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Buying Eye Glasses / Spectacles in Korea

In Korea, eye glasses / spectacles are not only used to correct vision but also as a fashion statement. It's popular among youths and the prices are kept low that many can afford to wear them as a fashion accessory, with or without lenses!

With the increasing popularity among Koreans and tourists, optical shops can be found almost everywhere with the highest concentration at Nandaemum Market and Myeong-dong. Many optical shops have their own in-house optician so you can get your eye check done on the spot and collect your glasses on the same day! This is provided that your degree isn't extremely high and lenses needed are single vision lenses.

Korean products are known for their quality and glasses are no exception. They come in a variety of designs and colours, catering to various face shapes so it isn't difficult to find a good frame that will fit you perfectly. Prices of frame + lenses can vary from 10,000won - 300,000won or more depending on the retailer, the brand of frame and lenses required.

After reading up on the information found online, I decided to get a pair of glasses done in Seoul and I chanced upon this small shop at Myeong-dong underground shopping mall which looked like a family-owned shop. I didn't manage to take a picture of the shop as I was just browsing the frames they displayed outside the store without planning on any purchase. I randomly picked one to try and instantly fell in love with it. The staff knew basic English and proceeded to check my glasses' power before pressing the calculator to show me the price. I find that it's safer to follow your own power rather than get your eyes checked there because your eyes might not be in the perfect condition(tired eyes, sensitive eyes, etc. can affect the actual power) to do a check which means the degree might be wrong and chances are you won't be using that pair of glasses once you're back in your home country.
Hearing the price of 28,000won (approx. SGD$35) for my chosen pair of the frame with lenses seem too good to be true. The lenses used were 1.55 index which will be thick if your power is above 500 degrees. Luckily my PD is wide so the lenses aren't that thick and weigh as light as my Owndays Air Ultem glasses with 1.6 index lenses. Do note that the higher the number for index means the thinner the lenses will be.
I just sat there for a bit to pack my shopping bags and my glasses were done in just 15 minutes! I was impressed at how efficient the staff was and he did a good job adjusting the spectacles to my comfort level too. The glasses came with a case and spectacle cloth.
It does look similar to my current pair of glasses but I really wanted to try this shape and the low price just convinced me to get it. I wore it straight after I got it and the glasses are comfortable even till this day! :)

In summary, if you intend to get a pair of glasses in Korea,
1. Get your prescription from your local optical shop
2. Visit Nandaemum, Myeong-dong, or university areas to choose your desired frames
3. Inform the staffs on the type of lenses you need, do note that transition/progressive lenses will take longer processing time(probably more than a week!)
4. Wait for awhile, shop at the nearby areas and get your glasses on the same day!


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