Yours truly is a near-sighted Style Spy. (I can only spy what's very nearby, unless I'm wearing glasses or contacts.) I've been wearing corrective lenses since I was twelve years old. I came by it honestly -- both my parents were four-eyes, it was only a matter of time for me. I remember the first time I actually put on my glasses -- it was so wonderful to be able to see that I've never felt in the least resentful about them. Given that I've gotten increasingly near-sighted with time, I'm downright enamored of my eyewear these days. Thank god I wasn't born two or three centuries ago, or worse yet, two or three millenia. I would have totally been saber-toothed tiger lunch. I literally cannot see my hand at the end of my arm without my glasses on. (Okay, I can see it. I just can't count the fingers.) And no. I'm never going to have the Lasix thing. Because it's a laser. ON MY EYES. No, thank you. Plus, I'm already storming down the middle-aged hill toward bi-focals (there are readers scattered all over the house these days), so really, what's the point? I'd still need glasses half the time.
So I don't mind needing my glasses & lenses, and I don't even mind wearing them. (All this bitching & moaning about not being able to see the moment your eyes pop open in the morning bewilders me -- what's so great about being able to see before you've had coffee? And gee, does that reach over to the nightstand to pick up your glasses and put them on your head really interfere that much with the beginning of your day? 'Cause if it does, you need to roll back over -- you're obviously not getting enough sleep.) What I do mind? Is PAYING for them. Good googly-moogly, glasses are expensive!! The last pair I bought was at least five years ago and I got them at one of the mall places and I waited until they were having a half-price special and they were STILL about 200 bucks. I don't know anyone lately who's gotten out of an optician's office for less than $400 -- I have a friend who just got progressive bifocals and just his lenses were over $500! It's insane! I have literally thousands of small plastic items in my home that cost pennies to produce -- you cannot make me believe that my eyeglass frames are really worth $250. And contacts -- sheesh, I pay almost $30 a box at my optometrist's for a box of 6 lenses. (And I have a different prescription in each eye, so it adds up quickly, let me tell you.) They are little blobs of mostly water and some sort of polymer and they've been mass producing these things for how many years now? And they still want nearly 5 bucks a piece for them? Ya know -- I may not see so good, but my sniffer works juuuuust fine and that? Smells like a rip-off to me.
So a few weeks ago I was at a party and someone complimented a friend on her nifty eyeglasses and she told us something that got me aaaaaall excited. She got her eyeglasses online, and they were cheap. Not kinda cheap for glasses -- seriously cheap. Way less than I'd pay for dinner on an average Saturday night. And they were so cool! Apparently, a lot of people feel the way I do about spending so much money for their glasses, and there are several many discount eyeglass sites on the ol' Series of Tubes.
My friend recommended a site called Zenni Optical, and so I hot-footed it (hot-laptopped, really) over there as soon as I could. There was a bit of a delay because when I dug out my prescription I found that it did not have my pupillary distance on it, which you need to order glasses. (I solved this problem by asking the nice lady at the optical desk at Costco -- where, by the way, I'm now buying my contact lenses for about 6 bucks a box less than at my optometrist -- and she held a little thingamajig that looked like a Viewmaster up to my eyes and pushed a button and then wrote it down for me.) No kidding, friends, they have glasses on this website that start at EIGHT DOLLARS A PAIR. And yes, that is WITH lenses. Prescription lenses. I bought two pairs of glasses for just over $24, which included shipping. It took a bit less than three weeks for them to arrive, but arrive they did, in nice little hard-shell cases wrapped with dustcloths.
I got a pair of metallic purple wire rims:
and a pair of BRIGHT red plastic frames, just for fun.
See, these are the kind of glasses I'd love to have but never do -- BECAUSE THEY'RE SO DINGDONGED EXPENSIVE.
Now. These are not brilliant, high-quality glasses. Actually, the wire rims are pretty nice -- they feel pretty sturdy and have good springy-ness in the hinges. The red plastic ones have a heft that's roughly equal to a Scotch tape dispenser, but for eight bucks I'm really okay with that. The prescriptions are right -- I have no trouble seeing out of these glasses, they do not give me a headache or any other problems. And they're fun! Here -- see what you think:
The purple ones are better for wearing. The bridge of my nose is extremely narrow, so glasses with an adjustable nose piece are a good idea for me. Plus, these are just a little larger, so they give me better peripheral vision. That lack of peripheral vision is one reason I almost never leave the house in glasses -- I wear my contacts outside the house and my glasses in.
I also tend to like wire frames because they "disappear" more from my field of vision -- I don't notice them as much.
Unlike these bad boys:
But they're fun, aren't they? Again -- this particular pair aren't what you'd call sturdy. But ya know -- I'm not eight years old, I'm hardly ever on a trampoline, I put them on once and take them off once and that's it. I don't need titanium-reinforced, gale-force-wind-withstanding, crush-proof, survive-a-nuclear-blast glasses. I just need something to put in front of my eyes so I can see my television. They have more expensive frames on offer on this site and when the novelty of these has worn off I'll probably get some, but for the first run I went with cheap; and it was the best 24 dollars I've spent in a long little while.
I will also offer the caveat that my prescription is pretty straightforward -- single-vision lenses with one correction. (I'm very near-sighted, but I'm only near-sighted. No astigmatism or anything else.) I cannot speak to how well they'd handle anything more complicated than this. But, hey -- for the price it's really worth a try. I know my mom is planning to give them a whirl, and she's got a much more complicated scrip, so we'll see how that goes. It is a bit weird and risky-feeling to order glasses without trying them on, but they have very good photos of the frames, and very thorough measurements. I measured the glasses I already had and then went with frames that had similar numbers, and it worked pretty well, as you can see. I'm sure every optician in America will disagree with me on this, but I really feel okay about them. I need to get the earpieces on the purple ones adjusted a bit because they squeeze my head more than I'd like, but I'm thinking the nice lady at Costco is going to help me out with that the next time I go there to buy 17 pounds of coffee, enough toilet paper to make a bed out of, and sweet bell peppers by the bushel. (Costco cracks me up. I love it, but it cracks me up.)
So has anyone else tried one of these discount sites? If so, how was your experience?