November 1, 2009

Zenni Optical

GUEST POST by JERRY (Shelly's husband):

I've worn glasses for over thirty years.  Wow, I feel old!  At this point eyeglasses are an essential part of who I am.  I realize that sounds silly, but when you have had such an obvious accessory for so long it just comes to be part of your identity.  People have asked me about getting contact lenses, but I wonder if this would change me in some very real way. 

So as a pretty much lifelong eyeglass wearer, I am always on the lookout for a deal on glasses.  Well, it appears the online commerce revolution has finally come to the corrective eyewear industry in the form of Zenni Optical.  Zenni is an online only retailer of prescription glasses and general eyewear.  They have complete single vision lenses including frames starting at the incredibly low price of $6.95.

I was a little nervous about such low prices.  Would the quality be acceptable?  Would the frames fall apart in shipment?  I recently received my first pair of glasses from Zenni and for the most part it has been a positive experience.

My total cost for new glasses was $25.90 including shipping.

I picked out a stylish (at least Shelly thinks so) pair of half-rim frames very similar to my old pair of glasses that were $8.00.  Zenni does consider certain prescriptions to be extra strength.  The order page on their website will tell you if your prescription is considered extra strength.  These prescriptions have an additional $9.00 charge.  While this more than doubles the $8.00 glasses, $17.00 is still quite an improvement over typical retail prices.  I have one of those prescriptions that is usually greeted by a "wow" when someone at an eyeglass store puts in my order, so my glasses were subject to the $9.00 charge. The total cost for my glasses was $17.00 and shipping and handling was $4.95.

The other $3.95 came from the purchase of some clip-on sunglass lenses that I added to my order.  Unfortunately, Zenni hasn't yet applied their revolution in eyewear to the area of clip-on lenses.  These clip-ons are stereotypical of what you would think of when you hear the word.  They are larger than my frames, so they stick out on either side.  They also have two black clips where they attach to my glasses.  I think these will have to be put away until I start driving a Cadillac, collecting Social Security, and eating supper at 4:00.  Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

So for my $25.90 I got a complete pair of glasses, the clip-ons, a Zenni optical lens cloth, and a space-age looking plastic case.

The frames available at Zenni seemed to be similar to what you would find at most retail eyeglass sellers.  The ordering process requires you to fill out the detailed information from your prescription, so when you see your eye doctor, be sure to get a copy to take home.  There are two pieces of information that you will also need that you don't normally find on your prescription.  The first is the distance between your pupils.  You can measure this at home by following the directions at Zenni's website, or you can ask your eye doctor for this information as this is something they measure during a routine eye exam.  The second item is the size of your frames.  The frames on Zenni are listed by their dimension in millimeters.  I wasn't sure what size frames I needed, so I measured my current frames and could see that they matched many of the frames available on Zenni.

Purchasing glasses online means that you have to adjust them yourself at home.  I used a guide we found online to help with the adjustment and so far I have to say they fit pretty well.

While the quality of the frames will be determined by how well they hold up over time, the quality of the lenses doesn't seem to be an issue.  My prescription had a change this time and I could see things more clearly from the moment I put the new glasses on.

So with the exception of the $3.95 I wasted on the ridiculous clip-on sunglasses I am very happy with my Zenni Optical experience so far.  I will keep you up to date if anything changes or if I have any problems in the future.  If you have any questions, let me know.  If you wear glasses and you like saving money give Zenni Optical a try.


Shelly said...

You can have them adjusted at the eye doctor's office or any eye glass retailer... I'm guessing some places would do it for free. It can't hurt to ask!

Anonymous said...

I love this website thats where i got mine, its better than paying alot at an eyeglass store, for what you pay there you can get three pairs of glasses. I would reccomend to a friend. And most places will fix your glasses.