Buying eyeglasses online – the next step
It’s been a few weeks since I went to the opthalmologist, and I’ve finally gotten a moment (or decided to give myself a moment) to take the next step. From the doc I got my prescription, but she was unable to measure my pupillary distance (PD) because she had nothing to measure in millimeters, which sounded terribly careless and half-assed to me. Measuring that isn’t rocket science, and I don’t think she or her optician is any better at making a rough measurement using nothing but their hands, a ruler and their eyes. If they were using some gadget to measure the PD to the nanometer, I’d consider letting a ‘pro’ handle it. But they’re not, so I’m taking care of that myself, with some assistance from the lovely Trisha. Here’s what I did to measure my PD:
- Took several digital pictures of me holding a ruler in front of my eyes (as close as possible, either resting on my nose or forehead). I took some self-portraits and Trish took some as well. Picked the 5 pictures with the clearest views of my pupils and used Photoshop to measure in pixels a) the distance from the middle of one pupil to the other and b) the measurement of one millimeter. The results ranged from 50.6mm to 64.25, which freaked me out a bit. I expected things to be a bit more constant. The average was 57.09mm.
- Trish then measured it the old-fashioned way. She thinks it’s 57 or 58mm and is leaning towards 57mm before knowing what the Photoshop results were. This is more promising!
- I measure myself using the bathroom mirror. It’s either 57 or 58mm, and a close look at the center of my pupils makes the smaller figure seem right. 57mm will be the choice for the test purchase.
I have several choices for online eyeglass stores, and people have been posting their reviews and experiences in the GlassyEyes google group. My online eyeglass stores are (in no particular order):
I check glassyeyes.com which keeps a running tally of the ratings people have given the various shops. Since 39dollarglasses.com, optical4less.com and goggles4u.com have 5 star ratings, I head back to the google group and read up on them a bit. It’s all generally positive with some negatives sprinkled here and there. I figure I’ll find something I like from each, price them and take it from there.
I currently have glasses with clip-on sunshades. They were the first pair of sunglasses I ever had and I loved not being blinded on a nice sunny day. You probably noticed that I used the past tense – the clip-ons got bent and scratched and haven’t been used in 3-4 years. They were also non-magnetic, which I’m sure contributed to the bending (though I bet magnetics have their drawbacks as well). I want a pair with magnetic clip-ons, but a nice looking pair on the cheaper side would be fine for now. I figure for $30-60 per pair I can afford to try 3 or 4 until I get it right, then maybe get a pair of prescription shades. That would still be about half what I’d pay at brick & mortar.
goggles4u.com does not have clip-ons, optical4less.com does and 39dollarglasses.com seems not to but has a nice selection of cool plastic frames. I decided before that I wanted to go with plastic because I’ve had metal only for years. I want something totally different and funkier.
The choices are mindboggling.
Usually in a store, the choice was totally dictated by budget. Now – I can pick almost anything, and it’s overwhelming. I decide to find 2 frames from each place, see what their options for determining fit & looks are and then let Trish have her say. Anything she’s ambivalent on gets tossed – she either has to love it or hate it. If she REALLY hates something, then I may have to consider that more because she’s distinctly more conservative than me. I wish I owned an orange leisure suit, if that tells you anything. Here’s me with my current broke-ass pair:
I immediately find a frame I like at 39dollarglasses – the Pasadena. It comes in brown, which is one of my preferred colors, and I measure my glasses to see if the numbers are close. Their explanation of the measurement numbers is very helpful. Suckily, I have to ditch the Pasadena because the frame is 10mm wider than what I have now, and the width of the lenses is wider too. What I have now works so, I look for something else. My current frames are 130mm wide, and though 5mm wider seems too much, I see too many cool frames at 135mm to ignore. In the meantime, M comes in and insists that I should get ‘robot glasses.’ have no clue what he means, but if trish hates them, I’m interested. I also add the 3-star zennioptical.com to the mix since they have some plastic frames with sunshades that I really like. My choices:
- the Omega (with a final cost of $64 with $25 of that for anti-reflective coating; for another $50 I can get higher index plastic lenses – meh)
- a black frame (with a final cost of $50 w/ no shades and 1.6 index plastic lenses)
- brown & black with sunshades (final cost $52 with 1.6 index plastic lenses)
- bizarro blue plastic half-rims with sunshades (final cost $52 with 1.6 index plastic lenses)
I finally settled on #3 because I’m not sure about the half-rims with my higher prescription and I really want some shades. I’d at least like the option of shades if the glasses work out. Maybe later I can get a pair of prescription shades, but I’ll let practicality take over for now.
Ordering was nothing special – with shipping it came to $57.Â I got an email receipt instantly and my prescription was in order.Â Now let’s see how long it takes!