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What questions do you have for David Lazarus about eyewear?

Snellen Eye Chart and Glasses ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD
Eyewear is a near-monopolistic, $100-billion industry dominated by a single company. That’s why 1,000% markups for frames and lenses are commonplace.
(Simon Belcher / Getty Images)

Eyewear is a $100-billion industry. About 126 million U.S. adults wear glasses. Yet consumers routinely face markups of as much as 1,000% for frames and lenses. How can that be? And what can we do about it?

L.A. Times consumer columnist David Lazarus has been investigating the eyewear industry and has uncovered some eye-opening facts. For example, most glasses these days are made in China (although that’s kept hidden from buyers) and cost little more than $30 to manufacture. A single company, EssilorLuxottica, dominates the market and sets retail prices accordingly. The big vision plans, VSP and EyeMed, rig sales to benefit themselves.

Are there alternatives? Yes, mostly online. But purchasing glasses over the internet requires a whole new skill set.

It’s time to take a clear-eyed look at a product that currently represents perhaps the single biggest mass-market consumer ripoff to be found.

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David will be answering your questions through a livestream Q&A on Thursday, April 4. Fill out our form to submit a question in advance.


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