Saturday, April 19, 2014

Should You Order Glasses Online?

Eyeglasses, that is. If you're like me, glasses are a part of your everyday look. I'm not interested in experimenting with contacts (touching my eyeballs? no thanks) and while my vision isn't horrible (in one eye anyway) I do get headaches if I walk around with uncorrected vision for long. So, glasses it is. Rather than fighting it or feeling resentful about it, I've embraced it and decided to make it a bit of a fashion statement, an integral part of "my look" if you will.

My insurance subsidizes one pair of glasses per year. Luckily my prescription hasn't changed much in the past couple of years, so I can get away with wearing last year's (or the year before's) pair. I love to change up my look, and wearing different glasses is a fun way to do that. After I had my colors analyzed, I couldn't resist the urge to buy just one more pair, IN my season. I'm not actually due for a new pair until 2015, so I decided to see if I could find something really inexpensive. I found Zenni Optical, which advertises glasses starting at just $6.95, including prescription! I had to find out if this was legit or too good to be true.

So, how does one order glasses online? It's actually pretty fun. You upload a picture of yourself without glasses on, and then virtually "try on" as many frames as you want. There are limitless options; here are a few I liked:
I chose the pair in the bottom right corner

Here is a close-up of the glasses I ordered
Let's talk about price. I highly doubt you're "walking out the door" with $7 glasses. The frames I selected were a bit more than that ($19), but that is only the beginning. Here is my detailed order:
Not $7 - but not crazy, either
The biggest expense was the lens upgrade, for nearly $35. From what I understand, those of us with coke-bottle level prescriptions need some special sort of lens to avoid our glasses actually being coke-bottle thickness. I was willing to pay for that upgrade, since I have poor vision in only one eye, and the one-thick-one-thin-lens look is not cute. Zenni recommends the particular index for your specific prescription. Your mileage may vary on that - your lenses may cost less if you don't need that high-index lens, but it also may be more if you need bifocals or trifocals. My prescription is just single-vision. Additionally, I took a mini-splurge to get clip-on sunglasses that fit just right, a whopping $4. (Those things are $10-$20 at the drugstore and never fit right; the ones from my ophthalmologist fit but cost $40.) Shipping was a reasonable $5 flat rate; if you're ordering glasses for the whole family it won't cost any more. So, we're talking about just under $63, which is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than anything I've ever bought at my doctor's office boutique, even after the insurance subsidy.

I placed my order, and just twelve days later, my new glasses arrived in my mailbox!
My Zenni glasses
I have no complaints! Luckily, they fit me perfectly, since I'm not sure where I'd go about getting them adjusted if they didn't. They look pretty darn close to how they looked "virtually." The only maybe weird thing was that color is a little bit off - the visible part of the frame is right on, but the part over the ears is a different color. Since that's hidden by my hair, I don't care, but if my hair didn't cover that it might annoy me. The clip-on sunglasses are definitely the cheap kind (I doubt they'll last long,) with no metal around the edges, but they fit right and do the job.

Ordering glasses online is scary! You are taking a chance. Although this all went very smoothly, and it was far cheaper than the boutique where I usually purchase glasses, I don't think it was really a savings over going to a local discount chain optician. However, if you find your local options lacking, you might like to give Zenni a shot. Dirt cheap, it's not. And you're not going to find the upscale designer frames you can get in the more expensive stores. But it offers a massive selection of reasonably priced frames in every kind of style and color imaginable. And the ordering process is as easy as it could be.

Have you ever bought glasses online? If so, were you happy with the glasses you purchased?

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting post. I've never thought of ordering glasses on line, but now I might just do it. Thanks Karen