Time to Get Glasses In South Korea

Do you need glasses? Many international residents often find that it’s time to get glasses while living or traveling in South Korea. The country’s numerous optical stores make glasses easy and affordable to purchase.

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About Buying Perscription Glasses in South Korea

Depending on what country you come from, South Korea could be a great place to get new glasses. For example, I’m from the United States where I always struggled to afford my glasses because my eyes are terrible. The shops always said I needed special lenses that cost over $250 and took three weeks to make. After testing, lenses, and frames I was usually out between $500 to $600 and my glasses took about three weeks to make. I never understood it and bought glasses every 3-5 years.

Oddly, in South Korea, the same eye exam, frames, and lens combo cost 85,000 won and take an hour. Needless to say, I now buy new glasses all the time and love them! Sometimes I buy new glasses just because I can. You can see a recent history of my cheap eyeglasses in the header image for this blog. My most recent purchase (in the image below) included free frames and I only paid for the lenses.

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Acquiring Your Prescription

You do not need to bring your glasses prescription with you to the store. Instead, the store will ascertain your prescription one of two ways: 1) they will take your current glasses and put them in a machine that analyzes your current lens for the prescription or 2) the glasses shop will provide a free eye exam to determine your new prescription. Yes, that is right. The eye exam is free with the purchase of your new glasses.

Choosing Frames

There are going to be a wide variety of frames at many different price points. Many stores will have a large variety of frames under 50,000 won. Some will be as cheap as 5,000 won or 10,000 won. If you need to be cheap, don’t be afraid to shop around. I’ve never paid over 50,000 won for any of my frames and I’m always receiving compliments on them.

Choosing Lenses

When you get glasses in South Korea, most shops will offer quite a few lens choices. Some lenses are dirt cheap. Those are great if you are very poor. However, if you are not poor go ahead and splurge on the 55,000 – 75,000 won lenses. You won’t regret it.

However, if you have bifocals, expect to pay more for them. The fancy bifocal lenses are around 125,000 to 150,000 won. Transition lenses will add an additional 100 + to your cost as well. A full set of transition lenses + progressive lenses + frames + free eye exam might cost you around 450,000+ won in Korea as opposed to $750+ USD. This is assuming you don’t have insurance in the US and aren’t buying your glasses from Wish.

Turn-Around-Time

Usually, your glasses will be done in about an hour, but this does depend on the shop. Smaller shops might need a day to get all the work done and the fancy bifocals can take a few days. There are always possible acceptations to the rule so be sure to ask how long the glasses will take to make before committing to the process.

Preparing to Shop Before You Go

Get informed about the costs of lenses in your home country and the types of lenses that exist there. This will help you know if you feel comfortable with the price here. Every country has different

For example, there are many different kinds of progressive lenses and there are many different prices and styles of transition lenses. You need to know what kind you are looking for when you arrive and what your price range would be. Also, remember to shop around. You can get quotes from a variety of different shops since different shops carry lenses by different brands and prices can change.

Please, don’t try to figure out what you want once you arrive in the shop. At that point, you are already stressed with dealing with any language barriers or new information. Instead, have what you want to be prepared with samples and maybe even links they can click on.

The reason you want to arrive prepared is that it allows both you and the shopkeeper to succeed. For example, getting a quote for $500 for a pair of glasses can feel insane, unless you already know that the same set of glasses would cost $900 back home. Then it suddenly feels like a discount.

Things to remember. Just because one location charges more than another location it doesn’t mean they are ripping you off. Changes in price can be related to the shop’s overhead such as rent, staffing needs (ex: all staff needs to speak English), brands they carry, etc. Additionally, if you add all the fancy bells and whistles to your glasses they will no longer be cheap, but they will still likely be cheaper than buying such fancy glasses in other countries.

Issues with the Frames or Lenses

If you have ANY problem with your glasses, go back to the shop and get it fixed. I’ve had a couple of experiences where the lenses weren’t quite perfect and the shops fixed the issue for me quickly. This sometimes happens when my prescription has changed a lot. Just another reason to get glasses in South Korea.

Choosing the Right Store

Everyone is going to have their preferences. I’ve tried many different stores over the years and I find that I prefer shopping at a slightly larger store but not necessarily one of the corporate giants. The smaller stores are where I’ve had the longest wait times and the corporate stores tend to have more boring frames.

Glasses Shops to Try Near Pyeongtaek

Here are a few spots where South of Seoul volunteers buy prescription eyeglasses near Pyeongtaek.

Royal Vision

Royal Vision 0

Hangul Address

8 Pyeongtaek 2-ro Pyeongtaek-si G

This eye glass shop has eye glasses and sun glasses. Like other glass shops, they also do the vision test right there.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Baraboda Glasses

Baraboda Glasses5

0507-1438-0990

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 오산시 경기대로 154

A nice glasses store with a wide range of frames and prices. Exam is free with your glasses. Most glasses take 30-60 minutes.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Dream Optical

Dream Optical5

031-691-1008

Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Hangul Address

경기 평택시 팽성읍 안정쇼핑로 17

Optometrist outside of Humphreys Walk In Gate, in The Ville. Reading glasses, sunglasses, frames, and prescription lenses.

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

What Should We Add?

This is one person’s experience buying glasses over the last decade and certainly doesn’t address every hurdle every person might face. If you have additional information that should be shared, let us know in the comments! We are always updating blogs and adding new information to make them as useful as possible.