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The high price of sight in Finland

October 3, 2005
A news report on YLE news last week highlighted the sky high prices people pay for eye glasses in Finland. The average price for glasses is €329, which is over $450 (Cdn.). If you include other lens specializations such as bifocals or trifocals; or you require strong lenses, glasses can cost up to €1000. My mother-in-law pays some €800 for her glasses! There is no escaping this kind of expense in Finland and you will not get any of this money back from the social services ministry or your insurance company. Thousands of Finns have resorted to buying their frames and lenses in other countries. Going to Estonia is quite common for example.
The Mr.’s brother used to travel abroad a lot and they both convinced me I should have my last prescription filled in another country. To make a long story short, he came back to Finland with the wrong prescription. I really couldn’t wait and I was so disgusted that I had my prescription filled at a store here in the capital area and paid the exorbitant price for the lenses.
Older Finns on limited incomes really suffer for this. They may need new glasses, but they won’t get them because they can’t afford it. One British woman I know told me that her new glasses cost her over €500. She is retired and she told me that she really couldn’t afford them and would have to save money for several months to pay the bill. It really stinks, but that is the price you pay to be able to see! (Tip: find out if you can pay in instalments. I made a deal with a store when I bought my first pair of glasses in Finland. The worst they can say is no.)
One Comment leave one →
  1. Diana permalink
    October 4, 2005 12:08 am

    Well, i pay about $500 Cdn. for my glasses but it’s because i’ve found a wholesaler who will give me my bifocal lenses for $300 – they would normally cost around $500 alone for the bifocals. As I am a self-employed artist, I get absolutely nothing reimbursed from any level of government for this cost…..

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