a post that is all about glasses

  • Nov. 26th, 2011 at 3:49 PM
notemily: Photo of me, a white girl in her mid-20s, wearing glasses, smiling, looking up and to the right (Default)
So after reading this blog post, which led to THIS blog post, which led to this site, I've become slightly obsessed with buying glasses online. Yes, online. I was skeptical too, but I need new glasses for my updated prescription, and I can't afford the hundreds of dollars I'd have to pay at a physical glasses store, so I've been putting it off. Online, the prices are so low I thought I'd give it a try, and now I'm hooked. Can't stop won't stop!

So far I've ordered three pairs--two from Goggles4u and one from 39dollarglasses.com. (They haven't arrived yet.) I haven't yet bought anything from Zenni, because I've heard bad things about their service, but they have a good "try on glasses" face photo thingy so I've been spending a lot of time there. Although now I am sick of looking at my own face.

The thing is, if you know what you're doing, it turns out you can get a pretty accurate idea of whether or not a pair of glasses will look good on you. You need to know your prescription, of course. Then you need five different measurements for the frames themselves, three of which you can often get just by reading the numbers on the right temple-arm of your current pair of glasses, or you can estimate all five by using a metric ruler on your current pair. The measurements are: total width of glasses, lens width, lens height, bridge distance, and temple length. Which of these are most important will vary with your glasses-style preferences. The three numbers on the arm of your glasses are usually [lens width - bridge distance - temple length]. For example, mine are 46-18-135, in millimeters.

You also need to know your PD (Pupillary Distance--the distance from one pupil to the other), which I was apprehensive about because it wasn't listed on my prescription, but then I found this tool that measures it for you if you have a webcam and a credit card. (For size comparison, not for paying them money.) I measured mine that way and the number was almost exactly what I got when measuring it by holding a ruler under my eyes and looking in a mirror, so I'm pretty confident about it.

Once you have all those measurements written down, just look for frames with similar ones and you can be reasonably confident that they'll work for you. A lot of sites let you upload your own photo and virtually try on glasses, so you can get an even better idea of how they'll look. (If you think about it, buying shoes online is way less accurate in terms of fit, and I've done that tons of times--and paid more for them.)

If anyone is interested I've written brief reviews of the major online glasses websites below the cut. I'll write more when I actually get the glasses in the mail. (OMG I can't wait until I can SEE again.)

Read more... )

One caveat is that my prescription is fairly simple. I only need distance-vision lenses, not bifocals or progressives or whatever it is people with astigmatism need. I don't know if I'd buy online if I had a complicated prescription, since there's more room for error and no way to try the glasses on first.

Anyway, I will check back and maybe post pictures when my glasses actually arrive, and let y'all know what I think. I've spent an average of about $40 per pair so far, so I figure even if only one of the three pairs works for me, I'm still saving a whole lot of money over going to LensCrafters or VisionWorks or wherever. I'm excited that I can now be both poor AND able to see!


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