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Getting in Focus : * Happy Eyes Optical offers personalized service as well as prescription glasses at $24.95 for single vision and $44.95 for bifocals.

September 24, 1993|GERI COOK

GLENDALE — The days of expensive eye wear are long gone--but some folks apparently don't believe it. Some are still spending upward of $100 for a pair of prescription glasses, and it simply isn't necessary--unless your prescription is very unusual.

Recently, a major consumer magazine featured eye wear discount chains, and even those prices quoted as average, $98 to $112 for single-vision glasses, are considerably higher than those at some of the smaller independent stores.

Another plus of the small independent operator is more personalized service.

One independent in Glendale, who gives particularly good service, has the pleasant name of Happy Eyes Optical and here, single vision prescription glasses are $24.95, bifocals $44.95--and, yes, that includes the frames.

The selection of frames included at these prices is excellent--many are styles that are knock-offs of designer frames and include such features as snap-lock ear pieces.

If you must have designer frames, you can save on these as well. Armani frames are tagged at between $125 and $150 (retail $200 to $250); Police frames go for $125 (retail $200) and Yves St. Laurent ones sell for $125 (retail $200).

But the frames that go with the $24.95 price are so terrific (I got a pair that look exactly like the Armani design), that you'll probably want to take advantage of this incredibly low price and get two or three pairs for the same amount you would spend on one elsewhere.

Other name frames that you'll find on the racks are Beau Monde, Luxotica, Swank, Avant Garde and Silhouette, all at considerable discounts.

There's a small selection of sunglasses by Laura Biagotti, harve benard, Lanvin and YSL.

If you've never tried the light-sensitive lenses that darken when you hit the sunlight, they are truly terrific and eliminate the necessity of having prescription sunglasses.

This process, known as PhotoGray, is an extra $20 for single-vision glasses and $30 for bifocals; on the lightweight plastic lenses, figure $40 for single vision and $65 for bifocals. At a major chain, PhotoGray runs about $60 for single-vision and considerably more for bifocals and plastic lenses.

Other good deals at Happy Eyes are the popular extras.

Ultra Violet, tint or hard-coat are all $10 each or two for $15. Trying to compare these prices with one of the major discounters can be a bit confusing, but the figures seem to show that the Ultra Violet and hard-coat run about $36 each. Score a few more points for Happy Eyes.

For people who wear thick lenses, there is a product known as High-Index that reduces the thickness of the lens. For this, Happy Eyes charges $25 additional for single vision and $35 for bifocals.

Tony Sarkissian, owner of Happy Eyes, is a most accommodating fellow who makes every effort to fill his customers' special needs.

If you're desperate and need your prescription filled in a matter of hours, he can usually do it, and has even been known to deliver glasses to shut-ins.

Sarkissian is an optician and lab technician who acts as a wholesaler to opticians in the Los Angeles area.

He does not do eye exams, so come here with your prescription in hand.

Geri Cook's Bargains column runs every Friday in Valley Life! Questions about shopping may be sent to her, in care of Valley Life!, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Letters will not be answered individually, but topics of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Geri Cook can be heard from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays on KIEV 870-AM.


What: Happy Eyes Optical. Location: 114 E. Wilson Ave., Glendale. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays,Sundays by appointment. Cards: American Express, Discover. Call: (818) 246-2202.

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