About

Glasses For Less - How to save on prescription eyeglasses.

About this site

At one level this site tells the story of two people who obtained three pairs of glasses between them at less than a single pair would have cost in New Zealand, and explains how anyone can do this.

At another level, it is the story of how more than 20 years after we opened ourselves to outside competition New Zealanders are still paying too much for goods and services.

The Problem with New Zealand

For as long as I can remember New Zealand has been a small and highly protected market. When I was a child we tried to make almost everything we used. The economies of scale did not work well and we got used to paying far too much for nearly everything.

From the 1980s on our economy liberalised and we were able to buy many imported goods that previously had been either taxed out of our price range or just were unavailable because of restrictions on imports.

Manufacturing became less protected, but protection remained on a number of industries, and others were protected from the global marketplace by other factors.

Doctors, dentists, and other healthcare workers are a prime example of this.

You may have a medical degree from an overseas university but you aren't automatically permitted to set up as a doctor here. Not all universities are created equal, and the idea is to protect the average kiwi from insufficiently qualified people. This is a laudable aim, but in practice the standard is set very high and this makes it very difficult for people to move here and restricts the choice of the New Zealand consumer.

The Participants

My girlfriend Tessa has needed prescription glasses for most of her life. She needs progressive lenses for her eye condition and as she needs the glasses for both close-up and driving desperately wanted transition lenses. At New Zealand prices this was going to cost her around $900.

She's now bought two pairs of glasses for around two thirds of the cost.

My sister Diana is a journalist, but even as a child she needed prescription spectacles. In April last year she needed new glasses. They would have cost $550 all up including lenses. She bought the glasses on-line for NZ$67.50 including postage.

The Story

Is on the main page of this site in detail.

The Author

This isn't my story, but just so you know who's work you've been reading, I'm Bruce Clement, an IT specialist in Auckland. I've had good eyesight most of my life. I've reached that age where I now need reading glasses, but thankfully not yet that time where I need proper glasses. No man is an Island and my sister and my girlfriend are long time wearers of eyeglasses. This page is really about them and their experience. If you want to read more of my work I have a blog and a "hub".

On the other hand, except for attributed quotes, the words are all mine.