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Thread: Tips for Buying Prescription Glasses Online

  1. #1
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    Tips for Buying Prescription Glasses Online

    I've been buying glasses from Zenni online for awhile. Here's some things I've learned.
    1-It's easier than you'd think to be informed about your prescription and get what you want in eyewear.
    2- Get an eye exam from an Ophthalmologist not an Optometrist. Around here the exam price is the same but Optometrists sell glasses and they may not want to help you get the same thing they sell WAY cheaper.
    3- Most important, the tech person at my Ophthalmologists office was more than happy to answer my detailed questions about lenses for ordering online. With the tech's help I could sort out the sales and marketing from the facts.

    I've been very happy with Zenni's quality. The first pair I ever ordered were bifocals and it was an aha moment. They fit my head just right and I could see better right away. As good or better than all the local shops I got glasses at over the years at a fraction of the cost. One pair of RX sunglasses from Zenni didn't work out, but they were only $22 so I didn't bother to return them.
    Recently I went back to 2 local eyewear shops. I was going to try progressive lenses again after being very disappointed in the pair I got locally 18 years ago. I was thinking with progressives I may need the help of a local shop and was willing to pay more for them. One shop was very good at quoting prices, but couldn't tell me what exact brand or material the lenses would be. The other is good on details and OK on price. Most of my questions were unanswered by the local shops. So I went back to Zenni.
    I just ordered a pair of digital free form progressive lenses and a pair of bifocals in the exact same frame from Zenni. It's the same frame I've worn for 2 years with my old RX so I can test them all side by side. The total for both pairs is 1/5 the cost of a pair of basic progressives locally and Zenni has a better refund policy.

    I have no connection to Zenni other than being a satisfied customer. I'm happy to share my experience if anyone has questions.
    Last edited by Andrew Joiner; 02-20-2019 at 9:06 PM.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  2. #2
    Thanks for posting. I have considered it, but never did. Local shop I go to has prices that are getting ridiculous.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2019
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    New Jersey
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    Thank you for sharing this with the community, I am actually planning to replace my glasses as I feel like my eyesight is not as clear as before. Last time slip on the floor as I haven't seen the water splashes from my dog's drinkwell, but first I need to visit my ophthalmologist for consultation.

  4. #4
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    I have been happy with Zenni. I pay about $5.00 more to get the lens that are more refractive to save weight. They do not have much in safety glasses.
    Bill D

  5. #5
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    How does an online company fit bifocals or progressives? The key issue is where on the lens the transition is made from far correction to near. It seems to me that depends on how the glasses sit on my face, and how I hold my head. A hands-on optician can make that measurement. How does an online outfit do it?

  6. #6
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    All this advise is pure crap if you want to see well. An Ophthalmologist that is prescribing glasses is one that couldn't cut it doing eye surgery so is doing the job of an Optometrist. He is poorly trained for that job but is stuck doing that. Don't you want someone prescribing glasses with extensive training to do that job? Why go to someone that has much less training for that job? An eye surgeon that can't do eye surgery so is doing a job for which they had a brief overview instead of intensive training?

    And then, you want to go to some incompetent online supplier that is doing cut rate work and can't do the rest of the job to fit them? It is a guarantee of poor work.

    Most people just can't tell the difference and get a "good deal" on crap work. No wonder most people are basically blind. Don't fall for this nonsense. Find a good Optometrist and get a proper exam and get them to fit proper glasses and actually see properly. Expensive? Yes and worth every penny.

  7. #7
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    My eye doctor is an MD and not a quack. Medicare pays for everything but the refraction exam to get a prescription, which is $65. He doesn't sell glasses.

    I've been very happy with Zenni Optical. I've bought 9 pair there. All are for specialty applications .. everything from reading to magnifying to close work to computer screen distance to table saw distance to band saw distance to infinity. My glasses are stationed where I use them. $6.95 a pair makes this possible, more for sunglasses, bifocals or special frames for magnification. Others may find this confusing or cumbersome but I like glasses that are exact for the distance rather than progressives.

    By the way, I also have an expensive pair of progressives, with all the bells and whistles, bought from Pearl Vision, for general use but I find myself using them only when I leave the house.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    How does an online company fit bifocals or progressives? The key issue is where on the lens the transition is made from far correction to near. It seems to me that depends on how the glasses sit on my face, and how I hold my head. A hands-on optician can make that measurement. How does an online outfit do it?
    I had the same concern. I went to a local shop for many pairs of $300 bifocals over several years. They were made to the Rx of that shops Optometrist. I finally asked why is my desktop computer so blurry ? The optician whispered "I can make them for desktop focus, but don't tell the DR". It was like he was doing me a special favor and breaking some optometry rules. I got the computer bifocals and was happy.

    A few years later I needed a new distance Rx. I went to a new shop with an
    Ophthalmologist who does surgery and does sell glasses. He and his tech person answered questions vaguely about lenses and frames, but geared to what they sell for $300.
    Out of frustration, I went to Zenni as an experiment. If Zenni did a bad job I was willing to pay $26 for the experiment. They got it right for my eyes and needs the first time!
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg R Bradley View Post
    All this advise is pure crap if you want to see well. An Ophthalmologist that is prescribing glasses is one that couldn't cut it doing eye surgery so is doing the job of an Optometrist. He is poorly trained for that job but is stuck doing that. Don't you want someone prescribing glasses with extensive training to do that job? Why go to someone that has much less training for that job? An eye surgeon that can't do eye surgery so is doing a job for which they had a brief overview instead of intensive training?

    And then, you want to go to some incompetent online supplier that is doing cut rate work and can't do the rest of the job to fit them? It is a guarantee of poor work.

    Most people just can't tell the difference and get a "good deal" on crap work. No wonder most people are basically blind. Don't fall for this nonsense. Find a good Optometrist and get a proper exam and get them to fit proper glasses and actually see properly. Expensive? Yes and worth every penny.
    Greg I respect your experience. I value your posts on tools and lighting over the years.

    In my area the 2 Ophthalmologists I've seen both do surgery. One doesn't sell glasses one does.

    The 2 Optometrists I've seen don't do surgery just eye exams, they're in the shops that sell glasses.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonak Hawkins View Post
    My eye doctor is an MD and not a quack. Medicare pays for everything but the refraction exam to get a prescription, which is $65. He doesn't sell glasses.
    Either you have the wrong medicare or the wrong MD. Mine does a refraction exam once a year and medicare pays for it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    Either you have the wrong medicare or the wrong MD.
    Well, I'd certainly be interested to know which it is if there is a way to find out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yonak Hawkins View Post
    Well, I'd certainly be interested to know which it is if there is a way to find out.
    I can't be sure, but 5 minutes of googling suggests that Medicare never pays for refraction tests. My doctor must not be charging for it.
    I have no idea how common that practice is, or even if I am right.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I can't be sure, but 5 minutes of googling suggests that Medicare never pays for refraction tests. My doctor must not be charging for it.
    I have no idea how common that practice is, or even if I am right.
    I had a torn retina laser repaired 8 years ago. I woke up with a bunch of black dot floaters that blinking didn't help. My local eye surgeon saw me within an hour. He said I needed surgery within 24 hours. He could do it, but the best DR was 2 hours away. Since I could go blind I went to the best DR. I paid cash because I had 5K deductible insurance.

    For all my adult life I usually got new glasses when my frames broke. If I was really having less than clear vision I'd pay extra for the exam and a new RX. I had no idea back then of the difference of an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist. Many times the new RX and frames gave me worse or the same vision. "You'll get use to them", the high $ professional optical shop would say.

    Because I had the torn retina laser repaired I now need to have yearly exams and paid cash. In my area Ophthalmologists charge $90 for an eye exam and the eyeglass RX. Optometrists are also $90. Why not get the more thorough and detailed exam from an Ophthalmologist who has no interest in selling me glasses.

    That changed my view (literally) on eye exams. Since I had many friends getting great low cost eyeglasses at Zenni why not try it.

    Now I'm on Medicare and my recent exam by
    an Ophthalmologist was paid by insurance. The office charged $50 for the copy of the RX according to the receptionist. I'm happy to pay that.
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

  14. #14
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    Not recommend

    Progressive glasses can be very complex need parameters far beyond the prescription you get from the doctor.

    Look for serious shops as they will take lots of additional measurements that in their whole will make all difference of the world against "standard progressives" you can get from cheap flash shops or even Internet.

    Just as an example my own progressive glass supplier took more than a dozen additional measurements besides the ones at my doctor's specs.
    All the best.

    Osvaldo.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osvaldo Cristo View Post
    Progressive glasses can be very complex need parameters far beyond the prescription you get from the doctor.

    Look for serious shops as they will take lots of additional measurements that in their whole will make all difference of the world against "standard progressives" you can get from cheap flash shops or even Internet.

    Just as an example my own progressive glass supplier took more than a dozen additional measurements besides the ones at my doctor's specs.
    Hi Osvaldo,
    Have you tried online glasses?
    "Whether you think you can, or you think you canít - youíre right."
    - Henry Ford

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