Zenni Optical, I love you

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I wear glasses. My eyes have been bad forever, and I've worn glasses full-time since sometime in college. I wore contacts for a bit when I lived in Oregon, but I haven't been able to do that in Texas due to allergy issues. I long for Lasik surgery, but it's not something I've made a financial priority as yet.

In the meantime, I am picky about my glasses. I want fun, funky glasses, and I want multiple pairs to choose from. You can see a bit of my glasses history here (these are in approximate chronological order, and span the last five years):

In recent years, I've met these needs by spending hours looking at frames at Lenscrafters or the like when they're having a twofer sale. That way, I get two pairs to switch between. Last time I did this, though, I ended up with two pairs of glasses that fell apart within a few months. Not cool. So, when I got my new prescription in May, Id decided to go to Costco Optical, which had been recommended to me by several people, pay a bit more, and just buy one new pair of glasses.

I did that. I ended up buying two pairs--one regular glasses, one sunglasses (pretty much a necessity if you want to be able to drive here). My total was around $280. More than I've ever paid for glasses, but I figured I needed a good pair, so I paid it. Then I waited for a week while my glasses were made.

When I picked them up, the sunglasses were fine. I ended up not living the rather ostentatious frames I'd picked, but they worked fine. The regular glasses, however, hit me with a headache and nausea the minute I put them on. Figuring it was just that new glasses feeling, I tried to get used to them.

And tried and tried. And kept feeling sick. And then came to the conclusion that the prescription in the glasses must be wrong and that I should take them back.

And then went on vacation. And then got sick. And then neglected to do anything.

So I found myself in the position of having no accurate prescription glasses. When I complained about this state of things online, an e-friend pointed me towards Zenni Optical. Looking at the website, I felt pretty skeptical. Glasses for as little as $8? Really? How is that possible? But I loved a lot of their frames, and the risk didn't seem too big, so I decided to give it a try. I measured my pupillary distance with a ruler in the mirror, entered in my prescription from the card the eye doctor gave me, and made an order for three pairs: one conservative, one geek chic, one funky and bejeweled. Total cost, including shipping and handling, was $37.80. I made my order on Friday, June 15. On Monday, June 15, I received an email notifying me that my glasses were shipping. Yesterday, June 17, they arrived.

And I am thrilled with them. Every pair fits correctly, has the correct prescription (I can see and don't have a headache), and looks awesome.

The quality seems fine--they come in cheap cases, but that is pretty easy to fix. I don't see any difference between them and the ones I've gotten anywhere else, except that at $9.95-$12.95 each, they were less than 10% of the price. How does Zenni Optical do that? I have no idea, and honestly, I don't care. I just plan to take full advantage of it. Next up--different styles of sunglasses!

5 Comments

I'm glad to hear this review! I considered using a place like that last time I got new glasses, after basically choking when I realized how much glasses cost. I've been wearing contacts/having insurance for so long, I didn't really know. I ended up getting some frames on ebay, and getting the lenses locally, for a total of about 140, which wasn't bad. Maybe I'll give Zenni a try though...nothing to lose, right!?

copier! you have my glasses (the blingy ones all the way to the right).

the other day my dad asked if i had new glasses and i told him, no i just had many pairs.

It was like a commercial--he said, "Oh you must be rich!" and I said "No, I got them online for 30 bucks!"

Jealous! I just found out two weeks ago that my new health insurance covers eye exams, but nothing else. My vision is abysmal. Minus 7.5 in both eyes. If I don't want to wear coke bottle lenses that means 400$ plus for a pair of glasses. I also wear contacts about half the time and see better with them (but can't stand them for all day office days). I last bought a new pair of glasses four years ago. I thought about buying a new pair recently, but with no more insurance help and paycuts and paying for contacts... I worry about only having one pair though. And no sunglasses. Last time I looked into online glasses with my special lenses it was still a couple hundred $. Sigh.

beapea, i have -6.5 and at least at zinni, it cost me 40 a pair. Still way better than in a normal store. I got the regular (plastic) lenses too and they were fine....

You are not alone. I too have fallen in love with Zenni. In total I have 6 pair of glasses (5 reg 1 sun)and those 6 pair have cost me less than one pair from the "professionals" With my astigmatism I am thrilled to pay only $17 for mine :)

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