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Going Frugal with Prescription Glasses

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Going Frugal with Prescription GlassesAs most of you know, I’m a very frugal guy and I prefer to enjoy life on the cheap. However, there are a few things I don’t skimp on. My prescription glasses is a major one on this no skimping list. I don’t mind paying for designer frames and upgrades because I wear these all the time. It’s the first thing people see when they look at me and you only have one chance at the first impression. However, glasses are getting more and more expensive lately. I used to pay $200, then $350, and now we’re paying $500+ for a pair of glasses! And that’s with insurance. Wow, the glasses inflation rate over the last decade is ridiculous. However, there are alternatives now. Buying glasses online is a lot more affordable and the quality is much better than 10 years ago. As I’m getting older, I need more than one pair of glasses, so an affordable pair will really help our budget.

Bad eyes

One of the worst things about working in the tech sector was sitting in front of the computer all day long. This was fine when I was young, but my eyes couldn’t handle it as I approached 40. I’d work on the computer all day at work and then blog at night. I probably spent 12-14 hours per day in front of a monitor back when we didn’t have a kid. At the end of the night, my right eye would be very blurry. I couldn’t read the screen at all if I closed my left eye.

Once I quit working full-time in 2012, my eyes were strained a lot less. Now, I work on the computer 2-4 hours per day, which my eyes can handle. However, I’m getting older and my right eye is starting to get strained faster. My family has a history of eye problems, so that’s worrisome too.

A couple years ago, my younger brother’s eye pressure shot up to 50 suddenly and he had to have an emergency operation to relieve the pressure. That’s glaucoma and my mom’s side of the family has other issues as well. It’s really scary because that kind of pressure can result in permanent damage to your vision. I had my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist and they are fine for now, but I’ll have to go in every year to make sure there are no new problems.

Bifocals?!

My single vision glasses are also beginning not to cut it anymore. My optometrist told me I probably will need bifocals soon. That is so uncool! Bifocals are a sure sign that you are getting old. At least, I’m not getting membership solicitations from the AARP like Mrs. RB40 does… Oh, and now I try to get large print books from the library. It’s so much easier to read than regular print. Why the heck is the regular prints so small? I’m passing up good books with small print just because they strain the eyes too much.

With my current prescription, I can see long distance pretty well. However, the near vision isn’t that great with my right eye. It seems I will need to go with bifocals very soon. One way to get around this is to get a pair of reading glasses, but getting multiple pairs of glasses will be expensive.

A pair of nice glasses from our local shop cost over $500 even with insurance. That’s fine with me because we like supporting the local economy and I need a lot of adjustments to my frame and lenses. I usually have to drop by the shop at least 4-5 times whenever I get a new pair of glasses. The glasses sometimes had to be sent in to modify the prescription, too. Yes, I’m high maintenance when it comes to glasses. I make them work for their money.

I keep my glasses for 3-4 years so the cost stretches out over time and it’s really pennies per day. To me, it is worth it to get the perfect pair that works well. Also, I like to see how the glasses fit and look on my face before I shell out $500+.

Multiple pair of glasses

Now that I need more than one pair of glasses, I don’t want to pay that much. I’m fine with paying $500+ for my main pair, but I want to be frugal with my other ones.

  • Everyday glasses: I’d use this pair 99% of the time, so I need this to work really well.
  • Prescription Sunglasses: This is just for driving when it’s sunny. We live in Portland so that’s just 3 months of the year and I don’t drive much anyway.
  • Reading/computer glasses: I’d only use this one when I’m working on the blog at night. I still have to pull a couple of late nighters every week and those nights are tough on my eyes. This glasses just need to be light and function well. I don’t care how this one looks at all.

I don’t mind paying more for one pair, but three pairs would be a big hit to our wallet. The specialized glasses won’t be used much anyway. I just need them to be comfortable and function well. I’m willing to shell out for my main pair, but the other pairs won’t be worth $500+. Actually, it’d cost a lot more because insurance will only pay for one pair every year so the cost would skyrocket.

Ordering glasses online

A few weeks ago, GlassesUSA contacted me about reviewing a pair of prescription glasses. It was perfect timing because I really wanted to try a new pair of reading glasses. My optometrist was encouraging me to order one, but I was balking at paying $500+ because I just got a new pair a little over a year ago. I figured I’ll try GlassesUSA to see if it will work for me.

Trying on virtual glasses

Okay, I lied. I do care a little bit about how the glasses look. I don’t want to wear something I don’t like even if nobody sees me. The online ordering technology has improved quite a bit and you can see how a frame looks on your face. I went to the GlassesUSA’s site and used my laptop camera to upload a picture. At least, I’ll have an idea of what the frame will look like. Which one do you like from here? Terrible lighting, I know.

trying on virtual glasses

I ordered the Ottoto Hayes frame and got the high index lens. I need the high index lenses because the computer glasses have to be light and comfortable. The price was actually quite good.

  • The Ottoto Hayes frame cost $114. It comes with 1.5 index lenses and a scratch resistance coating. (+$59 for high index lenses.)

You can upgrade to lighter lenses and also add nicer coating.

GlassesUSA

Ordering

The ordering process was relatively simple. I just needed to collect some information.

  • Frame size. This was easy because I got the numbers from my current frames.
  • Prescription. I got it from my optometrist.
  • Pupil distance. This one was a bit tricky. I had to ask Mrs. RB40 to help measure my PD for reading. This one would be easier for distance vision because you can just gaze straight ahead. For reading, I had to try to gaze where the screen/book would be.

Review

I got the glasses a few days later and they are working quite well. Here is my review.

The frames are light and comfortable. The lenses are very good, too. I’m quite impressed with the price point. A pair of good glasses for around $100 is very affordable.

Quality – The quality of the frame is pretty nice. The frame itself is made from light weight titanium. The silicone nose pads are comfortable and easy to adjust. The legs (I guess they are really called ‘temples’) are made from soft plastic. The legs are comfortable, but they feel a bit flimsy. Overall, though, I think the quality is quite good.

Fit – The frame fits me very well. That was a pleasant surprise because I usually need a lot of adjustments. This pair worked pretty much right out of the box. I had to adjust the nose pads a few times, but the frame itself was pretty easy to work with. It’s light and comfortable. This is perfect for working on the computer at night.

Lens – The lenses are very nice. They work well and I don’t see strange wavy spots or anything like that.

Overall, I’m quite impressed with the glasses at this price point. It’s much more affordable than $500+ that we’re shelling out at our local shop.

The verdict

The prescription glasses from GlassesUSA are not bad at all. I would definitely consider them the next time I need another extra pair of glasses. I still like my designer frames better, but it also costs a ton more. The local shop is good for my main pair because I’m high maintenance. However, GlassesUSA is a great frugal option.

Have you tried ordering glasses online? How did it work out?

*I think GlassesUSA is having a Presidents Day sale right now and I just saw a 50% off coupon for your first pair. That’s a great deal if you need a new pair of glasses. Drop by and see GlassesUSA’s frames today.

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{ 77 comments… add one }
  • Cody @ Dollar Habits February 16, 2017, 12:31 am

    Wow, over $500 for a pair of glasses? That is nuts. Way to go on finding a more cost-friendly option, Joe. With as much time as I spend in front of the computer, it’s only a matter of time before my eyes start to go. I will be sure to keep GlassesUSA in the back of my mind for when that time comes. Thanks for the review.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 6:50 am

      I really like my optometrist, but $500 is too much. All the local shops around here charge about that much so I guess it’s market price? Designer frames are expensive, but the lens mark up is how they make money.

    • Gary Bajaj February 17, 2017, 1:34 pm

      Two years ago I paid $840 for Zeiss 1.6 index plastic progressive lenses with Transitions and all coatings, no frame included, which serves as an all-in-one pair, without the compromise of getting lesser quality lenses and frames for reading and sunglasses. Probably saves money compared to buying all three separately, albeit with compromises on “corridor” heights that serve for each of distance, reading and computer use. If you use separate reading glasses, I have seen readymade ones with preset power selling for a couple of bucks in larger stores. I too retired by forty.

  • Ernie Zelinski February 16, 2017, 12:35 am

    Joe: I am glad that I don’t have to deal with having to buy glasses or contacts anymore. I used to be extremely near-sighted and then later also required bi-focals for reading. I hated glasses and wore hard contact lenses as much as I could. My eyes would be red and sore all day and most of the night. Then, about 15 to 20 years ago, my near sightedness was getting even worse. My optometrist did some tests and told me that I had cataracts – at the age of around 50. I was depressed. Finally getting over my depression, I went for the operations on my two eyes. The head ophthalmologist told me that I would likely need glasses for both driving and reading after the operations, but not a strong prescription for either. Although the operations were covered by our government health plan, I opted for a better lens in each eye that cost a total of around $700 total out of my own pocket. Of course, most people would have cheaped out and stuck with the basic government funded lenses — but I didn’t. I figured when it comes to my eyes, an extra $700 is an incredible bargain. A month after the operations, I went in for my final check up. The head ophthalmologist walked into the room and asked, “What are you doing working on your computer without reading glasses?” I told him that I don’t need them. What’s more, I have been able to get by all these years without needing glasses for driving as well. I do use glasses for driving occasionally, but only for night driving. I still have the same glasses for night driving that I got 15 to 20 years ago. So the $700 for the better lenses has turned out to be a great investment. I still marvel at the great eyesight that I have at the age of 67.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 6:52 am

      I agree that $700 is an incredible bargain. I will most like have cataract as well because both of my parents had the operation. It’d be great if I can go without glasses. I actually like my glasses, but no glasses would be 100% better. Thanks for sharing!

  • Al February 16, 2017, 1:11 am

    Great point and excellent reference. The cost now justifies the viability of a trade between glasses and eye correction surgery since the later is getting better and cheaper. Last I checked, it was about $2500 which is 5x the cost of glasses.

    Also new emerging technology for body inserts might may the vision correction e even more viable for exceptional cases.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 6:53 am

      I’ve never heard of body inserts…
      I’m just afraid of eye correction surgery. My eyes are touchy and I don’t want to mess with them if it can be avoided. I’ll probably need cataract and glaucoma surgery later as well.

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes February 16, 2017, 1:11 am

    I’ve never heard of GlassesUSA, but yeah…prescription glasses are expensive. $500 is just too much. It’s way cheaper to by online or overseas when traveling.

    We’ll probably be heading to Japan this fall for a few weeks, and I’m going to pick up some new glasses when we’re there. I’ve been told they’re usually in the $50-$70 range for a nice pair.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 7:10 am

      I heard about getting glasses in Japan and Thailand. I should do that next time we’re there. Not sure why the glasses are so expensive here. I think it’s mostly due to the markup on the lenses.

  • Tawcan February 16, 2017, 1:16 am

    Interesting topic as I just recently purchases a new pair of glasses, still waiting for them to be ready to be picked up though.

    I wear contacts most of the time and purchase them through online stores due to cheaper price. Due to this, my current glasses have lasted me ~10 years (I think?). Luckily my prescription hasn’t changed and have been told I should consider laser eye surgery.

    After going to a few different stores I picked out a frame I liked. The frame was ~$350 (yucks!) and lenses ~$500 (double yucks!). When I looked around online I was able to get the same frame and same index lenses for about $350 all together. Then I decided to go to another local store that my brother recommended. They ended up giving me the frame + lenses for $330. Since I typically need a bit of adjustments with glasses, I ended up going with the local store.

    PS: You should be able to get the pupil distance from the optometrist if you ask.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:19 am

      I hate contacts. They just don’t work for me because my eyes are so dry. Right, the lenses mark up seems ridiculous. I know they have to pay the rent and all that, but they are just driving consumers online.
      Frame + Lenses for $330 is better than $850. Does Canadian healthcare cover glasses?
      I asked and they said PD will cost $25. WTF!

  • Ynthia February 16, 2017, 1:58 am

    Oh gosh joe! I used to have the same pricing with my work insurance. I ditched my insurance all together & save money there!! Now I go to costco with NO insurance! Glasses run me about 200.00 apair( designers) plus 70.00 for an exam. I go every other year. I don’t see a huge difference. I like trying them on & Costco service is great!! They have a wonderful selection!!

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:19 am

      I don’t like Costco, but the price is right. 🙂 I’ve been to Walmart and other cheaper stores and their frames are terrible…

      • mary w February 19, 2017, 9:24 am

        Might be an interesting article…why you don’t like Costco.

  • Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions February 16, 2017, 3:03 am

    This is great timing Joe! I need new glasses but have no interest in paying over $500! (My last pair with progressive trifocals a few years ago cost almost $600…) And yes, my eyes are getting worse as I age too. I plan on having an exam and checking out the online options too. I never thought about what Mr. Tako said about getting them out of the country though! Not sure we’ll be traveling anywhere soon where the price would matter that much. But it’s definitely something to think about down the road!

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:20 am

      Good luck with a new pair. It’s crazy how much glasses cost now.

  • Liz@ChiefMomOfficer February 16, 2017, 3:39 am

    I’ve heard good things about Zenni Optical at work from some folks that need glasses, especially spare pairs. That’s probably where I’ll get my next set from. I wear contacts most of the time, so my glasses are rarely worn. For my kids, I get their glasses at BJ’s. They have great deals where my 9 year old was able to get a pair of glasses for under $50. It’s a good deal because kids vision changes fast when they’re young.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:21 am

      I tried Zenni about 10 years ago and the quality was not good. The price is right, though.

      • Ariel @ Frugal Mermaid February 16, 2017, 5:12 pm

        I’m so sad you didn’t like Zenni! I have like 6 pairs of glasses that cost me less than $10. My last pair from the eye doctor was $400. I will never go back! Maybe give Zenni another go next time you are ready for a new pair. Maybe (hopefully) they have gotten better over the last 10 years! Can’t beat $6 glasses!

        • retirebyforty February 17, 2017, 1:39 pm

          I think my prescription might be too strong to get perfect online. That’s why local is the best option for me. I’m willing to try again for $10, though. 🙂

  • Brad - MaximizeYourMoney.com February 16, 2017, 3:56 am

    I bought my last glasses from Warby Parker online. They ship a few frames to you so you can try them on and decide if you like them. I think they have full prescriptions (frames, lenses, etc) for around $99. I can’t remember what I paid but I know it was about 1/4 of what my optometrist tried to sell me.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:23 am

      I just looked at Warby Parker. The frames are really nice, but I need pad arms (extended nose pads.) The plastic ones just don’t work for me. Unfortunately, WP only have a few frames with nose pads. 🙁

  • Max Your Freedom February 16, 2017, 4:32 am

    I remember those days, and not fondly! I used to wear contacts for many years, but when I moved to Dallas about 10 years ago, my eyes started killing me because of all the pollen and pollutants in the air. My contacts dried out easier and I was itching all the time, so I found myself wearing my glasses more often. I finally got tired of it and decided to do laser eye surgery, which was a major financial investment. I was terrified of doing it at the time but I didn’t go the frugal route and have been happy with that decision ever since. When I look back, I broke even on cost after about 6 years when considering the savings on contacts/glasses. Ever thought about going that route? I was 35 when I did, and was told people did it up until their mid-40s successfully.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:24 am

      Laser eye surgery sounds good, but it’s just not for me. My eyes have too many problems and I need to stave off surgeries as long as possible. I’m sure I’ll have cataract and glaucoma surgery at some point.

  • Pennypincher February 16, 2017, 4:46 am

    Joe, you chose the best looking frames for you. Not like I’m the expert, but after a lifetime of wearing glasses, you just know after a while.
    I have found that LensCrafters sale of frames and lenses 50% off, a few times a year, I cannot do better. Their $49. exam is the most advanced, high tech, state of the art one around. Last visit I got regular everyday frames, 2 pairs of sunglasses- one for sports, one for fashion for about $500. Sunglasses lens for driving/distance only. Progressive lenses are 3 lenses=reading, computer, distance-and no lines like bifocals! 100% satisfied.
    Friends really like the lens that change from indoors to sunglasses outdoors automatically.
    Also, surprised to find out that I’m getting cataracts. Dr. said it was from the sun, especially reflective sun off of water, but here’s the surprise to me-dirt and dust are also a cause. Whoa.
    Now I’m vigilant about using a saline rinse 2x a day, and eyelid cleansing clothes at night.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:25 am

      I dropped by LensCrafters a few times, but I didn’t find anything I like. I’m a bit picky when it comes to glasses. 🙂

  • Go Finance Yourself! February 16, 2017, 4:51 am

    I hear ya on the eye strain. I get up early in the morning to work on my blog, go to work for around 10 hours a day which is mostly done on a computer, then come home and blog some more. Before I started my blog, my eyes were doing just fine as I would try not to get on the computer at night. But the last month or so the eye strain has gotten pretty bad. I’ve had 4 surgeries on my left eye (I was stupid and didn’t wear safety glasses while cutting down limbs on a tree – and this was right after my eyes had healed from LASIK) so it’s more sensitive to light.

    I did buy some Swanwick computer glasses a few weeks ago, which have helped. They reduce glare and also cut out the blue light at night so I can go to sleep easier. If anyone is struggling with eye strain, I highly recommend them.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:27 am

      Oh man, sorry to hear about the eye surgery. I’m really careful with my eyes because I know they are not in great shape.
      I prescribe retiring early so you don’t have to be on the computer all day. 🙂
      Or you can cut down on blogging a bit.
      I’ll checkout Swanwick computer glasses. I’ve never heard of them.

      • Pennypincher February 16, 2017, 9:57 am

        Lol! Joe’s Rx=Retire early. Like that!

  • Pennypincher February 16, 2017, 4:52 am

    Oops, typo, sorry! Meant to say eye cleansing “cloths”, to clean debris off one’s lids. OcuSoft Lid Scrub pads-30 to a box.
    Hoping to keep the cataracts in check.

  • Michael February 16, 2017, 5:41 am

    Glasses, well health in general, is are one area I will not skimp on. Yes, I do end up paying close to $500 for glasses (usually its like $400 for the lenses as I get the anti-glare and scratch resistant) but as I wear them every waking hour, I do not mind. Also, my eyes have plateaued so I have been able to get two years out of the last few set of glasses. If you are looking to save money ask if the optician offers any sort of discount. I know lenscrafters has a 30% off deal for AAA members (because I just looked), and my local place offers a 25% off AAA discount. I dont know why this is, but it saved me some cash so Im cool with that.

    A couple years ago, my dad got his glasses at Costco, which was much cheaper than the local store. He ended up hating them as it took several adjustments to get them correct. When this happened, I looked online and unfortunately this was a fairly common complaint, especially if you need bi or tri-focals. Unfortunately, if I have to spend several trips to get them right, its no longer a deal.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:30 am

      I agree. I need my main pair to work perfectly. It’s great that your eyes have stabilized. Watch out as you get older, though…
      Online glasses and discount places are okay for sunglasses or reading glasses.
      I’m pretty sure my optician don’t offer any discount. 🙁 They have plenty of businesses because they are in a great downtown location.

  • The Vigilante February 16, 2017, 6:15 am

    Glasses/contacts are very expensive! I’m very much keeping an eye on the price of corrective laser eye surgery in my area, because I have had a very stable prescription for a while and have had some negative effects from both contacts and glasses that make me a prime candidate for corrective surgery and possibly even getting some portion covered by insurance! I’m hoping by the time I run out of my current massive collection of disposable contacts, LASIK will run only ~$1,000 per eye and my insurance will cover a portion, so perhaps for the cost of getting new glasses and/or contacts I can just get the problem taken care of for decades! (Seems most people still require reading glasses, but still.)

  • Mr Crazy Kicks February 16, 2017, 6:26 am

    Great review! I just started wearing glasses a couple of years ago when I started to get strain from looking at a computer all day. I purchased my prescription glasses online from Zenni for $30. The frames with lenses was $7 then add-ons like polycarbonate lenses and anti-glare coating made it $30. I also got a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses from them for about $60. I don’t think the frames are as nice as the ones you got, but I’ve been happy with them 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:32 am

      I tried Zenni before and they just didn’t work that well for me. The frame was really cheap and I wouldn’t want use it as my main pair since I wear it all day long. Probably okay for sunglasses, though.

  • Andrew@livingrichcheaply February 16, 2017, 6:57 am

    I’m actually thinking about getting glasses online soon. Paying over $500 is just such a rip-off when the quality is not that much of a difference. They get away with it because they have a monopoly on the business but thank goodness online stores are available.
    Sorry to hear about your brother’s eye pressure…hope everything is going well now. My pressure was at 28 and the doctor did the laser treatment which wasn’t enough so I’m on eye drops now.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:33 am

      Oh man, glaucoma is bad news. I hope your pressure is under control soon.
      I agree about $500. That’s way too much for glasses.

  • Mr. Grumby February 16, 2017, 6:59 am

    Thanks for the review. I was looking at some onlin options recently but have a really good vision plan through work, so got my first pair of pregressive trifocals through my optometrist. They are working out well so far, and my our of pocket was only about yet $100. I prefer to do computer work and read with my prescription readers, but the trifocals can suffice. I had lask surgery for distance 11 years ago and went from 20/400 to 20/15. I am not 20/20 but can detect the slight difference, so the trifocals with the small distance correction have been nice.
    As you said, the retail cost of glasses and lenses of ridiculously high.
    Since I am retiring next year (yeah!) I will use my vision benefit one more time and then look at GlassesUSA and some other online vendors. Warby Parker also looks promising, with decent prices and they have a store in Portland.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:35 am

      I didn’t know Warby Parker has a store in Portland. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the info.
      Trifocals sound complicated…

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher February 16, 2017, 7:05 am

    Oooh, this makes me paranoid about my computer-loving ways. I don’t work in tech, per se, but my job is solely on a computer. Add in blogging and I’m sure I’m on the computer at least 15 hours a day. Woops.
    Thanks for the glasses suggestion! I don’t wear glasses myself, but Mr. Picky Pincher does. He got new glasses two years ago and it set us back $80 with insurance. I’m always looking for cheaper/easier options though. 🙂

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:36 am

      You definitely should cut back. You can see from the comments that a lot of people strained their eyes too much. It’s tough when you have to be on the computer all day, though. I prescribe early retirement. 🙂
      New glasses for $80 is really good.

  • aB February 16, 2017, 7:24 am

    For computer glasses, I got a pair of UVEX blue blocking safety glasses that fit over my regular glasses. $7 on Amazon or something like that.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:37 am

      Interesting. I just checked them out. Looks uncomfortable, though.

  • Dividend Growth Investor February 16, 2017, 7:28 am

    I also have terrible vision. I got my glasses from Costco – the frames were decent but the glass/lenses portion is usually the expensive part. Total was right about $220.

  • Finance Your Goals February 16, 2017, 7:44 am

    I’ve never ordered my glasses or contacts online. Honestly, didn’t realize there were so many affordable options (and products to choose from)…thanks for sharing your review.

    I’m pretty partial to local shops (feel like my ears are too uneven and the glasses always need significant adjustments, haha!). And, I bought frames at Walmart once (name brand, good price) and filled my prescription. They didn’t take my astigmatism into account so the lenses weren’t shaped properly and I ended up taking those glasses back to the local shop to replace the lenses.

    I expect I’ll need reading glasses at some point in the near future and I think I’ll pick up my first pair from CVS (or some pharmacy) to test. I usually wear contacts, but have a pair of prescription sunglasses but hate having to switch glasses. I’ve tried the sunglass clips (not a huge fan, but better than swapping glasses) and I’m contemplating transition lenses. I’d be curious if you or any of your readers have any feedback on transition lenses.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:39 am

      My ears and nose are uneven and my frames always require a lot of adjustments. 🙂
      Transition lenses aren’t that good. They don’t work when you’re driving. That’s a major drawback.

  • Mike February 16, 2017, 7:53 am

    Have you thought about LASIK? Then you would just need reading glasses only and they are a few bucks at any drug store. I am SO GLAD I did LASIK – not dealing with contacts and glasses is great!

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:40 am

      No LASIK for me. My eyes have too many problems already (genetic.) I don’t want to throw another thing into the equation.

  • Karen Burgess February 16, 2017, 8:09 am

    Good article. It and the follow up replies has given me alot to think about and options. Thank You

  • Lazy Man and Money February 16, 2017, 8:17 am

    I ordered my glasses online and with all the bells and whistles (transitions) they were around $59. I’ve had them for 3-4 years now, so I can’t complain.

    It’s probably time for a new set, but I have to book an appointment with the optometrist and do all that.

  • Duncan's Dividends February 16, 2017, 8:25 am

    While I usually cringe on big ticket expenditures, I fully believe there are a few things you should and need to commit hard earned dollars to. This definitely falls into one of those categories. You can make a boat load of money and be financially independent, but if your health fails or starts to degenerate, how much are you really going to enjoy it. Kudos to you for spending on what truly matters and something that will enhance your existence instead of trying to soldier on. Knowing when to splurge is as important as being frugal!

  • Mr. All Things Money February 16, 2017, 8:27 am

    I used to spend lot of money on glasses too till I found Costco. It now costs me less than half of what I used to pay at Lens Crafter.

    Also don’t fret bifocals, there are new type of bifocals called Progressive Lenses. They look just like regular single vision glasses but work like bifocal. They are slightly more expensive but worth it if you don’t want to carry around reading glasses.

    • SillyLily February 16, 2017, 10:41 am

      Yep, that’s the one I got too… Progressive Lenses. No one can tell my glasses are bifocal and I still look cool and smart! $$$ well spent in my dictionary.

  • Roseanne February 16, 2017, 8:31 am

    Joe, what a timely topic. I spent over $800 for two pairs of glasses a year and a half ago which is ridiculous, yet I’m sure the price has gone up. I don’t think I need anything special except bifocals. I will absolutely check this out as soon as I have my next eye exam. Thank you!
    P.S. I followed your post about starting a blog, and it is actually up and running. I appreciate all the tips you gave – they were very helpful.

  • phr3dly February 16, 2017, 9:00 am

    I had lasik a couple years ago so no longer wear prescription glasses, but back in 2009 I started ordering my glasses from Zenni Optical. I forget exactly how much they cost, but it was around $40 per pair, including lenses.

    I’m not overly vain, but I thought they looked fine. The quality was not great, but for $40 I would literally buy three pairs at a time (to save on shipping), and when I lost or broke a pair (maybe once or twice per year) I’d throw them out and move on to the next pair.

    I’m not a big believer in the yearly eye exam (or dental exam, or physical, or heck doctors in general) so I kept my same prescription for 5 years or so.

  • Fiscally Free February 16, 2017, 9:29 am

    We haven’t gotten glasses online, but I’m strongly considering it next time we need any. Our little one already wears glasses, and if her eyes don’t improve over time, we are going to be buying a lot of glasses as she grows, and that could really add up. Unfortunately, tiny baby glasses are really hard to find.

    I feel like I’ve seen ads for $10 frames online. I’m curious if those and whatever lenses they come with are any good.

    • retirebyforty February 16, 2017, 9:43 am

      I would avoid getting extremely cheap glasses for little kids. They won’t be able to give you good feedback. Bad lenses will probably mess up their eyes more. IMO.

  • FullTimeFinance February 16, 2017, 9:45 am

    I went the other way. We bought one pair of good glasses from our local optomitrist. Then I ordered about three additional pairs (one sunglasses two normal) from zeni optical. The glasses bought online were ten dollars apiece. One pair had some issues with screws falling out but the other two were find. Ironically the expensive pair also has a screw issue.

  • SillyLily February 16, 2017, 10:37 am

    Hey man, I’m already on Bifocal when I hit 40… what are you complaining about? It’s the price of being wiser. haha. Anyways, I only have 1 pair of glasses because it is one for all (and all for one): reading (actually I don’t read with glasses), sunglasses, and everyday use. It serves me well but since I only have one, I usually get another one in 2-3 years. I don’t like online shopping so … Welcome to Bifocal club! :p

    • retirebyforty February 17, 2017, 1:36 pm

      We just use too much computer these days. It’s sad.
      I’ll probably get bifocal next time.

  • Laura February 16, 2017, 11:15 am

    🙂 I was just telling DH it’s time for me to get bifocals. Got new glasses last year and can already tell need another Rx as my vision is changing quickly. I’ve used Zenni Optical and Coastal in the past, both with pretty good results. Lately, I’ve switched to Costco – just as cheap or cheaper as online shops, they’ll do the PD measurements for you and customer service is great. Last year I got glasses + Rx sunglasses for me and glasses (w/ transition lenses) for my son all for less than $300 total. And with bifocals, not wanting to risk online just yet.

  • renewed investor February 16, 2017, 3:20 pm

    I had really bad eye sight most of my life till I went for lasik 14 years ago. At that time, lasik became more affordable and I went for it immediately, paying $2500 for both eyes. (It used to be twice the amount when the procedure was initially offered.)
    Because of my poor vision, the specialist could not correct my eyesight completely. I was left with slight myopia and astigmatism per ear. That was still sufficient for me to function without glasses generally.
    Now that I am in my forties, it was a good thing that my vision was not totally corrected. I have been told that because of the slight myopia I have, I don’t need bifocal glasses till mid 50s. It turned out to be a great blessing in disguise.
    P.S. I get my glasses from overseas.

    Renewed investor

  • Carly Beard February 16, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Thank you for bringing this up! I have an eye appointment next month and have been perusing http://www.zennioptical.com/ and their glasses as I will need multiple pair for the first time as well.

    • retirebyforty February 17, 2017, 1:37 pm

      Zenni has really good price. I hope they work out for you.

  • Vivianne February 16, 2017, 3:50 pm

    Joe,
    You must the the lucky ones to get your prescription correctly. The reviews has plenty of 1 star ratings of wrong prescriptions, and terrible customer service. Not to mention the BBB rating is an F? Phews!

    https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/www.glassesusa.com

    These were February of 2017 reviews, I’m wondering what happening there.

    • retirebyforty February 17, 2017, 1:38 pm

      Oh man, that’s terrible. Thanks for the link. I will research further and perhaps remove the link if warranted… That’s bad score.

  • CapitalCalc February 16, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Personally I found my optometrist office is best place to buy prescription glasses. It was slightly more expensive than other shops but their return policy and warranty was very good.

  • Mr. Need2Save February 16, 2017, 5:35 pm

    Mrs. Need2Save still spends a hefty sum on glasses, but we tried Warby Parker for my son. He has been happy with them and actually likes them better than the frames we got at our local optometrist. We have a review of Warby Parker on our site if anyone is interested.

    I took the plunge and did LASIK a few years ago after losing a contact lens during the swim portion of a triathlon. Wish I would have done it sooner… although I could have bought a lot of glasses for the same cost!

    • retirebyforty February 17, 2017, 1:40 pm

      I will check out the Warby Parker shop. Someone said there is a local one.

  • Vic @ Dad is Cheap February 16, 2017, 9:32 pm

    I’ve bought from 39 Dollar Glasses for the past few years and they’ve worked out fine for me. There’s coupon codes online you can find so you can easily score a pair for cheap. They’re stylish enough and I’ve order several pairs and have had no problems. I’ve taken advantage of their return policy and have returned a few pairs that where it was either too small or had some defect.

    They’re stylish enough for me. But I’m the least fashionable person I know. Haha.

  • Michael February 17, 2017, 2:13 pm

    I purchased my glasses at Zenni Optical. I paid ~$25 bucks for it including shipping. It has been used and roughly handled but is holding together just fine.

  • K McGarrett February 18, 2017, 3:43 pm

    I looked into Zenni eyeglasses a year or so ago. They are out of the U.S. so not ideal for Canadians. When I had my eye exam (covered through my extended health care plan through my employer) I asked for the pupil distance as well as my vision prescription. I spent quite a lot of time on their site ‘trying on’ different pairs. I wanted progressive lenses plus UV protection. I think it ended up at around $130.

    In the end I went with local option because I had $550 vision care left on the plan but I ended up paying an additional $200. I decided the extra was worth it as I wanted lightweight frames and also local access for fitting. There is a huge disparity between what the local optometry clinic charges and what is available on-line. Without a vision care plan, the cost is easily prohibitive.

  • Abby February 20, 2017, 4:29 pm

    Excellent choice on the Otto Hayes the top pick & awesome savings – way to go!

  • Wade February 21, 2017, 1:58 pm

    I am wearing my ~$18 glasses from ZenniOptical.com right now. They are comfortable and the prescription is better than my ~$160 Oakley glasses from Costco.

    I have single vision at this point. No bifocals or Progressive lenses from Zenni. I will order again.

  • Adriana @MoneyJourney February 22, 2017, 5:45 am

    Ordering glasses online is very brave of you. It’s been about 15 years since I started wearing glasses but I’ve never ordered them online. I need to try on every pair in the shop before deciding 😀 It’s both a “fashion” thing as well as fear of getting the wrong prescription delivered.

  • Centsai February 22, 2017, 6:09 pm

    I have never considered ordering glasses online but I will definitely look into it! I have had my pair of glasses for the past 3ish years and have been thinking about ordering new ones but just like you said glasses can be extremely expensive (plus I am super picky!) Thanks for sharing this website with me!

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