(Note: I originally posted this blog entry on my Yahoo! GeoCities blog around November 27, 2007.)
10 days ago, I tried a new way of ordering eyeglasses--over the Internet. The reason was that I had spent ridiculous amounts of money on each of my last two pairs of eyeglasses at traditional "brick-and-mortar" retailers (roughly $280 in 2000; another $273 in 2004).
I decided on Zenni Optical. I had initially considered 39dollarglasses.com, a web site I found when searching for "discount prescription eyeglasses" that reportedly received a good review from the Wall Street Journal in 2005. But then I came across a review of that web site on epinions.com that suggested I go to Zenni Optical instead. I did, and I was impressed with the frame selection and the prices (starting at $8, which is great if you don't have a strong prescription as I do). Even the extras are inexpensive--the anti-reflection coating is $4.95; upgrading from the 1.57 index lenses to the 1.67 "high index" lenses is $37.
The final cost for my glasses came to $64 ($8 for the frame, $5 for the anti-reflective coating, $37 for the high index lenses, a $9 additional charge due to the strength of my prescription, and $5 for shipping).
It's a heck of a gamble, I know. My brother Josh has a friend who ordered eyeglasses over the Internet (through another site altogether) and had to deal with a number of errors.
My experience was far better.
I got my new glasses from Zenni Optical earlier today. They came much faster than I expected (they said two weeks, plus an additional week due to my having such a strong prescription). I am impressed even more due to the speed, and I have no problems with these new glasses whatsoever.
In case you are intrigued by my experience, and want to give Zenni a try, here are two things I should point out:
- Supposing you have a recent prescription, make sure it has the pupillary distance on it (the distance between the centers of each pupil). This is extremely important--in fact, the online order form requires it. The prescription I got from my eye doctor had everything else--the spheres, cylinders and axes--but not the pupillary distance. I tried measuring it myself and didn't get an accurate result, so I recommend you get that from your eye doctor if you don't see it on your prescription.
- Be careful about what you choose when you order. Zenni's return policy is 50% of the price paid. So you don't want to get stuck with a frame that "just isn't you," or lenses that are too thick because you opted for the regular 1.57 index lenses instead of the 1.67 "high index" lenses.