I've posted at length on what I think of optometry retail here. The first post still pretty much reflects my thinking. The pricing is ridiculous but that's a far lesser concern to me than the crappy range of frames, lack of knowledge, terrible service (e.g. most outlets being unwilling to customise the depth of semi-rimless lenses or demanding that you take they deem to be the right lens for you, e.g. polycarbonate), and terrible products (I mostly avoid wearing full frame glasses because whatever bloody frames I buy -- except for Oakleys and Ray-Bans -- paint start coming off the frames inside a year) available.
Don't get me started on the total lack of transparency regarding pricing and lens type/brand used. Even with corporate discounts or ordering my own frames online and then shopping around, my approximately -3.25 script for both eyes with 1.61 hi-index lenses will cost me at least $350 for full frame glasses or closer to $500 for semi-rimless.
And if anything breaks/the wear and tear becomes too much and it's time to replace, I get the fun of having to maraud across multiple practices to look for the 2 to 3 frames that I like enough that typically still has some compromises. I've always wanted modular glasses where I get to change out different parts and express a bit of individuality and match with my outfit on the day. I am not and have never been (and likely never will be) interested in options like Zenni Optical (price is not my number one consideration) or Clearly because when things go wrong, I can't be bothered playing courier boy and then waiting a week+ for my glasses again. I also don't want to go around begging or paying a local optometrist to adjust my glasses for a good fit when they know that my glasses weren't bought from them and will inevitably deliver a second class citizen treatment.
Enter Dresden -- they sell only one frame but in 4 different sizes for the frames and arms. Although they are quite "forward" looking glasses (i.e. the frames are quite pronounced on your face), the temples are mercifully quite under-stated for those who like this. There's a large variety of colours available. When I first read a somewhat hagiographic "news" piece about them and reading that they use a very light nylon for their frames and arms, I was quite dismissive. But I figured for $100 bucks for a full frame with hi-index lens, it would be worthwhile giving them a go. So I went to their Vulcan Lane store and was greeted by a really wonderful and knowledgeable optical assistant. Their store is small and there's really only room for 1 to 2 staff member. But they don't need more because the concept is so simple. In the hand, the frames are really light but seem amazingly durable but if your idea of good frames is that it must be in metal or acetate and weigh like a brick, you won't like their stuff. I like how they have the classic colour frames that you can then match with quite funky arms that make the frames look pretty fashion-forward without being too ridiculous.
They also definitely can cut standard (i.e. 1.50 plastic) lenses in the shop and you can take your glasses away there and then if your prescription is quite bog standard. But I wanted hi-index lenses and they've promised that my glasses will be available on Tuesday from the lab. There are plans to start cutting hi-index single vision lenses in-shop soon. All the prices are fully transparent -- e.g. if you get hi-index lenses, the AR coating that you'll need is included. In the end I bought 1 pair along with a spare set of arms and frames to change out my style. If I end up liking these and I damage an arm or whatever, it's only $25 to replace. If I don't, they will function as very good backup glasses and make my Oakleys last longer at a very affordable price.
For anyone wanting sharp prices and a (much) lower hassle glasses shopping experience with in-person service, give them a crack!