I am in dire need of glasses. I have had my glasses for 3.5 years now! Though my prescription hasn't changed much at all, my lenses are way too scratched and it's starting to irritate me. But glasses are so expensive, aren't they? When my husband got his in August, we spent about $300 just on the glasses and lenses. I know that we're going to have to work mine into our budget soon, but if I could buy quality eyeglasses for myself, and somewhere cheap and affordable, then maybe it wouldn't have to be such a big expense for us.
Thankfully there is such a place! ZenniOptical.com is selling glasses at such a low price, and their glasses start at only $8 per pair. Crazy right? They claim to be able to bring such low costs to the consumer because they have almost no advertising budget; The glasses come to you factory direct, as there is no middleman. They also cut costs by only selling their own frames, and no other products. So you aren't going to find any Hanna Montana glasses there, as you would at Wal Mart.
You can find all types of frames, they have a large selection with goggles, children's, and tons of men's and women's styles. They have snap on sunglasses as well. There is a wide variety of choices for your lenses, including bi-focal, single-vision and photochromic.
If you have any doubt still, read the following article from the Chicago Tribune; The author gives ZenniOptical a great review, and a customer of ZenniOptical is also quoted in the article, saying that his glasses are perfect and that he hasn't had any issues at all.
I think that I am going to show this to my husband so I can go ahead and order my glasses. WalMart has my prescription, so perhaps I will head over there tomorrow and pick it up. I can certainly afford frames from ZenniOptical!
"Price ranges for glasses prove real eye-opener
BY GREGORY KARP, a personal finance writer for The Morning Call, a Tribune Co. newspaper in Allentown, Pa
July 22, 2007
Prescription eyeglasses are part medical product and part fashion accessory for the two-thirds of American adults who wear them at least occasionally. But no matter why you're buying a pair of specs, you're probably overpaying.
Americans spend $28.7 billion annually on vision products and services, according to the Vision Council of America. Eyeglass frames and lenses make up the largest portion, about $16 billion.
Many of the 147 million adult eyeglass wearers probably don't know they could be getting a better price because few shop around. Prices vary widely. People can pay more than $1,000 for a pair of glasses, while at least one Internet provider promises a pair for $8. An identical pair of eyeglasses costs from $178 to $390, depending on the optician or optometrist, according to research in seven U.S. cities by Consumers' Checkbook, a consumer information guide.
"There is big price variation from outlet to outlet for exactly the same lenses and frames," said Robert Krughoff, president of Consumers' Checkbook, found online at Checkbook.org. Moreover, service at some low-cost suppliers was rated quite good, he said.
The single most important consumer tip for buying eyeglasses is to relax. Inexpensive glasses pose no health risk to your eyes. Even a bad pair of glasses -- lenses, specifically -- won't give you an eye infection or permanently damage your eyes, although they could cause headaches until they are fixed.
So you should consider comparison shopping, as opposed to simply buying whatever your eye doctor has to sell. In fact, a 1978 Federal Trade Commission ruling called the Ophthalmic Practices Rules says you have a right to take your prescription anywhere to buy glasses. So you're not locked in to buying from your doctor, where prices are likely to be highest.
Still, it's true that people receive the best service from their neighborhood optician or medical-center eye doctor, according to a survey of 92,000 readers of Consumer Reports magazine.
The decision about buying glasses generally comes down to where you buy them. You should decide based on four criteria: price, service, selection and speed of delivery. The simpler your prescription, with normal measurements and no bifocals and trifocals, the better luck you're likely to have buying from a cheaper source, said Gregory Good, professor of clinical optometry at Ohio State University. As with most products, you'll want to know about warranties and return policies.
Here are categories of eyewear outlets, with tips for buying glasses. Next week, we'll talk about saving money on contact lenses.
DOCTORS AND INDEPENDENTS. If you're willing to pay more for glasses in return for good service, buy from your eye doctor or an independent optical shop. They are also likely to carry brand-name frames, which is largely a personal fashion choice.
But the secret about name-brand frames is companies such as Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren don't make the frames, Consumer Reports said. They just license their names to a regular frame manufacturer.
"You can eliminate the ultrahigh-cost frame by looking for a stylish frame that doesn't have a brand name attached to it," said money-saving expert Clark Howard, an Atlanta author and radio-show host.
Buying eyewear could include a trust factor that might be higher with your doctor or a neighborhood optician.
CHAIN STORES. If you're willing to pay to have glasses quickly, try a chain store, such a LensCrafters, which promises glasses in about an hour. "The advantage is you walk in and an hour later you walk out with your glasses," Howard said. "A lot of people will pay for convenience."
Be sure to receive the discounts you're eligible for. For example, a discount with AAA membership might be more valuable than using your employer vision insurance. If you're in no hurry, wait for discount specials that run during the Christmas holiday season when few people are looking to buy new eyeglasses, Howard said in his book "Clark's Big Book of Bargains: Clark Howard Teaches You How to Get the Best Deals."
WAREHOUSE CLUBS. If price is important, try a warehouse club. Costco Wholesale Corp. scored very high with Consumer Reports readers and Consumers' Checkbook findings. BJ's Optical, found in Eastern states, also scored well. For some warehouse clubs, you don't need a membership to buy glasses.
ONLINE. If price is paramount, try an Internet merchant. Howard recently bought glasses from Zenni Optical, where you can buy glasses online for $8. Howard had a few add-ons that raised the total price to $41, which is still a bargain. He wears the glasses daily. "I don't know how these people do it, but it's a steal," Howard said. "The glasses are perfect. And the feedback I've gotten from [radio] listeners is they have good customer service."
One advantage of ultracheap glasses is that even if everything goes badly with your transaction, you're not out a lot of money. Of course, you won't have an optician to adjust the frames so they're comfortable and to ensure bifocals are aligned properly with your eyes. Reviews of some online retailers are available at EyeglassRetailerReviews.com and GlassyEyes.blogspot.com.
You could also try a hybrid plan, where you buy frames online and take them to an optician to have lenses inserted. You'll have to judge whether the hassle is worth the savings.
No matter where you buy eyeglasses, view lens add-ons skeptically. You'll be offered a variety of lens materials and coatings.
For add-ons that you can test out, ask to see samples of glasses with and without the feature to determine whether it's worthwhile."