going to ~$80 a pair, which is only a little over their base deal. Since I wear my glasses every day, for everything, I do get scratch resistant lenses and antiglare. Everyone is nice and I usually get my lenses in about 10 days. I consider it a great experience for $300. Worth every penny.

Postby cbaucom » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:17 pm

I too have walked out of Americas Best with 2 pair of glasses for $69.00 until I needed bifocals then it was $99.00. I just tell them from the jump that I am not interested in any add-ons PERIOD. I have used them for years and have never had a problem.

Postby Michiguest » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:42 am

$376.77 today - 2 pairs of glasses, no anti-glare, one pair of no line progressive bifocals - polycarbonate lens, one pair of driving glasses (for distance only). I am near sighted and have a stigmatism - I bought the $99 for 3 years of prepaid exams plus contact prescription and went with a basic pair of $69.95 frames. I didn't like the high pressure pitch on the retinal eye scan for my initial exam prior to seeing the doctor and declined. The doctor seemed competent. I have gotten glasses here previously and knew what it would cost - I got the same thing last time minus the 3 years of eye exams (which also included a 20% discount today and a 10% discount on future purchases). I'm not sure the $99 will be worth it, I'll have to remember to go get a pair of glasses next year, sometimes I wait 2 years.

Postby BMcMillan » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:49 am

Eye Exam $45 - offered to add scan for eye health for +$20 declined because I just had a free lasik consult and all was healthy.
Went back to pick out frames within 30 days - they said $45 would be credited back for free exam with purchase.
Found 2 frames I liked and was surprised they were in the $69 and $79 range, not $119.
However - I was told I had to get polycarbonate(thin) lenses with frames I picked out without a bottom rim even though my prescription is very low. Adding $170!!
I was happy I could get one pair for distance and one for reading with the 2 for $79 deal.
Also upgraded to antiglare for both $75 ($50 for one). Total $325 for 2 pair of different prescription. Now waiting 7-10 days for delivery.

Postby colvinli » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:27 am

My 19 yo neice who lived with us for a few months came to us with no money, job or decent glasses. Tje pair she was wearing was cracked and missing half a lens. We needed someplace cheap. This was the place. She went in and got the exam and two pairs of glasses with lenses. Total out the door was just under $90. She has a very strong script and the size of lenses was not too bad. The cost was a bit higher because she had them add scratch protection. Overall she was happy with the deal and loved the has been over 6 months and the glasses are still in good shape.

Fast forward my son need a nee prescription. He has been complaining about not being able to see. My insurance only covers glasses every 2 years, we have 6 more months to go. In the interim we are going here to get two sets to last him a year and then we will use the insurance. I have a feeling it will be best to have his script updated yearly where we pay out of pocket every other year.

Postby repaso » Mon May 14, 2018 10:53 am

If you exclusively wear eyeglasses for everything (except sleeping) you will want several upgrades added to your lenses such as antiglare, transitions, polycarbonate verithin etc. If you just purchase a regular, plastic lens, pair of glasses they will be scratched up and destroyed in only a few short months. Anywhere you go to get eyeglasses will offer these upgrades also and they also add them to the lens at an additional cost. I know people that go to other eyewear establishments and pay $300-500 just for one pair with several lens upgrades, I usually get several lens upgrades at Americas Best for both pair of eyeglasses and pay about $300-500 for both pairs. That way you have two great pair of eyeglasses for a great price. If one pair gets damaged or destroyed, you have another pair ready to go. The great thing also is that some of the same upgrades are half price on the second pair. I haven't found any other eyeglass establishments that offer as good of a deal if you are into eye exams and prescription eyeglasses for the long haul.

Postby gaj538 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:34 am

Hubby and I recently went to America’s Best in Temecula, CA. We too looked forward to a free eye exam and reasonable amount for glasses. Not until we were telling them we’d be back in two weeks to order the $342.00(1pair), did we find out we had to pay $45.00 each for the exam because we Didn’t buy glasses that day. You couldn’t leave any amount for a deposit-everything had to be paid in Full during that visit. In the end we paid for the exams and said we’d be back in two weeks to pay and order. We were both Very unhappy with there bait and switch Free eye exam... I’ll be hitting the one pair of glasses, hubby didn’t get any, and we will Never return to America’s Best for anything again!

Postby Karen » Thu Nov 14, 2019 6:28 am

I always go there and I LOVE the glasses they have. I always have trouble narrowing it down to just two that I like. Great customer service and my glasses have held up well.

Postby IrisWilder » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:13 am

I always use America's Best for eyeglasses. They have a decent selection. I tend to get the mid-range priced frames. I have less than stellar eyesight. 475/125. I get no-line bifocals and no bells and whistles. I've never had any pressure for upgrading. Yes, they ask, it's their job to upsell. I've never had pressure to get the $15 extra eye pretest. They ask, because it's their job. After the doctor was done with the exam, she asked if I wanted a copy of my prescription. I paid a total of $277 for 2, no-line bifocals and eye exam. Frames and lenses included. I know they are all individually owned and operated, so that may account why some people have different experiences. If I've ever had an issue with my glasses, appropriate measures were taken to fix the problem. If I went to another store, I know I'd pay over that amount for one pair of glasses.

Postby kyerwood3 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:12 pm

I went to Americas Best to try them, for the first time. I normally use Vision Works. My insurance covered most of my eye exam. I am a bit of a 'FRAME SNOB', in that I really like some of the designer frames. My frames were $199, but the sales rep. told me that since I had insurance, My out of pocket would be comparable to their lower priced frames. I selected good progressives, anti glare, and transitions. She told me about the new 'XTRAACTIVE transitions which darken up inside the car. The cost was the same as regular transitions. I added on an insurance policy for $25, but since I wear my glasses for 2-3 years, It was worth it. I paid $410, after insurance. I told the rep that I would not have vision insurance next time and asked her what I would pay for the same pair without insurance. She told me $550. Now at Visionworks, my last pair, which was comparable to my AB glasses cost me $570! That is AFTER they subtracted 40% because they do not take my insurance. So if I downgraded my frames, I would definitely save significantly at AB. I also tried ZENNI. The prescriptions was spot on, frame was nice. I do see a difference in the quality of the lenses. I do like the experience of going to a brick and mortar for fittings, etc. Unfortunately, some people just have to pay more for what they want. My solution to avoid sticker shock. I opened an EYE GLASS ACCOUNT, instead of paying for vision insurance. I added $25 each month, and at the end of a 2 year period, I can pretty much select what I want, and I'm not frustrated with the cost. I looked into private vision insurance, and after paying my premiums, and out of pocket, it was MORE! You get what you pay for, if you want basic, its a lot less, if you want upgrades, expect to pay more....

Postby Larry » Wed Jan 04, 2023 12:07 am

Well I use Americas best. Having been a full time wearer of framed eyewear for over 45 years, glasses are something I know well. Frames suck no matter what brand. I am 6'3" 235 lb Caucasian and now they make a frame that might work. It Called Asian fit. Nike used to make some nice ones that fit, currently using a frame I bought on eBay that I had bought from a store 4 years ago.
Lens, you get what you pay for. You can actually get 2 pair of glasses cheap, unless, glasses are just an unnecessary convivence for you. The last pair of LENS I bought and picked up 2 days ago were 420 out the door and I provided the frame. If your script is mild , you wont have to spend this much. Mine are somewhat thick even with the high index. But if they were not I would look like a character in a movie. 420 has every feature you can purchase, probably some you have never heard of. I am going back this week and get another set for 40% off.

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