"My progressive bi-focals cost about $500, and that's with buying my frames on-line for $80. "
How did you manage to get an optical shop to put lenses in your frames? Most of these small privately owned optical shops, which sell fashionable frames, depend on the outrageously high markups on frames to keep afloat.
Most optical shops here in NY will flat out refuse to work with the eyeglass frames individuals have bought somewhere else.
The people working their seem to have a script they memorize re frames not bought from them, have all sorts of excuses: we can't take responsibility if your frames are damaged as the optician adds the lenses, especially as we can not replace a frame we don't stock etc.
I'm trying Costco the next time I buy eyeglasses.
Unfortunately progressives didn't work for me, there is no perifiral vision with progressive lenses, so I simply couldn't get used to them. Thankfully, the eye glass shop I purchased my frames from at the time, gave me a second pair of reading glasses for free when I returned the progressives for mid range vision lenses.
I ended up with two pair of thin wire frames, thin glare free lenses and Transitions lenses on my everyday glasses, all for only $500, the original price of the progressive eyeglasses.
The main problem with Costco, they will not copy an existing prescription from your eyeglasses. You will either have to see their optometrist for a fee of $50+ or bring in a prescription from your eye doctor.
They are adamant about not copying prescriptions, even though it's quite easy to read a prescription directly off your existing lenses.
I guess with Costco's eyeglass prices being so low, they need to make money from somewhere.