If you have bad eyes like I do, it’s crucial to get quality glasses and contact lenses. They can cost you a pretty penny, too – and many of us have little or no vision insurance coverage through work. Here are some great tips and options to keep you seeing clearly for less.
1. $39 DOLLAR GLASSES
Check out our own Mr. Cheap Stuff deals and coupons for this popular and well-reviewed online retailer. As you can figure by the name, prices start at $39 for a pair of metal or plastic single-vision eyeglasses in a variety of styles for men and women. Note we said "start at"; you’ll pay extra for things like bifocal or progressive lenses, anti-reflective coatings, tints and certain styles of frames. But if you just need a simple pair of glasses for work, reading or driving, this is a great site. I like the fact that you can print out an actual-size photo of your chosen frame, and also view the frame on men and women with different face shapes. And they give you a 100% quality guarantee. This company is based in New York and the glasses are U.S. made.
2. ORDER AS PRESCRIBED
To order glasses online, you’ll need a copy of your prescription. Did you know that in the U.S., there is a federal law that your prescription must be given to you at the end of your eye exam? If you lost it, you can always call your eye doc for a copy. And by the way, a contact lens prescription is NOT the same thing. You’ll need a specific glasses prescription.
Now, how do you read the prescription to enter it correctly online?
The top row (O.D.) is the information for your right eye.
The second row (O.S.) is the information for your left eye.
Fill in each number as it appears in your written prescription. You’ll see numbers labeled spherical, cylindrical and axis.
If you wear bifocals or reading glasses, your doctor will also write in an "ADD" power either to the right of, or below, your prescription for each eye. For example, your ADD power might be +1. When you enter your order online, just enter each number in the appropriate dropdown boxes provided on the order page.
3. KNOW HOW TO MEASURE YOURSELF
To order glasses online, you’ll need to provide not only your prescription but also your pupillary distance (the distance between the centers of your eyes).
To measure your Pupillary Distance (PD):
Place a millimeter ruler on the bridge of your nose. The ruler must be metric, not inches, in order to measure millimeters. Have a friend face you about arms length away. Have your friend measure the distance between the center of your pupils (the black dots in the middl e of your eyes). Or you can do it yourself simply by looking in the mirror. If you need your glasses on to do this, you can draw dots on the lenses where your pupils are (using a magic marker or highlighter); then take the glasses off and measure the distance between them.
4. GET CHEAPER CONTACTS ONLINE
Once again, Mr. Cheap Stuff comes through with some great discounts for you on contact lenses.
Vision Direct is a division of well-known retailer, Drugstore.com. Orders over $99 get free shipping, and they guarantee they will beat any competitor’s price by 105%. They are based in Washington state.
1-800-Get-Lens guarantees you will receive the exact type and brand of contact lenses specified in your order, sealed in the manufacturers’ sterile packaging at 50% lower than your local opticians and 15% lower than the other reputable online vendors.
To order contact=2 0lenses online, you’ll need a current contact lens (not glasses) prescription, the box from your current contact lenses, and the name of your eye doctor. Do not attempt to order contact lenses if you have not been already properly fitted for them.
5. COMPARISON SHOP FOR LENSES
If you want to quickly compare prices for the same contact lenses, try Lens Pundit. They display comparative prices from several companies including Lens.com and ACLens.com. So you can find your price, then use the Mr. Cheap Stuff coupon links to save even more.
6. CAN’T ORDER ONLINE? GET LOCAL.
There may be some reasons that a few folks can’t order glasses online. If you are very hard to fit for frames, or have a very unusual or strong prescription, or certain eye conditions, you may need to order glasses locally. But before you head off to one of the major chains, try your local optician and ask if they offer any sorts of discounts. Some of them will have a price matching policy or may discount your glasses if you also order contact lenses from them. It never hurts to ask.
Photo Credit via Flickr