Eye glasses online?
January 18, 2009 10:08 PM   Subscribe

After reading this post: (http://3mew.wordpress.com/2006/11/10/eyeglasses-stores-are-for-suckers/) I'm thinking about buying new glasses online. What are some (online) places you'd recommend @ looking for glasses? Please include any tips and advice you may have.
posted by BoldStepDesign to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:23 PM on January 18, 2009

MetaFilter post about online glasses, follow-up MetaTalk post.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:23 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

The wife has bought multiple pairs of glasses from Zenni, with no problems at all. In addition to your regular prescription numbers, you will need your "Pupil Distance". You should be able to get this with your prescription from your optometrist, but if yours is a dick like my wife's was, you can have someone else measure the distance from center of one pupil to center of the other (in millimeters).
posted by Rock Steady at 10:28 PM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have been satisfied with buying glasses at Zenni Optical. They are really inexpensive and I've been wearing my glasses daily for almost a year now with no problems.

However, there are some warnings I can give you from personal experience....

1. My cousin ordered glasses from the site but he has really bad eyesight that requires very thick lenses. Zenni doesn't do any lens compression, so his glasses look like the bottoms of coke bottles.

2. Also, like most things, ordering online can be difficult because there's a big difference between looking at a product in real life and looking at a picture online. I ordered a second pair of glasses from them a few months back and really didn't like it. It's not Zenni's fault, but the frames on the picture seemed smaller than the clunky frames I actually got.

3. Finally, it takes a while for them to ship your goods. It took about 3 weeks for my glasses to get to me, if I remember correctly.

Like I said, I really like my Zenni glasses ($40 glasses FTW!) but there are some things you should be aware of before shopping.

PS, I'm pretty sure I first heard about Zenni through ask.metafilter. It might be worth doing a search for other budget glasses sites.
posted by carpyful at 10:32 PM on January 18, 2009

In regards to "Pupil Distance" I had mine done by my girlfriend and I measured my cousin's, both with no problems.
posted by carpyful at 10:34 PM on January 18, 2009

To piggyback on this discussion -- I have a lazy eye. Would this make it difficult for an online optometrist to get decent PD measurements? Would this condition require me to have the fitting done in person?
posted by jason's_planet at 11:05 PM on January 18, 2009

Both my parents have bought glasses from Zenni Optical and are very happy with the products. My sister got a pair that looks and feels pretty much exactly like my $600 Silhouette frames, including super light lenses, and she paid a total of less than $80 for it (I wasn't able to find the same model when I searched their website last; I wanted to buy it in a different color).

The different glasses always took about a week to arrive; Zenni made it very easy to change an already placed order when I once put in the wrong diopters for my dad.

Don't bother with the clip-on tinted shades, they're nothing at all like the real thing.
posted by halogen at 11:06 PM on January 18, 2009

I went to Frames Direct. I wanted a pair of D&G glasses that I tried on at a local store, which were priced at $342 AUD, and that wasn't even with lenses. I found (and ordered) the same pair on Frames Direct for $300 AUD including lenses and postage to Australia. They even called me to let me know when they were being sent... I think it took about two weeks, so I'd imagine it would be even cheaper if you were a local...!
posted by ryanbryan at 12:17 AM on January 19, 2009

I was super picky and looked at a lot of places to find the glasses I wanted.

First, check out Glassy Eyes. Sure he gets paid to do this, but he seems pretty unbiased and there are discounts to some of the sites mentioned here. Further, he reviews and posts reader reviews of other sites, which might be useful to you.

I had my friend measure my DP and it worked out just fine. Measure your glasses now so you have a comparison. If you're super nervous, just get the most barebones lenses you can and ship them back out for a refund or better lenses if they work for you.

jason's_planet - I have no idea. I'd contact the site directly, or maybe as the guy at Glassy eyes.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:59 AM on January 19, 2009

Oh, also it's easy to fit your glasses. You can either ask an glasses... store? emporium? to do it for you (mine did) or you can shove the ear piece in a cup of hot water and bend it as necessary.
posted by OrangeDrink at 1:20 AM on January 19, 2009

4th-ing zenni. I've ordered several pairs, as have a number of co-workers. I suggest getting a second pair from the $8 range for a spare, as they waive shipping for two or more pairs.
posted by bystander at 1:48 AM on January 19, 2009

I bought my vintage eyeglass frames on eBay. And I was able to exchange them after trying them on and finding they didn't fit. Kind of expensive but I found what I was looking for there and now they're mine.
posted by Restless Day at 5:05 AM on January 19, 2009

Just make sure you get your pupillary distance (PD) correct. I ordered glasses online from Zenni after measuring mine with a ruler at home, and it just wasn't quite there (everything looked a bit distorted side-to-side), so I never wear them. I just got a new prescription this weekend, though, and made sure to ask the techs there to measure my pupillary distance for me with that little box they haveā€”so I'm probably going to be trying this again soon.
posted by limeonaire at 5:53 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Definitely get your PD correct. I bought a very expensive pair of Smith sports glasses with rx because I knew I would be wearing only the one pair for a year, and they were worth it: Sportsvision was the company. In my case, my regular (very very good) eyewear shop didn't stock anything like I wanted, and were glad to help make sure I had the right measurements.
One specific note: my Smiths have a very strong curve, and when I first put them on I thought I'd made a disastrous mistake--but after 24 hours I felt like that cool character in the Gibson novel with lenses welded into her face. Now I have to be careful not to fall asleep in them.
posted by Mngo at 6:03 AM on January 19, 2009

I did this last year, after wearing the same pair of glasses for 15 years. It took a couple tries, but I got a pair I really like.

I bought 4 pairs for ~$200 US. I feel like I'm still ahead, plus I have a few spares.

Had good experience with Zenni.
posted by KenManiac at 6:36 AM on January 19, 2009

I recently tried ordering a pair of rimless glasses from Optical4Less (for a total of around $46 with coupon) and have been very pleased. (For rimless frames they will fashion lenses in one of twenty different general shapes to your specifications; my lens dimensions were precise to the millimeter.) EyeglassRetailerReviews.com also provides reviews and coupons for some online retailers.
posted by yz at 6:59 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding looking stuff up on glassyeyes.

I've bought (quickly counts) ten pairs online in the past three years, with three more on the way. Yes, I have a bit of a problem. That being said, I've spent under three hundred dollars on all of them (less than one pair at sears would have cost, and many of them are transitions lenses), and the prescription for each one has been spot on. I've purchased from global eyes, goggles4u, and zenni optical. I keep returning to zenni optical again and again because they have the most unusual funky plastic frames. They've recently instituted order tracking, which I think is terrific. My new pairs should be here in a few days.

My advice would be to order three or four pairs if your prescription allows it. With this many pairs, if you don't love the fit of one you're likely to like another pair just as well. This is the biggest complaint about buying glasses online that I've heard from friends after I recommend they try it--they only buy one pair, and it doesn't look perfect, and they're used to only buying one pair of glasses so why buy another? The affordability of buying eye glasses online makes it a bit like buying blue jeans via ebay--there's a certain risk that the cut and color won't be perfect, but aim for "close enough" and purchase a variety of things and you're more likely to be happy with it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:41 AM on January 19, 2009

I bought prescription sunglasses from heavyglare.com a few years ago. They specialize in putting prescription lenses into wrap-around frames, which most places will not do (or will do badly). I'm very satisfied with them. They were decidedly not cheap (I paid around $300 for the pair, IIRC), but worth the cost IMO.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:46 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

If I may piggy-back a little. I was just showing my mom some of the frames because she's thinking of getting new glasses soon, and she wants to know: How well does it work buying progressive lenses online? She's worried about measurements that she says they do in the store when she buys the lenses -- not just between pupils, but vertical measurements related to where to put the [non]line between the distance and reading portions of the classes.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2009

I would not buy progressives online. They need a lot of adjustment, and they're very easy to screw up. I also wouldn't buy them at a chain or anywhere local I didn't have a lot of confidence in.

I would buy frames online and take them to any reputable optician for the lenses.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:49 PM on January 19, 2009

I'm a very blind habitual contact wearer that stepped on my only pair of backup glasses.

So I ordered a set from Zenni for a decent price. My eye doc only gave me a prescription. I had to get some help to figure out my pupil distance (they ask, and it matters). I called them and asked about what to do if I'm blind and I don't want huge lenses on tiny frames; the trick is to get a higher index #. It adds to the cost with each increase; I only got the middle of 3 options.

I can't wear mine day to day because they're so strong they fatigue my eyes after just a few minutes of wear. I'm note sure if this is b/c of the strong prescription or the high index or something else. I also hate to not have peripheral vision. I'll stick with the Acuvue Oasys.
posted by ijoyner at 1:57 PM on January 19, 2009

Oh, and from getting the middle of 3 index options on titanium frames, the lenses only stick out a little bit on the outside sides, and possibly a little next to the nose.
posted by ijoyner at 1:59 PM on January 19, 2009

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