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At the southeastern part of the Third Ring Road is a small, modest bystreet. The street ends at a four storey-building which is best described as a paradise for every four-eyed person.It is Beijing Glasses City.
Just while strolling down the thin street, you will find ten or so glasses shops. These small shops contain everything necessary to make a pair of eyeglasses. The shops in the building, however, rarely handle the eye-testing and glasses- production. This takes place in a room in the building next to it.
If you have a pair of glasses with the correct strength for your eyes, be sure to bring these with you. In that case, their strength can be read and a similar pair can be made without you having to test your eyes. But if you do not have any glasses with you, you can still find a good pair. Just seek out a pair of frames you like, and the staff will help you with the eye-testing without any extra charge.
Some salespeople speak English. If you find a pair of frames in a shop with non-English-speaking staff, you can buy the frames there and then let a shop with English-speaking staff take care of the lenses. Prices are negotiable and range from about two hundred yuan and upwards, depending on which frames and lenses you choose.
* Round-rectangular frame glass * Heart-cat-eye frame glass * Butterfly frame glass * Round frames * Square-round * Cat-eye, rimless glass * Oval- can wear any frame * Other glasses and glasses cases.
Location: Dongsanhuan Nanlu 64, Chaoyang district
Opening hours: Daily 9am - 6pm
Sunday mornings are a good time to go, as some other days and times can get quite crowded.
Beijing Glasses City is located in Dongsanhuan Nanlu 64, Chaoyang district. Therefore you can Take Subway Line 10 to Jinsong station and walk 8 minutes to Beijing Glasses City. Or you can take taxi. If you are taking taxi from Tiananmen Square, it will cost you RMB 20 to 30.
Glasses City and nearby Mingjingyuan have likely the largest selection of direct to consumer eyeglasses in the world. This collection of over 200 small shops is wholesalers for frame and lens manufacturers that supply most of the planet with eye wear. Many foreigners have visited these places in recent years and many expats shop here.
Despite the multitude of individual shops, many sell exactly the same frames, or virtually identical ones. What that means is you won't find too many unique frames (no metal frame without a nose pad for example).
Lens options are mostly limited. CR-39 plastic is used almost exclusively, high index plastics and polycarbonate are available but harder to find. Progressive and transition lenses are also harder to find but getting these right will likely require you bringing someone that speaks Mandarin well. Forget Trivex, they don't have it and name brand higher index lenses (like Seiko or Hoya), if they're advertised, should be met with a large amount of skepticism.
Overall quality is average. Although many people might not notice much difference, there is a quality difference between what you will find here and what you will find in a good brick-and-mortar shop back in the U.S. But, at 1/10th the price, you might not care nearly as much.
Sales people can be "pushy" compared to most of the western world is used to. Be prepared for this, have a clear idea of what you want and even though it always helps to have someone who speaks Mandarin, you can negotiate on the calculator or simply in English, which is pretty well understood everywhere.
Contact Lenses are available but selection is limited if you have a more extreme correction (above -8.00/+4.00 range for example). Most lenses are locally made and might not meet the same quality standards as the big brands sold in the West. All told, if you have a normal prescription, you may find a lot to like about buying your contact lenses here - bring the package of your current lenses for best results.
Do your homework. Have a written prescription for eyeglasses and for contacts (they are different), know what the numbers mean. Find out which lenses your current glasses have (if you especially like them) and what size fits you best - the 50 - 17 - 140 numbers written on the inside temple arm of all frames.
Most shops can grind your custom lenses within an hour and nearly all will do an eye exam if you want. They usually have you wear your new prescription with "surgeon glasses" for a while before ordering the lenses cut.
To Beijing Glasses City Photos Page to enjoy more.