I love the new specs I bought. I’m an American, and I bought new eyeglasses in Mexico. My vision is perfect and these eyeglasses cost a hell of a lot less than if I had bought them in the U.S.A.
On some background, I’m somewhat of an eyeglass snob. I wore them as accessories throughout the years and I’ve had countless frames. The last full pair I bought in the USA was in early 2015 (frame and progressive lenses, which always cost more). They cost me $750 with eye insurance.
Before I left the U.S. in August 2015, I got a second pair – new lenses placed into old frames to save money at Target, for $475 – again with insurance. And I thought that was a bargain!
Warby Parker isn’t my style because my vision is poor and I like to be precise with progressive lenses. I always pay extra for thinner lenses because I’m heavily nearsighted and regular specs get heavy on my nose. I also get the anti-reflective coating. Buying eyeglasses in Mexico was going to be a big change for me. Good thing I like to take calculated risks.
Where I bought eyeglasses in Mexico
To find the right place, I used a closed Facebook group of expats living in Puerto Vallarta to ask for recommendations. People who live in a destination always know where to go.
People suggested Costco (I’m not a member and they have a no return policy) or Eye Metrics (Optica Medica) in Old Town. I went with Eye Metrics – Optica Medica, and I’m so glad I did!
The doctor was professional and kind. He gave me the same kind of exam with the same machines I have had practically all my life each year back home. The doc made a slight prescription change on the foresighted part, and suggested I start wearing a larger frame to accommodate the change and help me see better. He was right – my vision is better.
Exam, lenses and new frame cost me just $310 USD – with no insurance. Yep. Isn’t that fantastic? Less than half of what a new full pair cost back in the USA.
Also, I used my health savings account with no problem – just had to pay a one percent fee on top of the sale for using the card outside the U.S. (We use Health Equity.)
Sure, I could try bifocals to save even more money but I love how the world looks with my progressives. Vision is kinda important for my lifestyle.
I started with progressives a few years ago instead of bifocals because I used to work 10 – 12 hours a day at a computer. I did have to wait nearly two weeks for these new eyeglasses in Mexico, which is comparable to the U.S., where I also had to wait up to 10 business days.
I’m so happy with these new glasses that I’m going to take an old frame I’ve been lugging around the world and bring it to the doctor to make new sunglasses. New lenses in an old frame will run me another $180.
Oh – and contacts? The doc offered to let me try progressive contacts, so I know they have the latest and greatest goods. But I tried those back in the U.S. and I didn’t like them. Also, I’m usually on the beach so contacts are a drag and I gave them up awhile back when I lived alone in Tulum. I mostly wore contacts for looks and I’m not that vain anymore, even though now and then I’ll pop off my glasses for a photo op!
I’m adding this good experience with new eyeglasses in Mexico to my good experiences with other health care in this country: a mosquito virus (Tulum), urinary tract infection (Campeche), parasites (Tulum), dental care (Mahahual) and yearly mammogram and gynecology (Chetumal) visit.
Maybe this will inspire other people to not be so afraid of the health care system outside America.
(This post was updated in late November 2019 to update the link to the Eye Metrics website. Ellen also bought new eyeglasses in Barcelona as a retired budget traveler in April 2018. That was another good experience.)
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