Eyeglass lenses


By Patrick   Follow   Mon, 26 Nov 2012, 12:57pm   3,440 views   26 comments
In Menlo Park CA 94025   Watch (0)   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

Anyone know of a place I can get lenses made cheaply? The local optician wants $80 just for the anti-glare coating, and then more for thin lenses.

I'm pretty sure they're overcharging, so I'm wondering if there are any reliable websites where I can send glasses frames and just get the prescription lenses made, inserted, and and the glasses mailed back to me.

This place seems to charge $35 for the anti-glare coating that the local guy is asking $80 for:

http://www.replacealens.com/EyeglassLenses.html

But I don't know if they're any good. At least with the local guy, I can walk in if they're somehow bad.

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  1. CaptainShuddup


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    1   12:59pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    $80 is cheap I pay at least double that at Lens Crafters.

  2. curious2


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    2   1:08pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike  

    With your prescription information you can get a complete set of glasses including frames and even clip-on sunshades for less than $20:

    http://www.zennioptical.com/

    By "prescription information," I mean the diopters and related information, you don't need an actual doctor's note. Prescription information usually includes "pupillary distance," i.e. the distance between the centers of your two pupils (assuming you have two eyes); if you don't have it already written down then you can measure that yourself free:

    http://www.specsonthenet.com/pupillometer.jsp

    You'll also want the frame width, which may be printed on your old frames; sometimes they specify lens width and bridge width, which add up to the frame width. You can measure that with a tape measure.

    Lastly, you'll want the temple length, which is the distance from the frame back to the end of the temple if the temple were a straight line. Usually the temple bends down around the ear, so you'll want to measure the long way, i.e. following the curve not the hypotenuse. Often the temple length is printed on the temple.

    Eyeglass measurements and even diopters are subject to some imprecision so don't worry too much about it. A millimeter or a quarter of a diopter won't matter much. There are free online eye tests too, or you can go to a Mexican eye doctor and get a complete exam for $20.

    There is no reason to accept the American medical trap. They try to hold you hostage and demand ransom, but rather than reward them for that, it's much better to jump the fence and deal with honest practitioners at honest prices. That isn't to say American practitioners aren't honest people; many of them try to be, but they are trapped in a dishonest system of insurance shell-games, advertising, and in eyecare the Luxottica monopoly that owns most of the market (including both LensCrafters and Pearle Vision).

  3. Suburban Gal


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    3   1:08pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Anyone know of a place I can get lenses made cheaply?

    You can try Lense RX:

    http://lensesrx.com/293-supply-your-own-frames.html

  4. Patrick


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    4   3:09pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    With your prescription information you can get a complete set of glasses including frames and even clip-on sunshades for less than $20:

    http://www.zennioptical.com/

    Holy cow, Zenni claims to offer the anti-glare coating for $4.95.

    If it's the same coating, then why should I pay my local guy $80 for that?

  5. curious2


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    5   3:13pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    If it's the same coating, then why should I pay my local guy $80 for that?

    10:1 is a typical markup for American healthcare compared to the actual cost in places that don't have protected lobbies increasing it artificially. Personally I'm never on TV so I don't bother getting anti-glare coating, but if you want people to see your eyes during interviews it's probably worth the extra $5. I've been very happy with Zenni glasses and have had only positive feedback from the people to whom I've given them as gifts and recommended them. I don't work for Zenni or have any financial stake in their sales, I just can't stand the hostage mentality and learned helplessness that American healthcare seems to have induced, where victims suffering Stockholm Syndrome can only say "pay the ransom, pay more, make everybody pay more."

  6. bob2356


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    6   4:03pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    curious2 says

    I just can't stand the hostage mentality and learned helplessness that American healthcare seems to have induced, where victims suffering Stockholm Syndrome can only say "pay the ransom, pay more, make everybody pay more."

    Zenni Optical is out of California. Are you saying they aren't part of the American health care system. When did CA succeed from the union and get rid of lobbies increasing cost artificially?

  7. SoftShell


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    7   4:15pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    the glare is for the wearer, not for everyone else.
    i went cheap once, did not get the glare...those glasses lasted 1 day. it was that bad, especially at night...

    curious2 says

    Personally I'm never on TV so I don't bother getting anti-glare coating,

  8. Patrick


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    8   4:15pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Zenni seems to be an admirable example of the free market actually working. It's not good for high-priced opticians, but it's very good for consumers.

    I'm kind of surprised Zenni has not been shut down yet. They are definitely cutting into optician profits, and the lobbyists could use the usual "you're not licened to do that" approach.

    Kind of like the CA board of realtors tried to shut down FSBO sites for advertising real estate without a license. Yes, they really tried that.

  9. curious2


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    9   4:16pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    bob2356 says

    Zenni Optical is out of California. Are you saying they aren't part of the American health care system. When did CA succeed [sic] from the union....

    Bob, you really need to work on your spelling, and your sarcastic rhetorical questions don't make you seem smart, merely pugnacious. The website has a California address, but the glasses aren't made there.

  10. curious2


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    10   4:37pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I'm kind of surprised Zenni has not been shut down yet.

    The actual glasses are imported, so CA can't really shut them down entirely. Obamacare increases border enforcement spending to stop people importing / re-importing Rx drugs for their own use, but I don't know if that applies to glasses too. We'll see, or not. The current administration has shown remarkable creativity in mechanisms, e.g. using banking regulation to shut down credit card processing for WikiLeaks and kicking international pharmacies off Google by having the FTC fine the American search provider. Whistleblowers have been prosecuted for espionage, so who knows what might happen to competitors that dare undercut the protected revenues of companies that hire favored lobbyists.

  11. KgK one


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    11   5:10pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    you can get them cheaper online, order from mexico/china/india for about 10-25$

  12. Suburban Gal


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    12   5:37pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    The local optician wants $80 just for the anti-glare coating, and then more for thin lenses.
    I'm pretty sure they're overcharging, so I'm wondering if there are any reliable websites where I can send glasses frames and just get the prescription lenses made, inserted, and and the glasses mailed back to me.

    Four Eyes charges $89 for anti-glare coating so $80 isn't bad considering you'd pay far more for that at LensCrafters or Pearle Vision.

    IMHO, you get what you pay for and cheap always isn't the way to go.

  13. curious2


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    13   5:42pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Suburban Gal says

    IMHO, you get what you pay for....

    Everybody is entitled to their opinion, or at least we were before Obamacare, but in this instance your opinion is badly misplaced. I've had glasses from Pearle (one of Luxottica's brand names, along with LensCrafters - note spelling) and much cheaper glasses from Zenni, the Zenni glasses are at least as good. Luxottica is hugely profitable, they get what you pay for, you don't. They use your $$$ to pay for their advertising and marketing, including insurance "benefits" that offer you a "discount" at places like Pearle. If you do the math, you find that once again the insurance "discount" or "co-pay" is actually more than the total retail cost of what you're actually getting.

  14. Suburban Gal


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    14   5:59pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    I've had glasses from Pearle (one of Luxottica's brand names, along with LensCrafters - note spelling) and much cheaper glasses from Zenni, the Zenni glasses are at least as good.

    You're the exception. For most people, that's not always the case.

    My mom and I have had more expensive eyeglasses from Pearle and LensCrafters and less expensive ones from Four Eyes. Personally, we prefer the more expensive ones. The cheap ones are okay and do the trick for those who are looking at ways to save money, but the quality, in my opinion (which, as you said, I'm entitled to), just isn't there.

  15. justme


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    15   6:23pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Patrick, I have ordered from Zenni multiple times and the quality has been as good as (and sometimes even better than) glasses that cost 6x as much.

    I even spoke with them on the phone once to fix a mistake I had made, and I was duly impressed with how they handled the problem.

  16. Auntiegrav


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    16   6:31pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    www.39dollarglasses.com

    www.eyebuydirect.com

    I've ordered from both of these, but seem to have gravitated to the latter one the most. Just got mine replaced and two pairs for my daughter.

  17. imat


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    17   11:46pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    I love Zenni Optical. I have been getting glasses from them for years. Very good quality for the money. I always recommend Zenni Optical to all my friends.

  18. zzyzzx


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    18   9:31am Wed 28 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    curious2 says

    http://www.zennioptical.com/

    I don't even wear glasses, but even I knew this one. Everybody seems to love them.

    Otherwise I love my dollar store reading glasses (the ones at 99cents store on the Atlantic City Boardwalk are way better than the ones at Dollar Tree).

  19. elliemae


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    19   10:47pm Thu 29 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    Otherwise I love my dollar store reading glasses

    So far as readling glasses (aka cheaters), I tend to run them over with my car 'cause I'm getting in & out alot. I buy those folding glasses with little hard cases and have yet to break a pair, they can even stand getting run over by a compact car.

    I asked people at work about Zenni & the love it. It's one of the best -kept secrets.

  20. Patrick


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    20   1:50pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Will Zenni accept frames that I buy elsewhere and just make and insert the lenses?

  21. curious2


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    21   2:01pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Will Zenni accept frames that I buy elsewhere and just make and insert the lenses?

    Dunno - they answer e-mails pretty quickly though, or you might try the "Invite an expert" feature. Also their website offers live "chat", which can be copied & pasted.

  22. Patrick


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    22   2:25pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    OK, I send them an email.

    I read through their site and I'm pretty sure they don't accept any outside frames though.

  23. Patrick


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    23   5:35pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I got an answer pretty quickly:

    Unfortunately, we do not deal with lens only or offer lens replacement service. Please feel welcome to order a complete pair of glasses on our website.

    Thank you for selecting Zenni Optical for your vision needs.

    So it's their frames or nothing. At least they are clear about it.

  24. Suburban Gal


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    24   5:59pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick, since Lense RX says you can supply your own frames, you should opt for them.

  25. Peter P


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    25   6:02pm Fri 30 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Make sure you can good lenses though. Bad ones can hurt your eyesight.

  26. curious2


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    26   8:23pm Thu 6 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SoftShell says

    i went cheap once, did not get the glare...those glasses lasted 1 day. it was that bad, especially at night...

    I have never had a bad experience with glasses that did not have AR coating. But, your comment made me wonder what I might be missing, so I ordered two more pair from Zenni: one with the $5 AR coating, and one with the premium polycarbonate lens and $15 oleophobic AR coating. I tested them tonight.

    Both coatings reduced significantly reflections from bright light sources. But, looking at the glasses from the front, they also shifted the apparent color a bit. At an angle, the coating is visible as a color, although looking directly through it doesn't seem to affect the perception of color.

    The premium coating had a remarkable ability to repel water, and was easier to clean. I touched each lens with a wet finger, and the hydrophobic/oleophobic coating reduced noticeably the amount of water that transferred.

    Anyway it's been an interesting experiment. I'll probably wear the AR lenses for night driving and skiing. But, I was already happy with the plain lenses, with no coating, and emotionally I prefer the simpler and cheaper ones. So, I'd call the coating optional. The $34 glasses with premium polycarbonate AR lenses have advantages, but the ordinary $12 glasses were already good enough for me.

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