Buying progressive eyeglasses in Asia

Old Jul 27th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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Buying progressive eyeglasses in Asia

I wear progressive type bifocals (often called verilux). While I've gotten them for as little as $200 at Costco, I don't like their choice of frames. At two regular optical shops here with small wire or frameless glasses, they would run between $700 and $800 a pair. Since I'll be in Asia, and because I see so many Asian men with those very smallish and stylish frameless glasses, I'm wondering if it is "worth it" to look for some while there. I'll be in Shanghai, Beijing, and Bangkok for a week each -- other places for several days. I'm not a shopper, but shopping for eyeglasses and buying some there would be a more favored souvenir than the usual trinkets.

Any suggestions? Or should I not trust them? Of course I have a current prescription for the lenses with me.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 05:21 AM
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I'm not sure about progressive lenses, but they probably are available. The best frames available here in Bangkok - at least the ones I like - are imported from Germany, and so still run $400 or more. I did get some nice Ray Bans with subscription lenses for around $200.

However, both times I've bought glasses here in Bangkok I've had to wait around a week to get them, so that might be a problem. The shop with the best stuff, I think, is in the Erawan Mall at the Hyatt, but there are also a lot of shops in Paragon.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 05:49 AM
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Cheryl has purchased eye glasses with progressive lenses in both Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. It does take about a week for the Hoya progressive lenses to be made. She uses Paris Mikki in Siam Paragon. The designer frames are still pricy, but she pays perhaps half of what she would pay in the US.

The optical shop does an eye exam as part of your purchase price. Cheryl always brings along a prescription, so the exam just confirms her prescription.

Michael, what is the name of the shop you like at Erawan Mall? Cheryl is always interested in looking at more options.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 06:42 AM
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Well, since I'll return to Bangkok for a day (or two) almost four weeks after being there a week, I guess the time wouldn't be an issue. In the past I've actually liked some wireless frames better that were more generic than many of the big designer name ones. I particularly like glasses without any nose "tabs" but can't seem to find those any more.

I'll check out paris Mikki.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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I wonder if it wouldn't make sense to buy the frames in Hong Kong (if they're half the cost they would be in the US), but bring them home and have the lenses done in Florida (or California in my case)?
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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Well it really isn't just the frames. The last ones I priced here were only about $225 for the frames, but the total price was still over $700. I guess the progressive lenses -- at least in my prescription are just super expensive too. And honestly, I'm not sure how anxious a place would be here to make glasses for "BYOF" -- bring your own frames. Although if I found something I really liked, which I can't seem to do here, that might still be worth it.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 08:58 AM
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Having the lenses made in Bangkok are also cheaper than having them made in the US.

Hong Kong prices will be higher than Bangkok prices.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 09:57 AM
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Neo, my prescription is "normal", so the frames are WAY more expensive than the lenses!! I know exactly how much -- the lenses for both my distance and close-up glasses (both prescription) are $220.00....the total was about $700 a pair, so the frames alone (Issy & La by Lafont) were in the $400-500 range. My Dh just about keeled over when he came into the store and saw the price LOL! (But I've worn them for years now)
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 02:16 PM
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there are several eye glass places in siam paragon....in fact there are in almost all the major malls...

tong's husband is an eye glass guy and we have purchased several sets from him in the last few years.....but he does not have the high end glasses you are looking for...

your time frame is just right....go on arrival and then go early on your return in case there are small things to change...

we have also had excellent luck in hong kong....

we have been told to plan on 5 days for progressives...

be prepared just like in usa the guy places are high pressure
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 04:03 PM
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I may have given a wrong impression. I'm really not looking for high end or designer glasses. I see pictures of Asian men all the time with exactly what I want -- very simple frameless or almost invisible metal frames glasses, wire side pieces, no nose "tabs". The issue is I can't seem to find them here -- everyone is into designer name glasses and don't do what I really want.

But you've given me some ideas worth checking out. Bangkok it is and it sounds like Siam Paragon might be the area to start.
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 06:25 PM
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I've brought progressives over the years in Bangkok (and my husband many pairs of single lenses) For singles just about any of the shops can get it right but I've found with the progressives its a little more hit and miss. I've had 2 very good sets - one from Paris Mikki but the shop in Siam Centre not the Paragon one (wasn't there then) and the other done in Phuket at the Opticians who specialize in progressives. The other ones I've had done were completely useless - they just didn't get the centres right - and my husband has had to make them check his on a number of occasions These have been the chain stores and I don't think the staff we have come across have been as well trained. I guess its a bit hit and miss.

Last pair I had done was just new lenses in old frames - no problems at all - Lenses cost 8000bt for good quality hoya ones - my script needs the better lenses to fit right. I don't usually go for designer frames just whatever suits and isn't too expensive as I use them for my work which is messy. I take my script from here and they usually like to check it again. The best of testing was done in the Phuket shop - a full test like at home. I don't think they have a place in Bangkok unfortunately.

Last year I talked to Washington Optical in Amarin Plaza next door to the Grand Hyatt on Chitlom. They had been recommended previously and seemed to know what they were doing and guaranteed their work. I would have used them but had already got some made in Phuket as I was short of time in Bangkok.

As Kathie says - one week is what they usually say but the Phuket lot did it in 3 days. I asked how they managed that and they said because that was their specialty the lense makers in Bangkok gave them priority. Normally I'm going through bkk and get them sorted first time and then pick up on the trip back but its good to have a day or two in case you need adjustment.

They are certainly much cheaper than at home for me
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Old Jul 27th, 2010, 08:14 PM
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I purchased 3 frames from a chain thatt has 2 stores, maybemore now in siam Square. the name is something like Charon. i purchases 1 pair of S.Dupomt 18k gold frames for $370 that sell for $11oo in US. Also, a pair of Gold&wood that were $900 in US for $300 in US as well as a pair of "Fred's that were gold and imported african wood that cost $275 USD $1150 in the US all with the retail of for 65% belower through /ADYE-SRCEEET0J28868 trdy=tijr
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 01:06 AM
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Kathie, I don't remember the name of the shop, but I think there's just one big shop, in two parts, on the third floor where the bridge to Amarin Plaza is. The frames I really like are a German brand, no screws, titanium, nearly indestructible.

For Neo, I know the kinds of frames you're looking for. They are very common here in Bangkok and very cheap - maybe 4,000 Baht or less. I would still go to a high-end shop to get the progressive lenses, though.
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 03:39 AM
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You could try Siam Optical in Bangkok.Here is their link
http://www.siamoptic.com/index.html
they do deal with Verilux progressives.
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 05:36 AM
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Thanks, Michael. we will try to make a stop there in November.
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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I had a pair of simple reading glasses made while we were in Bangkok, Patrick. No problems, but they cost just about the same as doing it at home. Our traveling companions had more high end progressive sets made from the shop in Siam Paragon. They took a few days and she had them delivered to the hotel just before we departed. I felt that was rather taking a chance, as I have often had to have my lenses tweeked. The price she paid was much less that what she could get in Canada, but more than what I paid for the same here in MN. I noticed on a recent visit that she had replaced her Thai glasses saying they were just never quite right. For me, the pricing would have had to be amazingly cheap to take a chance. But know that I'm a person who won't buy shoes in a city other than my own, just in case I want to return them. So take my advice with a grain...
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 06:34 AM
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yes i also know the kind....tong's husband did a pair for me and i think they were $75 with a small bi-focal....progressives might be $200-300...

the name on the frame is actor eyeware
the numbers are: K5027 45 (a square symbol) 18-145 COL 13

my frames are purple... they are totally flexible
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 06:37 AM
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the actual name is K:Actor eyewear

you can google them
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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Nothing against Tong's husband but an optician is a skilled technican. The chain with a name like Charon was well reviewed in the local newspaper about 2 months before I was there in 2009 and you are likely to get licensed optican and on frames, as I did, International warantees. charron or similar is not the only one of it's type I think there were 2 others that had 5-6 stoes in BK. The other advantage with size is the likelihood of a larger selection.
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Old Jul 28th, 2010, 07:00 AM
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Perhaps Tong's husband IS a licensed optician? Do we know otherwise?
Personally I go to an opthamologist once a year -- a regular eye doctor, not just a person who tests eye sight and does glasses. But that is because there is a history of eye diseases in my family, something not usually checked or detected by an optometrist. But I do that anyway, regardless of getting eyeglasses. I'm sometimes surprised that friends who have some medical issues never go to an ophamologist.
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