A few days ago my best friend texted me to inform me that she found her daughter’s glasses smashed at the school bus stop. Needless to say, she was none too pleased. It reminded me of something - that even if you are blessed enough to have health insurance, it barely affects the high price of vision correction. A few years ago, I got sick of paying hundreds of dollars for glasses and contacts; and this was AFTER I moved from independent eye doctors to more bargain locations like Costco and WalMart. The price was still too steep for me.
A while back, another friend tipped me off about an amazing website called Zenni Optical. Using this site you can choose from tons of cute frames ranging from $6.95-$46.00. All you need to know is your prescription and pupillary distance – and you’re all set. I don’t need anything fancy when it comes to my actual lenses, so mine only added $4.95 to the total. The pair of glasses I’m wearing right now cost me a whopping $17.90.
I have to confess that I have also broken a pair of glasses before, and when they cost $100.00 or more, that’s extremely painful. It’s nice to know that if something does happen to my glasses, I can replace them without too much trouble. I’m also able to try multiple styles. For example – I was able to purchase a fun pair of glasses with rhinestone accents that I wear in informal settings; while I have my standard frames for my professional world. The best thing that I figured out with this site, though, is that they will tint your lenses for free. I’ve always wanted a pair of prescription sunglasses, but I was never able to afford them until I found Zenni Optical. I like to wear oversized, fun, plastic frames – and they have plenty; so I picked one I liked and had them tinted. Voila – prescription sunglasses which I’m not sure how I ever lived without.
Now – if you are picky about the brand of your glasses, you may not like Zenni Optical. The frames are cute – but they are not designer. You also have to be pretty sure of what looks good on your face. They have a nice feature where you can try your glasses on a photo of a model, or you can even upload one of yourself. This helps, but admittedly – you don’t know what they will truly look like until they arrive. I’ve never been disappointed, but I know this could be a deterrent for some of you.
Contact lenses are also very expensive – and unlike glasses, you have to throw them out after so long. I typically wear my glasses more than my contacts, but I still need my contacts for special occasions. For this, I use a site called Vision Direct. They have great deals on lenses, and you can use Flex Spending money on the site. The only trick here is that your prescription cannot be more than two years old. This applies to anywhere you order contacts (doctors’ offices, discount stores, online, etc.); so my advice is to order several pairs and stock up while you are in your two year window.
During college, I had to go without vision correction because I couldn’t afford it. I wish had known about sites like these earlier. I hope they will help my fellow “four eyes” folks out there. An added little bonus – both of these sites can be accessed through Ebates, an online cash-back site I told you about a while back. Use Ebates and you save even more money!
Image courtesy of [ponsulak] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net