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Are you paying too much for eye glasses?

I’ve worn prescription glasses for nearly 30 years. I always dreaded a change in my vision because that meant a huge hit to bank account and less change in my pocket. I’ve used most of the optical offices in the area. It didn’t seem to matter where I went, I always spent hundreds of dollars.

A few years ago, a friend told me about online optical stores. I was skeptical at first. Then I looked at the glasses she had ordered and decided to give them a try. What the heck, right? I like having a backup pair, anyway. I bought a complete pair of single vision glasses from for less than $30.00. They were great! I had spent $245.00 for my last pair at a place here in town.

I was hooked after that! I have purchased several pairs of glasses from Zenni since my friend’s recommendation. It’s so simple to order. You go on the website, pick out what you want, put them in your cart, fill out your particulars, and purchase. All you need is your prescription and a credit/debit card or a PayPal account. I use PayPal whenever possible. I feel like it’s pretty secure.

Vision insurance was offered through my employer for the very first time this year. I haven’t had vision insurance in many years, so I happily signed up. Unfortunately, my eye doctor wasn’t listed as a provider, so I had to find a new one.

Everyone was very nice at my new optometrist’s office. I had an extremely thorough eye exam. My insurance covered the cost of the exam at 100%. It also covered most of my frames and had a lens allowance. I thought I would be walking out of the office paying around $40.00 or $50.00 for my new glasses. This is an example of me being very, very wrong.

My new eye doctor told me that I was in desperate need of bifocals and highly recommended I get no-line lenses. I agreed. I was led into a little room with some frames to make my selection. I chose a pair that was $25.00 above my frame allowance, but didn’t worry about the difference. I was still certain that I wouldn’t be spending very much money. I was shocked when my part of the total came to $250.00. My insurance also covered $250.00 making the cost of my new glasses $500.00.

I was dumbfounded. I felt trapped and panicked. They had everything all written up, and I had been in their office for over three hours at that point. I’d been paying for vision insurance all year. I didn’t know if Zenni sold bifocals, let alone no-line bifocals. So, I paid for the glasses. Then I waited three weeks for them to arrive. They were a week later than promised.

In the meantime, I became more and more irked. So, I looked on Zenni’s site and discovered that they sell both lined and no-line lenses. I decided to order a pair from them and see what difference was, if anything. I need a backup pair because I’m hard on things. I also have two grandchildren, and one of them always goes for my glasses with his ninja-like quickness. He just turned one year old.

I chose a pair of glasses that was similar in size and shape to the pair I bought here in town. I actually liked the frames that I ordered online much better. My total for a complete pair of no-line bifocals from Zenni was $60.80.

I received my new glasses in approximately two weeks, and compared them to my $500.00 ones. The only difference in the lenses that I can see is that the expensive pair has tiny clear circles on them to mark where the reading focal starts. There are no marks on the lenses of my online pair. Can you tell which pair was $500.00 and which was $60.80 from the picture below? They are both the exact same prescription.

Cheap eye glasses

The pair on the left are the ones from the eye doctor, and the pair on the right came from Zenni. Do you see a $439.20 difference? I usually do my homework before buying something expensive. I erroneously assumed that my glasses would be affordable because I had vision insurance this year. I should have known better. I also should have told the nice people at the optometrist’s office that I was going to hold off on ordering glasses for the moment. I panicked and paid too much.

There are many online optical stores. Zenni is just the one that my friend recommended. I’ve been happy with their products, so I stayed with them. A simple internet search shows several other online optical stores.

Just remember that if you buy online, you have to adjust your glasses yourself. It isn’t a big deal to me, but I’ve been adjusting my own glasses since I got my very first pair at the age of 16. No one can ever seem to get them quite right.

Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you have enjoyed my seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to my blog at, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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