New eyeglasses in Mexico: I love them and I saved a ton of money

Last Updated on May 27, 2023 by Ellen

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.

New eyeglasses in Mexico

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. I bought those 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, and the price

I used a closed Facebook group of expats living in Puerto Vallarta to ask for recommendations on where to go. 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). They also suggested 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. He suggested I start wearing a larger frame to accommodate the change to 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.

Afraid of health care overseas? Don’t be!

Our special guide on global health care shows you:

  • 7 easy steps to find the right doctors and hospitals
  • Specific price examples for various medical services
  • What to know about medical visas
  • And more!

We go without travel health insurance, but many of the principles apply to those with coverage.

However, my prescription had changed quite a bit so I eventually donated the lenses and frames to an eyeglass shop in India in May 2023.

The lenses were Crizal – and they were still totally fine to wear every day, but my prescription had changed to much. These Crizal lenses I bought in Mexico were the best lenses I ever owned.

Ellen smiles with Theo about new eyeglasses in Mexico that she is wearing.

I used my health savings account with no problem. I did have 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. That’s comparable to the U.S., where I also had to wait up to 10 business days. As a slow budget traveler: not a problem!

Progressive contacts?

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 Mexico: 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.

New eyeglasses in Mexico - good lenses in a brown plastic frame.
My new $310 glasses bought in Mexico.
Ellen wears eyeglasses bought in the USA.
Wearing $475 glasses.
Ellen wears the $750 eyeglasses bought in the USA.
Wearing $750 glasses.
Ellen wears no eyeglasses.
No glasses.

Ellen also bought new eyeglasses and sunglasses in Barcelona in April 2018.

Ellen bought the cheapest eyeglasses of all in the Philippines in January 2021 – even with progressive Transition lenses.

This post was updated in late November 2019 to update the link to the Eye Metrics website and add the link for eyeglasses in Spain.

It was updated again in January 2022 to include the link for eyeglasses in the Philippines.

It was updated again in May 2023 to report for the final time on these progressive eyeglasses bought in Mexico.

Thanks for reading, “New eyeglasses in Mexico: I love them and I saved a ton of money.”



14 thoughts on “New eyeglasses in Mexico: I love them and I saved a ton of money”

  1. Michelle C Hollister

    Oh, and they’re only $215 at Fetch Eyeware…in Portland, OR USA or online. All proceeds go to animal rescue.

    1. Maybe I will be in one of those countries the next time I need glasses. The last time I was in Spain, and the time before that, Mexico. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Fyi, prescription goggles can be had at any pool with a decent swim shop. Just buy two pair of your eyes are mismatched and combine them.

  3. Ok. I was surprised at the high cost of 370.00 in Mexico. America’s Best for progressive bifocals ran me 410.00
    I can not see going all the way there just to save 30.00

    1. Hi Mary, I didn’t go there just for glasses. I was going to be out of the country for awhile and needed new glasses. Having never bought glasses outside the U.S., I was pleased to learn that I could get quality glasses abroad.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. My Wonderful World of Vintage

    If you aren’t scared of buying glasses online you can get really affordable progressives from places like I have been buying glasses online for years and can’t imagine paying hundreds of dollars for one pair of glasses.

  5. This is really great info, exactly what I was looking for, and hoping to find (cost estimate) with the bonus of a recommendation in PVR!

    One thing regarding the snorkel mask… that was the very reason I switched from glasses to contact lenses over a decade ago for an extended round the world trip. I find them so much more convenient and comfortable, and they provide better distance vision. Plus I can buy cheap sunglasses that take an abuse. I’m still a contact lens person! For your snorkelling purposes, try to find a daily wear lens that you can tolerate. Wear them snorkeling, then throw them away.

  6. awesome. My parents have bought glasses several times in India at I think about 1/3 of the Mexican prices….also very cheap but high quality dental work in Mumbai (using the same dentists that all the wealthy Indians use)

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