Eye Love Shopping
On a recent solo trip to Beijing, I was told that the Eyeglass Market was the place to buy inexpensive prescription sunglasses. I asked the hotel tour desk to write the name and directions in Chinese for the taxi driver. She knew of the market, and said I was in for a treat. Off I went to the fabulous Beijing Eyeglass Market.
Can you see yourself getting excited about shopping for prescription glasses? Did you know that Beijing, China has one of the largest optical markets in the world? Located near the Panjiayan Market, the Eyeglass Market (official name is Ming Jin Yuan), is an experience to be treasured.
Situated in a three-story building, in the middle of a block, from the outside you donâ€™t get much of a feel of whatâ€™s inside the building. The interior walls hold 60-100 individual shops. Each shop has between 1,000 to 5,000 different styles of glasses and sunglasses. Each style comes in a variety of colors. The frame prices are marked and are arranged by price. The inexpensive ones range from $8.00 to $10.00 on – up to $80.00 for designer frames.
The time involved is tremendous, so allow yourself at least an hour to pick out your frames, lenses and to negotiate your price. I suggest you walk the first and second floors peering into the various shops to see your choices, what is available before entering a specific shop. Choose a shop, any shop, they are all similar. I started trying on the $20.00 frames, then went down to the $8.00 frames, up to the $80.00 ones, before settling on frames priced from $12.00 to $18.00. Next, I had to pick the color. With frameless lenses, you can choose the shape of the lens. If you like the green-zebra frameless frames, but not the rectangular lenses, they can make the frames oval for you.
Bifocals are available as are Polaroid lenses; lenses made of glass, and various colors and tints, for your glasses or sunglasses. Bifocals were approximately $2.00 to $8.00 more, large Polaroid lenses were $35.00 additional; glass lenses and shading were included in the price. The sunglasses I chose were the new large, bug-style, and the Polaroid lenses required a day to order the lens. I opted for regular sunglass lenses.
Prices are negotiable. After you decide on your frames and lenses, ask for discounts, especially if you are buying more than one pair of glasses. Bring your prescription with you and those of your friends. There are opticians in the shops, if you forget to bring your prescription. There always seemed to be at least one person in each shop who spoke English well enough to understand what I wanted.
All glasses were completed within one hour. This included a fitting, a hard case and soft cloth to clean the lenses. While you wait, there is a three-story antique furniture market next door that will ship anything you purchase.
I highly suggest writing down the styles and colors you and your friends want, especially if you have reading, driving and sunglasses to purchase.
I bought a total of six pairs of glasses for $85.00. I can not wait to go back to Beijing to buy some more fabulous designer glasses.