Finding a low priced pair

FRESNO, Calif.

Eyeglasses, they come in all shapes and sizes and prices. But finding a good-looking pair of glasses that doesn't cost a pretty penny can be a challenge.

So consumer reports national research center asked more than 31,000 subscribers about their experiences shopping for eyeglasses.

"We asked about major eyeglass chains and mass retailers, as well as doctors' offices and independent boutiques," Jamie Hirsh said.

The survey rated 18 chain retailers on several factors, including frame selection, employee expertise, and of course price.

"If you're trying to cut your costs, skip designer frames. That can save you hundreds. And with designer frames, you're usually paying for a licensing fee, not for better quality," Hirsh said.

As for where to buy, it turns out the most-frequented chain in consumer reports' survey, Lens crafters, was also one of the most expensive. So was Pearle Vision.

Far better - Costco. It was a standout, especially for low prices … and was the highest-rated large chain overall. Costco also had the fewest complaints within the first few weeks of purchase - complaints like distorted or blurred vision and damaged frames.

"If selection and service are more important to you, our survey shows that doctors' offices and independent eyewear shops are often a better choice."

But that better selection and service translates into more expensive glasses.

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