If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you know about the costs associated with ordering disposable contacts and with staying up to date and in fashion with new prescription eyeglasses. In fact, the National Association of Vision Care Plans puts the average cost of new eyeglasses at $263.00.
Most optical shops accept vision insurance, or provide discounts to members of various associations, including AAA membership discounts. Insurance and discounts typically cannot be combined with other offers, and often only reduce the total price of the glasses by 30%. With prices like that, unsurprisingly, people seek cheaper alternatives. Zenni Optical offers an affordable alternative to your neighborhood optometrist.
The interactive and easy to use Zenni Optical website allows shoppers to use their existing prescriptions to order glasses in a number of different styles. Customers shop for contacts and eyeglasses at Zenni Optical because of the selection and number of styles available through the website. Incredibly, eyeglasses on this website start at $6.95, with a maximum cost of $46.00. At these prices, you can’t go wrong, especially with average costs for eyeglasses nearing $300 at your local optometrist.
How Zenni Optical Works
Zenni Optical allows customers to buy cheap eyeglasses online. In order to buy glasses from the website, you have to provide some specific information from your eye doctor, including your prescription and eyeglasses measurements.
Providing Your Prescription & Measurements
The Finding a Correct Size and Fit area of the website explains the measurements needed to order eyeglasses online. Your eye doctor doesn’t provide all of these measurements unless you request them during your annual appointment. Even then, some optometrists prefer not to give this information to patients, so you may need to call eye doctor offices in your area, to find out which doctors give out measurements for eyeglasses for patients who want to buy glasses online.
Specifically, to order eyeglasses online, you must know the length of the frame, lens, bridge, and temple arm. You must also know the distance between your pupils, called the pupillary distance. You can find some of these measurements on eyeglasses that you own today, but for the greatest accuracy, you need to get the PD measurement from your eye doctor.
Zenni Optical provides instructions for calculating measurements using your eyeglasses prescription and provides tips for finding your own pupillary distance measurement and reading your prescription. The website also enables you to “try on” glasses, using the interactive Zenni Frame Fit system. You can upload a photo, or use one of the stock photos on the website. Choose the glasses you want to try on, to get a better idea of how the glasses might look on you.
Anti-scratch coating, thin or lightweight lenses, UV protection, an eyeglasses case, and a microfiber cleaning cloth come free with every order. You can purchase anti-reflective coating for your glasses for $4.95, and select lens tinting for an additional $4.95.
Zenni Optical offers single vision, or standard, eyeglasses and also offers inexpensive bifocal and progressive, or no-line bifocal, lenses for many of their frames. You can order clip-on sunshades for some of the glasses available on the website. You can order glasses without prescription lenses, or you can also order just the eyeglasses frames. You pay only $4.95 to have your entire order shipped to the U.S.
While Zenni Optical offers some excellent discounts on various styles of glasses, what do you give up by forgoing your local optometrist? Local optical shops and larger chain stores typically offer a no-hassle return policy. For example, LensCrafters and Sears Optical both have a 90-day unconditional return policy.
Zenni Optical only offers 50% of the value of the glasses if you decide to return them, and does not typically refund shipping and handling costs. You incur all costs to return glasses to Zenni Optical, no matter what the reason for the return. If you cannot return the eyeglasses within 30 days, you won’t receive any refund at all.
Can online purveyors of optical products ever replace local eye doctors? While some people will always choose to visit their local eye doctor to have their optical prescriptions filled, others can benefit from the huge cost savings available by shopping online. We’ve compiled a list of some of the pros and cons of shopping at Zenni Optical for your next pair of glasses.
- Price. Zenni Optical offers a deep discount compared to your average optical shop. As noted above, the average price for a pair of glasses is $263. You can buy a new pair of glasses from Zenni Optical for $6.95 plus shipping, for a discount of around 95%. With this cost savings, you can stay in style and frequently update your prescription, while still saving a lot of money.
- Quality. Customers give Zenni Optical products an excellent quality rating on consumer review websites. For the most part, customers report no difference in quality of the prescription or condition of the glasses between those purchased from a local eye doctor and a discount eyeglasses retailer. In addition, most customers state that their Zenni Optical glasses have excellent durability.
- Simplicity. Zenni Optical offers a simple, one-stop shop for purchasing your glasses. You have to obtain a prescription, and all of the measurements noted here, and then sign up for an account on the website. Once you create an account and choose the glasses you want to order, you can enter your prescription and measurement information, and details about your form of payment, and Zenni Optical sends the glasses to your home.
- Convenience. You can choose from a number of different styles, and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. You still have to pay for shipping, but the cost is mitigated by the cheap prices.
- Style. Zenni Optical offers a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes, and colors of glasses. You have an excellent chance of finding your next perfect pair of glasses, while saving money. With such low prices, you can also afford to buy multiple styles and colors to try out.
- No On-site Evaluation. When you order glasses from Zenni Optical, you can’t try on the eyeglasses before you buy – a major downside to purchasing a pair of glasses online. The interactive Zenni Frame Fit system allows customers to upload their photos and overlay different glasses to see how they might look, but this doesn’t replace trying on eyeglasses in person.
- Lack of Selection. While Zenni Optical offers many different styles, colors, and designs, they do not offer the same selection as your neighborhood optometrist. Moreover, since Zenni Optical sells discount frames and lenses, you won’t find designer, trendy frames for $6.95.
- Challenging Return Policy. On consumer review websites, the common complaints about Zenni Optical typically focus on their return policy. If you don’t like your glasses, you may have a challenging time returning them. However, if the website has made an error, and sent you the wrong pair, or sent you glasses with an incorrect prescription, you can get a full refund for the glasses, and a partial refund of the shipping and handling costs. If you return your glasses for any other reason, you only receive 50% of the value of your glasses, and you do not receive a refund for shipping and handling costs.
- No Custom Fitting. When you visit a traditional optometrist, the salesperson usually takes painstaking steps to ensure that the glasses fit your face, ears, and bridge of your nose to a tee. You do not receive this important step of the fitting process when you buy glasses online. You may find an optometrist that agrees to adjust your Zenni Optical glasses, but the problem may lie in the fit of the glasses, which you cannot fix with an adjustment.
- Lack of Important Prescription Information. Many doctors won’t give you the PD (Pupillary Distance) measurement on your prescription, since most optical shops take this measurement when they sell you frames and lenses. When receiving your prescription, you must specifically request this information from your optometrist. Even better, call ahead and ask if the doctor can give you this information during your appointment.
If you need new glasses, you owe it to yourself to check out Zenni Optical. Many people want trendy, stylish glasses, but for the rest of us, inexpensive glasses work well to solve our vision problems. Even if you can’t find the exact pair you want to buy, for $6.95, you can find a pair to act as a substitute until you can afford the pair you really want. Zenni Optical offers cheap, good quality glasses shipped straight to your door.
Have you ever used Zenni Optical to buy cheap eyeglasses? What was your experience like?