Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Longer Sceptical about Online Spectacles


I am wholly converted to ordering glasses online (that is, spectacles, not "tink tink" glassware).

I have known for some time of the great NZ optometrist robbery, but was reminded of how this bothered me when I had my eye exam some time ago. (I hadn't had my eyes looked at for 7 years, and they said I couldn't keep re-ordering contact lenses without having someone see me. I decided this was fair.)

"So, about how much will glasses cost me, now that I've had an exam?" I enquired, bracing myself for the response, but resolving to reveal nothing in my reaction.

"Well, that all depends on the frame, but if you want a non-reflective coating, and a mid-price-range frame, you're looking at approximately $450.00." I had just swiped my card to pay $70.00 for these folk to ascertain my needs, and even though I had mentally budgeted a similar amount, seeing the receptionist's lips form this dollar amount caused me to tip my head sideways.

"Hmmmm," was all I mustered. I smiled, left, and upon arriving home, promptly emailed my dear sister. I knew Mariah had recently ordered some glasses online, and although I'd been skeptical initially, I decided it was time to explore options.

She recommended

I requested my prescription information from my optometrist, and began shopping online.

When I saw the prices, I decided I could afford to order three pairs, and even if only one pair looked decent, I'd still be paying less than a quarter of what I otherwise would.

My three pairs arrived today.

And I love all three.

My old pair are an abomination to me now.

Why are NZ optometrists still selling glasses, I ask you?

I think the three misconceptions preventing more people from taking advantage of ordering glasses online are:
  1. Lack of knowledge - they just don't get how easy and cheap it is / don't know it's possible / don't have access / it hasn't occurred to them etc.
  2. Lack of faith - "real life" optometrists are professionals, and eye care should be taken seriously; ordering glasses online somehow compromises quality of care.
  3. Lack of confidence and control - "I need to try the glasses on".
My responses:
  1. You can get glasses from $8.00 a pair at a range of sites, I have found just one that's worked for me and my sister They arrived at my door a week and a half later. It was easy.
  2. My "real life optometrist" still checked me out and supplied my prescription. Making the glasses to order (in almost all cases) is done out-of-house anyway! I am just placing the order myself and saving the mark-up. My prescription arrived 100% correct, and the glasses' width and temple length (the arm over your ear) is just right, because I took those measurements from my now-abominable pair of glasses.
  3. Number three was my biggest hesitation. 95% of what I spotted, "Oooo-ed" at, and tried on at the optometrist didn't look swell. But I have tried on enough pairs of glasses to know the basic shape I need. Based on this, I checked what I was ordering wasn't too wide or narrow for my face, and scored 3/3! Plus, for $8.00-25.00 each, I can afford to buy more than one pair to up my chances of success.
In summary:

I spent $75.00 and bought three pairs of glasses I love. I have choices now! Mariah bought $8.00 pairs and so saved even more. I had no qualms about buying some of the "finer" options, because frankly, it's still dirt cheap compared to buying them in person.

The only problem now, is that I want to go back to the site and order more.
Glasses could be the new shoes.

*Fyi - the glasses pictured are the three I purchased; pair 1 in black, pair 2 as is, and pair 3 in clear-silver.

  • Since sharing this post, I've received glowing reports about another online glasses provider;
  • Both Zenni Optical and 39 Dollar Glasses are in USD.


  1. Love it! I am going to check this OUT!

  2. WOW!!! I am totally checking this out. I chose a 'cheap' store for glasses last time and within 12 months one arm snapped off and they couldn't even replace the frame because it was out of stock.... bearing in mind the 'cheap' store adverstises 2 for $199 and I paid almost $500... the extras add up!!!
    The frames you have chosen are great AND glasses are totally the new shoes!!!

  3. Oh and dont get me started on the $500 we paid for glasses for my 8 year old!! Checking it out right now and getting some for her too so the expensive ones can stay at home!
    Thank you!!! this is awesome!

  4. Angela you just changed my life! I have been needing new glasses for several years now, but just like dental appointments and hairdressers, I have been avoiding eye appointments like the plague... I'm officially going to go and book myself in now, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! *doing a little happy dance*

  5. This is awesome! I've had all the same questions about buying glasses online even though I know it's cheaper. Both my husband and I need new glasses, and we're totally going with this site! As you say, at $8.00 a pair, it's easy to order a few and choose your favorite. Amazing. Thanks so much!

  6. YEAH - glasses the new shoes! I like your style and at this price it could get addictive. They'll have to invent a glasses tree next like those gadgets where you store your rings and necklaces. I'm so going for this one! THANKS

  7. OK - so I've been to the site and ready to order my glasses $53 including postage (I need progressive lenses and included the non-reflective coating and the option of clip on sunnys (only $3.95 extra) - but I have a question - is this NZ$ or US$ ('cos it's an American site)?

  8. Fiona - mine came to the same amount (I'm getting one pair of eye glasses and one pair of sunglasses, non reflective and the sunglasses have a tint obviously) and yeah i'd guess its USD not NZD so add some more on. I don't mind though.. can't wait to get them - i just hope they are super awesome! I've had the same frames for YEARS!

  9. Yay!! I am SO excited about this!

    Sarah :-)

  10. Fiona - yes to USD - my friend, Ana, ordered some from the site and noted that the currency isn't explicitly stated...a flaw, eh? FaerySarah's since received hers and looks hot in them. YUS! I want more.

  11. I love mine despite site hiccups :)


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