Experiences of online glasses websites
June 29, 2004 2:02 PM   Subscribe

So I went to LensCrafters yesterday to get a new pair of glasses... [more]

...and had an absolutely horrible experience. I still don't have a new pair of glasses -- Lens Crafters seems to have a monopoly in my immediate area. I was curious to know if anyone has had any experiences with buying eyeglass frames online from sites like FramesDirect.com? I'd just love to walk back into LensCrafters, find a frame, and then order it online (with my new eye prescription faxed to the online retailer) for less money. Is this a viable alternative?
posted by jca to Society & Culture (15 answers total)
Check to see if they will even give you the perscription. Some states have laws that prevent you from getting your own perscription for eyglasses of contact lenses.
posted by internal at 2:26 PM on June 29, 2004

I would say provided you can find the frames and have the lenses made cheaper online, go for it, if you're satisfied with the fit in the first place.
posted by linux at 2:32 PM on June 29, 2004

I'd love to hear about your bad experience at LensCrafter as I'm considering getting a new pair of glasses from them.
posted by gyc at 2:42 PM on June 29, 2004

FWIW i've had pretty good experiences with lens crafters in the past. i think i've gotten two pairs of glasses from them in the past 4 years or so. both times i walked in with my prescription, picked a frame, and walked out with a pair of glasses an hour later
posted by rorycberger at 2:52 PM on June 29, 2004

Check to see if they will even give you the perscription. Some states have laws that prevent you from getting your own perscription for eyglasses of contact lenses.

that doesn't sound right... every time my prescription changes (pretty much every visit), my eye doctor gives me a little card to put in my wallet in case i need a new pair of glasses in an emergency. i can't imagine why this information would be kept from you. and isn't your prescription generally on the packaging that disposable contact lenses come in? I'm in california, so maybe we're just progressive or something, but this seems like pretty important information that everyone with corrective lenses should have easy access to.
posted by rorycberger at 2:57 PM on June 29, 2004

Its true, in some states you have no right to your own optic script.

But that doesn't stop you from asking before the visit if they will release the rx. Find another if they won't agree.

And FWIW, the whole eyglass industry is a festering band of thieves. How much do you think it costs to make eyeglass frames, anyways...
posted by Fupped Duck at 3:11 PM on June 29, 2004

Eyeglasses.com is great. They have nearly every frame in the known universe and have a cool feature that lets you upload a picture of yourself and "try on" the frames.
posted by 4easypayments at 3:17 PM on June 29, 2004

Incidentally, are the lens prices on FramesDirect.com listed per lens or per pair of lenses? I can't tell from the site.
posted by Coffeemate at 4:01 PM on June 29, 2004

i am also eagerly awaiting feedback from people who have used online eyeglasses services. I've always used lenscrafters in the past (usually i *needed* new glasses in about an hour, so i didn't have a heck of a lot of choice in the matter) but if I could save some ducats by buying online i definitely will.

i've always had good experiences with lenscrafters (been there twice), but they are a bit of a hard-sell, making it possible that you'll run into unpleasant salesmen. I don't know why companies think that it's good to have their employees be assholes. One bad experience and you'll never be back (and you'll tell all your friends about it, in addition, like i tell everyone not to even bother with 24 hour fitness because they're grade-a a-holes.)
posted by fishfucker at 5:17 PM on June 29, 2004

I just received a pair of prescription sunglasses I ordered from a Hong Kong based web site for dirt cheap. I'm pleased with them, but haven't worn them for an extended amount of time yet to really give them an endorsement.

What's funny is that I ordered the sunglasses about a week after I placed an order through a local department store for a daily-use pair. Unfortunately, the store didn't have a lab, so my order had to be sent out. Over a month has passed, and I still haven't received them. Well, I did, sort of... first pair of lenses were put in women's frames by mistake, and the second pair of lenses were so terrible I had to return them.

The only problem I have with buying online is that you really can't try them on and see exactly how they fit on your face. The glasses I got from Hong Kong aren't 100% perfect (maybe 98%; prescription is right on, style is just a touch off), but they cost about an eighth of the price of the glasses I'm wearing now, so ultimately, I'm satisfied.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:58 PM on June 29, 2004

What fucked-up states don't let you bring your own prescription? I guess the opthomologists just don't get as much work in those states. Anyway, Kansas and Washington are free-glasses-Rx states.
posted by bingo at 7:20 PM on June 29, 2004

MegoSteve - which site did you order your sunglasses from?
posted by Coffeemate at 7:52 PM on June 29, 2004

posted by MegoSteve at 8:23 PM on June 29, 2004

I thought it was federal law that you are entitled to get the pescription for which you pay. It used to be the practice that you did not get it most places. Any place I've gotten glasses has always given it to me (since 1977).

These online places, how do they know the precise measurements, which aren't usally a part of the prescription?

Prices for glasses vary a great deal between countries. I tend to break mine when on holiday, so I've found out by experience. Cheapest place so far was Budapest!
posted by Goofyy at 3:31 AM on June 30, 2004

Glasses prescriptions should be given to you when you leave the optometrist/opthamologist's chair, or at least before you leave the office. Contact prescriptions are a little more tricky, and the rules for them very widely from state to state.

One thing to be careful about when ordering glasses online is that you need measurements such as a PD or pupilary distance (the distance between your pupils so that he prescription is dead center where your pupils are) and depending on how bad your prescription is, you might also need an OC or ocular center measured which is how far up in the frame your eyes sit. This is especially important for people with very strong prescriptions and especially for people with a lot of astigmatism. Bifocals, both no-line or line bifocals are also measured this way. If either of these measurements are off, you won't be seeing as well as you could, and if your prescription is bad enough, it might even make you sick to your stomach.

(I used to work for a local competitor of Lens Crafters)
posted by mabelcolby at 10:10 AM on June 30, 2004

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