Every time I visit my eye doctor he pulls the same gag. He tells me my eyes have trouble working together, but we can solve that by just removing one of them. (Har-har-har.)
His jokes may induce good-natured groans, but the prices in his frame gallery induce acute sticker shock. The first time I went to his office, I planned to ask for my prescription then dash out the door. Instead, I chickened out and spent about $150 on new peepers (below). Eesh.
The next year I swallowed my pride and went for it. At first I thought asking for my prescription and hitting the road (without even looking at frames) would make me seem like a world-class cheapskate. I was embarrassed–but without justification. The staff member assigned to me after my eye exam cheerily filled in the prescription card and sent me merrily along. No hassle, no judgment.
I trotted home and ordered my glasses from Zenni Optical. I was so impressed I’ve done it three times since. I just got a new shipment and I thought you might like to see. The packaging is ho-hum–just lots of plastic and padding.
But inside the humble wrapping there’s always a treat–or three. Because the glasses cost so little I like to order prescription sunglasses too. This time I ordered two regular pairs of glasses plus the sunglasses because I had a “buy two get one free” coupon. I subscribe to their emails for discount notifications.
Sometimes the contents of my long-awaited package come as a bit of a surprise. For example, I thought the tortoise-shell glasses would be obnoxiously huge. That’s what I wanted, because I sometimes get distracted when the frames of smaller glasses interfere with my peripheral vision. I thought if I got big ol’ retro glasses, like these…
…they’d solve the problem. Instead I ended up with glasses on the unfashionable end of fashion, making me look, as Hubby disdainfully pointed out, like a hipster. C’est la vie. Here’s my geeky little eyewear show:
There are a couple things to watch out for when ordering glasses online. First, make sure you ask the eye doctor to write down your pupillary distance (P.D.), because that determines how the prescription aligns your eyeballs with the lenses. Certain frames are optimal for certain P.D.s. On Zenni’s site, I uploaded my photo to “try on” frames, and I set my P.D. so I’m automatically prevented from seeing frames that won’t work for me. No need falling in love with something I can’t have, right?
My other bit of advice? Click on the larger image of any frames you like and READ THE DESCRIPTION. THOROUGHLY. I’m telling you this because I bought one pair of glasses that did not work for me, and I could have prevented the mistake if I’d just paid attention. They were “flex frame,” but what that actually meant was that the earpieces were made of plasticky-coated wire. It would have been fine except that the wire was so bendy I could never get the glasses to sit straight across my nose. They always skewed left to right, giving my eyes a really hard time focusing between lenses that were off-center. No fun. So spare yourself.
I’ve had the most luck with plastic frames. (I’ve never liked metal frames or anything with prominent hinges, as those tear up my hair when I slide the glasses up on my head–something I do often.)
Now back to the mailbox. Each order comes with its own collection of goodies. The glasses come in cases, though I recycle these and use my own favorite cases.
They also come with microfiber cloths, and I always keep those! I tuck them right in the case with the glasses. So much better than whatever shirt I might be wearing when it comes to removing smudges!
So, yeah, that’s how I save money on eyeglasses. And I don’t feel even a little guilty for wanting to update my frames every single year. It’s taken me three years of Zenni orders to add up to what that first full-retail year cost–and yes, I’m including shipping in that. (It’s only $5.00, no matter how much you order.) Are you starting to see my perspective yet…?