Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Volume 2, Number 39: Now and Zenni

(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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


  1. Compared with Zenni and 39dollarglasses, i prefer
    GlassesShop for its steep discounts, buy-one-get-one-free sales, and other special savings.

    1. Thanks! I'll give them a try sometime.