As 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.