Author Topic: Tips for buying glasses online?  (Read 1352 times)

shelivesthedream

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Tips for buying glasses online?
« on: June 20, 2018, 01:37:42 PM »
I've recently had an eye test and, armed with my prescription, am about to venture into the world of cheap online glasses. What tips do you have for making sure I get something that fits and works?

Slee_stack

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 01:54:42 PM »
I jumped in blindly (har har) and basically uploaded my Rx to eyebuydirect.com

There's coupons out there that make a first set of frames with basic lenses about $30 delivered.  Not too much risk.

I think the glasses I received were pretty nice too.

Dave1442397

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 01:55:22 PM »
Check Yelp reviews, if possible. Also, check Costco before you go online - you may find them almost as cheap, and you have somewhere to go if there's a problem.

Physicsteacher

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2018, 02:00:11 PM »
If you currently wear glasses, check the measurements for frame width and temple length. Picking an online pair with similar dimensions will help ensure your new ones aren't too big or too small for your head. I've had good luck with Zenni for what it's worth.

dcheesi

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 02:00:55 PM »
One key thing that a lot of optometrists leave out of the prescription is your Pupillary Distance, which is literally the distance between the center of your left and right eyes. This is used to position the center of the lens curvature appropriately on your face, and it's especially important for bifocals.

Ideally you would have asked for this number when you were getting your Rx, but if you don't have it, you can generally estimate the value with the right tools. Online places like Zenni often include a little eye-ruler for this purpose in their shipments, but for my very first order, I just used an ordinary ruler and a mirror to get a close enough value.

toganet

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2018, 02:10:44 PM »
I recently bought 4 pair of glasses* from Zenni Optical (zennioptical.com).  I recommend them with some caveats.  (If you want to save $5 click my referral link)

They have a pretty wide frame selection, and lots of options for coatings, tint, lens types, etc. Generally the site works pretty well, you can upload a picture of yourself to "try on" frames, etc.  If you have a minor prescription with bifocal or prism, I would say go for it -- you will save $$ and get some cool frames.

I have a very strong prescription, including bifocals.  I don't recommend ordering complex prescriptions online from anyone, you are rolling the dice on whether you will be able to see well without eyestrain or headaches.  That being said, 1 of the two came out very usable, and the other needed to be corrected (which they covered under warranty).

Customer service-wise they have been excellent.  I recently left one of the pairs (my favorite sunglasses) in my wife's van on a very hot day.  The coating on them crazed, making them unusable.  Zenni asked for a picture of the damage, and replaced them right away, no questions asked.

Overall I would order from them again only for single-vision glasses or perhaps driving sunglasses.

Disclaimer:  I used to be an optician so I might have a different understanding/perspective here.

*Why did a supposedly-mustachian person like myself buy 4 pairs of glasses?  Because my forecast of what we'd spend in 2017 in our LPFSA was WAY off, and I needed to use the money or lose it.

rubybeth

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 02:17:49 PM »
One key thing that a lot of optometrists leave out of the prescription is your Pupillary Distance, which is literally the distance between the center of your left and right eyes. This is used to position the center of the lens curvature appropriately on your face, and it's especially important for bifocals.

Ideally you would have asked for this number when you were getting your Rx, but if you don't have it, you can generally estimate the value with the right tools. Online places like Zenni often include a little eye-ruler for this purpose in their shipments, but for my very first order, I just used an ordinary ruler and a mirror to get a close enough value.

Came here to say this. It's no good if PD is messed up, so just ask them to measure it. An optician can measure it, doesn't need to be an optometrist. You could walk into any vision care center and they should be able to measure pupillary distance for you in a minute or two.

toganet

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 02:19:43 PM »
A tip for measuring PD accurately by yourself:

You will need:
non-permanent marker
ruler (millimeters)
glasses or a pair of frames with blanks in them

For distance PD:
While wearing the glasses, choose a spot somewhere in the distance and focus your eyes on it.  While staring at that spot, bring the tip of the marker up in front of one eye (in front of your glasses).  Position the marker so that it exactly obscures the point you are staring at.  You may find it helpful to open and close your eyes individually to narrow it down.  Slowly bring the marker toward your glasses and make a mark at the spot you are looking through.  Repeat with the other eye.  Then, remove the glasses and measure the distance between the centers of these dots.

For near PD:
Choose a spot at your comfortable reading distance (~18 inches). Repeat the above procedure, making marks on each lens at the spot you are looking through.  Measure the distance and record that as your "near PD."

In general, it can be tough to get an accurate measurement of your own PD.  Best bet is to ask your optometrist to right it on your prescription, or ask the optician (who usually measures that) to share it with you.  Don't be surprised if they bristle -- they will know why you want it, and feel somewhat threatened.  They will also feel vindicated if you come complaining about the crappy glasses you bought online.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 02:20:10 PM »
What kind of prescription would you call very strong? I'm around -4.5, if I recall correctly, but don't use bifocals or varifocals, but I do wear them all the time (obviously, otherwise I'd struggle to do anything!)

toganet

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 02:21:45 PM »
What kind of prescription would you call very strong? I'm around -4.5, if I recall correctly, but don't use bifocals or varifocals, but I do wear them all the time (obviously, otherwise I'd struggle to do anything!)

I'm at -9.5/-9.0 with a +2 add.  Basically blind without my glasses, but my sense of smell is amazing!

Shinplaster

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 02:42:21 PM »
What kind of prescription would you call very strong? I'm around -4.5, if I recall correctly, but don't use bifocals or varifocals, but I do wear them all the time (obviously, otherwise I'd struggle to do anything!)

That's pretty much my prescription, although I also have bifocals.  I will add a #1 to everyone recommending Zenni.   I took the measurements off my old glasses (as stated above, the lens width, temple length, etc. is usually on the inside of an arm), looked for ones that were similar to ones I knew looked good on me, and ordered them.   I've had several pairs from them, and all have been excellent.  No problem with the bifocals lining up correctly either.   I suspect mine have actually been made in Canada, not China,  since they have all shipped from Mississauga or Burlington, Ont.   My latest pair arrived a few weeks ago - total price for stainless steel frame with spring hinges, bifocals, transitions (darken in sunlight) and finger print resistant was $80US, or about $100CAN.  I couldn't even get the frames for that here.

The only issue I have had with Zenni is they have reduced the number of glasses that fit a smaller face.  Their customers must be developing ginormous heads, because the width of some the glasses is ridiculous.

I used to also recommend Goggles4U, but the last pair I got from them were not correct.  I didn't know until I saw my optometrist for a routine check - he said one lens was perfect, but the other was not.  Not alarmingly wrong (hence why I didn't know), but still.  He doesn't care where I get them, but does want them to be correct.   : )

rubybeth

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2018, 11:05:28 AM »
Two other things to consider:

1) do you like glasses that have nose pads?
2) do you like spring hinges for your frames?

I have had problems ordering online and knowing how things are going to feel. I dislike glasses that don't have nose pads, because they are less adjustable to my face. Also, I need spring hinges or my glasses get out of whack quite frequently from reading in bed. I wasn't able to find very cheap glasses that have these features. Think about what you like about your glasses and what you don't.

Shinplaster

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2018, 11:18:42 AM »
Two other things to consider:

1) do you like glasses that have nose pads?
2) do you like spring hinges for your frames?

I have had problems ordering online and knowing how things are going to feel. I dislike glasses that don't have nose pads, because they are less adjustable to my face. Also, I need spring hinges or my glasses get out of whack quite frequently from reading in bed. I wasn't able to find very cheap glasses that have these features. Think about what you like about your glasses and what you don't.

I also need nose pads.  My bridge is ridiculously small (15mm), so wayfarer or all plastic glasses end up down around my chin.  My latest ones from Zenni have nose pads, plus spring hinges.   They are available, just not a large selection to choose from.   I regularly complain to Zenni about that - a few years ago, the selection was much better.   I have learned to look at the men's frames too - they have many more stainless/spring hinges/nose pad ones, and some are narrow enough for smaller faces.

okcisok

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2018, 05:12:39 PM »
I have a $14 pair from goggles4u that are still going strong about 8 years later. Probably because I rarely wear them--contacts all the way!

So very important what a previous poster said about what you use them for/how you use them. Mine are strictly for wearing in case of emergency (like when the cat knocks a ceramic bowl onto the floor in the middle of the night and it shatters and you're barefoot & blind trying to figure out what the hell just happened?!?!)

If you do order online, check a rebate site first. I love Top Cash Back, but there's also eBates and others similar. With a quick check, I saw TCB is offering 1% back on Zenni and 15% on goggles4u. If you don't already have a TCB account, here's my link to get $5 to start https://www.topcashback.com/ref/member18366016930.

I didn't event think to have my optometrist check out my online specs, so I'll do that at my next appointment.

dcheesi

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2018, 08:58:02 AM »
The only issue I have had with Zenni is they have reduced the number of glasses that fit a smaller face.  Their customers must be developing ginormous heads, because the width of some the glasses is ridiculous.
Funny, I have the same/opposite problem --very few styles that fit my huge head! Maybe they're just reducing size variation overall?

EDIT: Looks like they've recently revamped their lineup. I can see what you mean now; there are actually several nice frames on there now that are probably too big even for me!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 09:03:16 AM by dcheesi »

ketchup

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2018, 09:48:51 AM »
I've had good luck with Zenni.  I got two pairs about 18 months ago for about $35 total, one pair being one of their super-cheap frames.  The super-cheap ones are definitely more flimsy but they do the job as a backup pair.  The other "nicer" pair has been my daily driver since then and going strong.  My prescription is fairly mild.

They did take a few weeks to arrive, and you have to measure your pupillary distance yourself, but that's not too difficult with a mirror and a ruler.

kimmarg

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2018, 03:54:09 PM »
A tip for measuring PD accurately by yourself:

You will need:
non-permanent marker
ruler (millimeters)
glasses or a pair of frames with blanks in them

For distance PD:
While wearing the glasses, choose a spot somewhere in the distance and focus your eyes on it.  While staring at that spot, bring the tip of the marker up in front of one eye (in front of your glasses).  Position the marker so that it exactly obscures the point you are staring at.  You may find it helpful to open and close your eyes individually to narrow it down.  Slowly bring the marker toward your glasses and make a mark at the spot you are looking through.  Repeat with the other eye.  Then, remove the glasses and measure the distance between the centers of these dots.

For near PD:
Choose a spot at your comfortable reading distance (~18 inches). Repeat the above procedure, making marks on each lens at the spot you are looking through.  Measure the distance and record that as your "near PD."

In general, it can be tough to get an accurate measurement of your own PD.  Best bet is to ask your optometrist to right it on your prescription, or ask the optician (who usually measures that) to share it with you.  Don't be surprised if they bristle -- they will know why you want it, and feel somewhat threatened.  They will also feel vindicated if you come complaining about the crappy glasses you bought online.

This poster said to measure the distance between the two dots - that measures the total pupilary distance but does not take into account and variation between left and right. If you don't specify left vs right you'll get them each as distance/2 and guess what? Many people aren't symmetric left/right. My Left PD is 1mm more than my right PD, and at -9.5 it makes enough difference to make me nauseated.

Also  be sure you know what lenses you want. not all of them carry the lightest 1.74 high index and some won't do a Prisim lens.

letired

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2018, 04:46:42 PM »
+1 to having someone else get your PD if at all possible.

I'm in the -4 range, and the pair of prescription sunglasses I ordered were slightly off. They were wearable, but I could feel it every time I switched glasses. I later got a pair from Costco that was very reasonably priced and were measured perfectly.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2018, 04:52:45 PM »
I got the most expensive pair I liked on Zenni.com, with protective coating and blablabla, $65 total. I followed their instructions to get my PD, then had my wife double check to make sure I wasn't widly off the mark.

Very happy customer.

nalor511

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2018, 05:16:30 PM »
I've used Goggles4U, Zenni Optical, GlassesShop, and EyeBuyDirect. I like EyeBuyDirect the best because they have a 14-day no questions asked return policy (send them back for exchange/refund for any reason, they pay shipping), and a 1-year quality guarantee (replacement warranty with the same pair or another pair if they break or fail).

None of the other places have such a good warranty or return policy. I've used the warranty. Zenni will refund half your money (barf), and G4U/GS will give you a refund if you are quick/pushy, but they don't like to do it.

I highly recommend if you have Rimless glasses, to upgrade to at least 1.6 index lenses, because 1.5/1.57 index is really fragile when drilled for Rimless. Best of luck.

civil4life

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2018, 07:39:13 PM »
I have used both Zennia and Goggles4u.  They work for me.  I usually get the cheapest ones available.  I have a fairly mild prescription.  Goggles4u regularly has deals to get basic glasses for $10.

VeggieTable

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2018, 12:19:21 PM »
I used EyeBuyDirect for my last pair of glasses. I think I paid $20 total, including some kind of upgraded lens. Frames were $9. I don't have complicated eyes (no astigmatism, etc), so for me it's just fine. My husband wanted glasses that were fit perfectly for him so he bought his through an optician at the optometrist's office. I've been very happy with mine, and I like that if I want to order more to have variety it's super cheap. They definitely aren't as high-quality as other ones I've had that were $$$ but for $20 I'm not complaining.

Padonak

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2018, 01:22:37 PM »
ptf

Runner5

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2018, 01:29:39 PM »
I used Glasses Direct (UK) a few months ago to buy some prescription sunglasses (second best purchase this year so far after bluetooth headphones <3). If you go with them you will be asked to either use their app to measure your face if you have an iphoneX, or to mark your identity as a plebian by sending them a photo of your face with a store card or similar stuck on your forehead, so that they can measure the distance between your pupils. I wish I were joking.

I can't remember the halcyon days of only having a -4.5 prescription and how much the lenses needed to be thinned, but I'm at -5.5 and -6.0 now, and there were only certain frames that I could get without having to pay the mega-thinned, super-repellent-of-everything lenses. It might be worth you dropping them an email with your prescription and asking them to advise what frames would work without / with minimal thinning, or whether you'd need it on your prescription.

Mikila

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2018, 03:07:28 PM »
Recipe for success in Buying Eyeglasses online
You will need:

Your prescription
Your pupillary distance
A picture of just your face, level and with your eyes looking forward and your hair not obscuring your face, uploaded to the shopping website of your choice (I used Zenni)
An idea of the kinds of lenses you typically buy, if they work well for you.  Ex. I use polycarbonate with the anti-scratch

Have fun "trying on" eyeglasses! 

maizeman

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2018, 03:26:08 PM »
I've ordered from both zenni and eyebuydirect in the past. At equivalent price points, I like the eyebuydirect glasses just a little bit more in terms of their apparent build quality/durability (YMMV), but in my experience zenni has more total selection and more options at lower price points than even the lowest end options on eyebuydirect.

Really cheap options are nice for backup glasses, or trying out weird things (e.g. I have a $13 pair of glasses with the cheapest, narrowest frames I could find on zenni specifically because they're much more comfortable to inside VR googles than my regular glasses).

toganet

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2018, 12:30:54 PM »
A tip for measuring PD accurately by yourself:

You will need:
non-permanent marker
ruler (millimeters)
glasses or a pair of frames with blanks in them

For distance PD:
While wearing the glasses, choose a spot somewhere in the distance and focus your eyes on it.  While staring at that spot, bring the tip of the marker up in front of one eye (in front of your glasses).  Position the marker so that it exactly obscures the point you are staring at.  You may find it helpful to open and close your eyes individually to narrow it down.  Slowly bring the marker toward your glasses and make a mark at the spot you are looking through.  Repeat with the other eye.  Then, remove the glasses and measure the distance between the centers of these dots.

For near PD:
Choose a spot at your comfortable reading distance (~18 inches). Repeat the above procedure, making marks on each lens at the spot you are looking through.  Measure the distance and record that as your "near PD."

In general, it can be tough to get an accurate measurement of your own PD.  Best bet is to ask your optometrist to right it on your prescription, or ask the optician (who usually measures that) to share it with you.  Don't be surprised if they bristle -- they will know why you want it, and feel somewhat threatened.  They will also feel vindicated if you come complaining about the crappy glasses you bought online.

This poster said to measure the distance between the two dots - that measures the total pupilary distance but does not take into account and variation between left and right. If you don't specify left vs right you'll get them each as distance/2 and guess what? Many people aren't symmetric left/right. My Left PD is 1mm more than my right PD, and at -9.5 it makes enough difference to make me nauseated.

Also  be sure you know what lenses you want. not all of them carry the lightest 1.74 high index and some won't do a Prisim lens.

Thank you for pointing this out, that is an important point.

Catbert

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2018, 03:21:57 PM »
In theory Warby Parker will compute you PD based on a photo.  You hold a card with a magnetic stip up to your face and snap a photo.  Magnetic strips (credit cards, ATM cards, Costco, etc) are all the same length.  I say "in theory" becuase I've yet to submit a photo they were able to use.  I think my problem is that neither my head nor the magnetic strip are straight enough
I can't tell you if they measure single or dual PD.
 

shelivesthedream

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2018, 08:17:43 AM »
Ooh, I did it! I got my PD from Specsavers where I recently had my eye test and ordered one set of normal glasses with lens upgrades and one "free" set of sunglasses from GlassesDirect for a total of 109.55. I chose the frames by trying some on in Boots and comparing the measurements of the ones that fit best listed on their website. (And the GlassesDirect frames actually tick ALL of my style boxes!)

Mon€yp€nny

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2018, 12:56:57 PM »
My husband saw the eye doctor in the hospital again and asked to check his glasses. Couple of weeks ago, he had a bad ulcer in his eye. He could not wear his contact lens and needed glasses asap. Charlie Temple delivers in 24 hours and you can call their optometrists for advice.  The website and the two optometrists we spoke said you can easily translate a contact lens prescription to a prescription for glasses. You just add 0.25, they said.

The eye doctor said she was shocked glasses are sold to people that way. My husband is tired and has headaches  for weeks now cause his new glasses are wrong for him.
So husband is ordering new glasses in a normal store on Saturday and Charlie Temple is getting their crap back.

Evgenia

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Re: Tips for buying glasses online?
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2018, 04:09:23 PM »
I just want to thank this thread for its astute, collective guidance in eyeglass shopping. My husband has a pretty serious prescription and has never gotten away from the optometrist office for less than about $400/pair. We used www.39dollarglasses.com and he now has a pair of prescription sunglasses he's wanted forever, for about $70 after shipping ($25 less than our comparison shopping at Costco). Thank you, this thread!