the internet rocks (or, how a blog led to me buying glasses online)


On December 10, I read a blog post titled Shattering The Eyeglasses Scam.

Being a big dork, I couldn’t get the story of how “Glassy eyes” got new glasses for $81 online.

The last pair I purchased cost about $500 before insurance from LensCrafters. After insurance, we were out about $250. (I can’t find the receipt — this was in 2004).

So, in early January, I headed over to LensCrafters for an exam. My carrot-eating regimen must have worked, because my prescription hadn’t changed. After being sure to get my “PD,” I spent about 30 minutes waiting for a ride home from my bro-in-law while looking through the LensCrafter offerings.

There was one pair that I really, really liked: The Donna Karan 3525.

Without the power of the internets, I would have gotten them on the spot. But, those frames (Just the frames) cost $200. After insurance, that would have put me back $70. And then the fun of being really blind and needing extra-thin lenses (think: money, money, money for LensCrafters) arrives and I end up spending a lot more than $70.

Back home, I started shopping for frames in earnest. After about an hour, I narrowed it down to two choices from Zenni Optical:

  1. $29.95 pair
  2. $8.95 pair

Ordered the frames Sunday, January 7th for $130 total (Again, I needed lens upgrades) and got the spectacles Saturday, January 20th.

The first pair is still in need of adjusting, but I’ve been wearing the second pair non-stop since having them slightly adjusted at Costco. (You can see the pair I’m wearing above. John Hodgman, look out. The other pair is on flickr)

Grand total so far? $10 co-pay for exam + $131.72 for glasses = $141.72.

If you want to save money on your next glasses purchase, here’s a brief review of online retailers: Eyeglass Retailer Reviews.

7 thoughts on “the internet rocks (or, how a blog led to me buying glasses online)

  1. Things I like in this blog post:

    – Knowing you’ve bought $500 glasses like some sort of web designing yuppie
    – Linking to a Wikipedia article to explain measuring the distance between your pupils
    – “internets”

    Sweet glasses, btw…

  2. Great news – thanx. Do you have any information on the quality/clarity of the lens itself? I wear progressive lenses which have visual limitations because the focus is so centered causing the peripheral vision to be blurred or distorted. I call it pin-point vision if that describes it a little better. Have any improvements to eliminate this pin-point vision problem been done in the last year or so? Thank you for “looking into” the subject of online eyeglasses – it truly was news to me. Sincerely, Faithful Viewer

  3. Nice glasses! You shoulda got the fashion tint. Only five bucks. The only problem with the whole deal is the bridges. You just about have to try glasses on to feel if the bridge is right. My zenni glasses could use a bridge adjust but I don’t think they were made for adjusting, if you know what I mean. That is the only real tradeoff for the cheap price. That said, I’ll be doing it again.

  4. Carol:
    I wear progressive lenses, and I just bought glasses at Zinni. I got hinge-less progressive, with rimless titanium frames. I think that I opted for every lens option, (anti glare, etc) and my specs set me back $97.00. They work fine… think of it, 20 years ago, I thought that you could only get contacts from an optomatrist… this is the next step.

  5. I second the warning about getting frames with non-adjustable nose pads… if you have a hard time finding plastic frames that fit your nose when shopping in real stores, the odds of getting a comfortable frame on-line are slim. Unless of course you found a frame in a store that fit, made a note of the brand, model, and size (numbers that will look something like 47-19-135 for the lens width, distance between lenses, and temple length in mm), and ordered that exact frame on-line.

    I just got a pair of glasses with progressive lenses from Zenni… if your reading addition is low (1 to 1.5) you’ll probably be satisfied. With higher adds, there’s inevitably going to be more distortion and a narrower useful region with any progressive lens.

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