Consumers can try on glasses ‘virtually'

High fashion eyeglasses can also come at a high price, but looking online can save some money.

It can be hard to spot the difference between a $280  designer frame and a $160  lookalike.

"You might have two pairs of glasses and they look the same, the quality if pretty much the same, but they're sold at vastly different prices," said Consumer Reports' Sue Byrne. "One of the reasons for that is that a handful of companies are making most of the frames and lenses out there."

Luxottica makes frames for Chanel and Prada, but also for Pearle Vision and Target Optical for a fraction of the cost.

Online stores can make their own frames for less.   At Warby Parker  you can find single vision glasses for $95.  You can also upload a photo to virtually try on frames or request up to five pairs to try at home for five days for free.

Zenni Optical also offers frames for less than $30.

Buying online isn't for everyone.

"It may not work if you have a complicated prescription," Byrne said.

To save money, you can buy your frames online and the lenses at a discount store.  Walmart Vision Center will fill any frames you bring in for $10 plus the cost of the prescription.  Costco will do the same for $18. Both also offer low-cost frames.

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