What you need to know when buying glasses online


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/26/what-you-need-to-know-when-buy.html


There is no way I would buy my glasses online.


I’ve never bought eyeglasses on-line since I’ve been satisfied with Costco optical, but I always have the DO write my PD on my script. I have to ask each time, and they are always surprised that I do, and even tell me that the optician can measure it, as if this least complicated measurement with a ruler is some sort of imposition. I really don’t get how leaving this critical, but simple to measure, data off of prescriptions became a tradition. It’s ridiculous. The omission seems like a way to partially get around the law that says DO’s have to give you your prescription without you even having to ask for it and can’t require you to buy glasses from them or charge you extra for not doing so.


As someone with a difficult prescription, who tends to have to go back for adjustments at least twice after receiving new glasses, it seems like buying online would be impractical. I wish I could, since it seems to be so much less expensive.


Yeah, my glasses are usually $400 a pair. But my insurance pays for it, so it’s not too bad.


I’ve been completely happy with Zenni Optical in the past for things like prescription sunnies. No idea what they’re like today but 5 years ago they were great for a bog standard prescription.


I dont have a bog standard prescription.


I grind my own lenses out of vintage Coke bottle bottoms, and fashion the frames out of possum femurs.


I imagine the risks of having things go wrong go up rapidly with varifocals and the like. :slight_smile:


Almost all US opticians send the frames you pick out to an outside lab for the lenses, so the added value you get from the in-store optician is mainly in the final adjustments. This seems like a small advantage compared to the extra cost and smaller selection of the local shop, not to mention that in the US you are probably getting frames from a greedy monopoly, Luxottica

I’ve tried several different online opticians, most are good about returns if something isn’t quite right, and some have very good quality frames. They’re so inexpensive it is worth a try, rather than simply discounting the idea altogether.


I’ve been very happy with Zenni in the last two years, for my simple prescription. One pair (out of 3) is a little creaky, like you can hear the plastic move, but for $9, I am not complaining. I also have a $50 pair from Zenni and they are perfect for what I need. (Very small lenses, so I can look under them for reading. Presbyopia is weird, and I’ll need bifocals in the next year or two, I’m just in between for now. Yay middle age.)

I will definitely buy from them again. Their site even saves my pupilary distance, which we measured with a ruler and a steady hand.


I don’t have a bog-standard prescription either. My eyeballs are scarred from surgery, altercations and accidents.

I have titanium wire frameless glasses with no-line bifocals and astigmatism correction from Zenni. No problems, good quality, superb price. Would buy again.

The one thing I didn’t get was expert adjustment for my face, which I think is very important for comfort. But I can go to the mall opticians when they aren’t busy and give a bored technician ten bucks to tune my glasses for me.


I’m happy with Zenni too. First time it was like 10 dollars. My last pair was 45, but it was a upgraded ‘hipster glasses’ frame with a magnetic sunglasses ‘snap on’.
Yeah. I did have to get a friend up measure the distance. Glasses are fine and much lighter than I thought.


Guys, you’re not seeing the big picture here. It’s Lifehacking. It must be awesome.




[quote=“Old, post:8, topic:93729, full:true”]
I grind my own lenses out of vintage Coke bottle bottoms[/quote]
Real men make their own glass from sand, which they make by crushing stone using only their bare hands.


You should be able to do most adjustments by yourself. And if it does not work well, you can always return the glasses for at least a partial refund.
Not sure about other places, but Zenni gives 100% store credit for returns; then you can use the credit to order glasses for a relative with a simpler prescription. I am really happy with their customer service.


Neither do I. I have a really strong prescription with astigmatism out the wazoo, and I have been ordering my specs through Zenni for more than a decade. Where I used to spend upwards of $400 for a pair of progressives, i can get them for around $120 from Zenni. The major downside as far as I’m concerned is that there is no fitting, but most optometrists will now fit them for free, or for a small fee.




I’ve been ordering from them for years. Still pretty good. And most of the other discount eyewear sites seem to be selling identical frames from the same Chinese factories, but charge a bit more.

But the problem I’ve run into with Zenni is since they restrict their frames to a certain range of PD’s I’m increasingly having trouble finding frames I like that will work with my PD and not be too small for my face. I have both a big head and small PD. Last time I rolled through Zenni they had retired most of the frames that I liked and would fit. So my options came down to the pair of glasses I’m currently wearing (which are too small for my face) and one other option. Which was frustrating.

So I opted to give one of the step up places a go.

It trivially easy with wire most wire frames. But its tricky with acetate frames. You’ve basically got to sip/soak the part your trying to adjust to soften it just a bit the bend and hold while it cools. It doesn’t really work all that well, but I’m not sure how much adjustment even the optometrist can get from that sort of frame.