Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

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StevieG72
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Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby StevieG72 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:08 pm

Where do Bogleheads recommend getting eyeglasses? Not interested in contacts.

No vision insurance. My employer doesnt provide it :( , self employed :D .

Leaning towards Costco or America's Best.

I have never had glasses before but am coming to the realization that I likely need them.
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tic
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby tic » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:15 pm

Zenni Optical. $12 for my last pair and they were still fine when I replaced them (with another pair from Zenni) 8 years later.

Not being able to try on frames is a little difficult, but they provide so many measurements for each frame that you can measure a frame you have and like and find something similar on the website.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby drawpoker » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:18 pm

Whatever you do - Don't buy your new glasses at the eye doctor who performed your exam. They will try and steer you to these grossly-overpriced lenses and frames. By law, they have to give you your prescription before you walk out.

Lens Crafters has frequent sales and tons and tons of choices in frames. I like Pearle Vision too.

If you are near a Boscov's (my absolute favorite store :D ) the optical dept frequently advertises a deal where your discount goes by your age - 50% off in your fifties; 60% off in your sixties, and so forth.

(Not sure if a 100 year old person were to come in and get a pair of glasses for free, though.) :?

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby stan1 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:36 pm

I bought a pair from Warby Parker last year and will probably do so again. They have a retail store near me. Unlike most other opticians they have frames well organized by size so you don't spend a lot of time looking through frames that are too small or too big.

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dm200
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby dm200 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:47 pm

My wife watches frequently and closely for "deals" and sales. She often finds Lenscrafters having the best deals when they have "50% off" sales or two for the price of one.

For the glasses I wear now, I got those at Lenscrafters at "50% Off" and selected the middle price lenses. I believe I had three choices (different price) and picked the middle. I suspect that the "value" of the more expensive lenses is quite subjective and differs from one person to another.

123
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby 123 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:50 pm

If you're a member Costco is probably your best bet. It's usually easy to make an appointment with their Optometrist for a prescription (15 minute appointment for $75 or less) and then order glasses from their optical department (usually arrive in 2 weeks or less). Since it's your first pair I think the selection of frames at Costco should be wide enough, the selection of frames available at a typical optical storefront can be overwhelming, especially for a newbie. If you go to Costco it might be hard to spend more then $250 - $300 total (unless you go for something really exotic). If you go into that glitzy optical storefront that commissioned shark in disguise behind the counter won't let you leave without spending $500 - $1,000 for a single pair (and the receipt will have a lot of mumbo jumbo on it that details the exotics of how each lens was ground to make you feel better).
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby dm200 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:59 pm

In my case, my health plan (Kaiser) offers low copay ($20) Optometry exams - so I have the prescription when I go shopping. I would lean towards an Optometry full exam by my own Optometrist instead of one from Costco or Lenscrafters, etc. I would want the full and independent exam where an Optometrist checks as much medically as possible and not just the refraction. My Optometrist (Kaiser) has full access to my medical records (including Ophthalmologists) and does the pupil dilation, eye pressure and checking the Optic nerve, etc.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby mckaydw » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:19 pm

I've purchased several sets of glasses from zennioptical.com, you can't beat their prices. We're talking $10-50 for frames, lenses, coatings, everything.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby sport » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:25 pm

I bought my last pair of glasses from Costco. I got titanium frames and bifocal lenses with scratch resistant coating. The cost was less than $200.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby VegasBH » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:30 pm

Has anyone purchased frames from zenni and lenses from costco? I figure that might be the best way to get an optometrist to adjust my frames and get my pupil distance right.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby sport » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:36 pm

VegasBH wrote:Has anyone purchased frames from zenni and lenses from costco? I figure that might be the best way to get an optometrist to adjust my frames and get my pupil distance right.

Some Bogleheads have reported Costco not willing to put lenses in frames purchased elsewhere.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby mrc » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:43 pm

I've gone three ways: LensCrafters, Costco, and Zenni.

LensCrafters with insurance cost 2-3 times as much as Costco. Check out a 60 minutes story above vertical integration of EyeMed (insurance), LensCrafters (glasses) and luxottica (frames). The mark up will astound you. I don't use LensCrafters any more after a new pair cost nearly $400 with insurance (polycarb, progressive).

Costco measures IP distance (left and right) and segment height (if you have bifocal/progressives). About $120 for glasses and frames with same Rx as the LensCrafters pair.

I ordered a pair of sunglasses from Zenni just to see how they would do. Mid-level polycarb, progressive, non polarized. $83. I can tolerate an "average" seg height in sunglasses. But I do feel a pull when I switch between the regular and sunglasses. Using measurements, the frame fits fine. Not quite my favorite style, but good enough considering the price. With options, I could have made the sunglasses more expensive than Costco. That defeats the purpose.

When I first left LensCrafters, I ordered a regular pair from eyebuydirect.com and had to return them because the progressive correction was in the wrong place. And for the sunglasses, eyebuy was more expensive than Costco, the Zinni website was better for frame sizes.

The plainer your Rx, and especially for single vision correction, you can really beat Zenni or Costco. For progressive, I would lean toward Costco for the segment height measurement.
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby GMan82 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:49 pm

An eye exam is considered routine and preventative. Your regular health insurance will likely cover that plus an eye dilating exam, too, free of charge. Mine did. I don't have separate vision insurance. They will also provide discounts on frames/lenses.

I like Warby Parker. You can get a trial of 5 frames sent home for 5 days. They are very reasonably priced at $95 total for frames/lenses, and it includes polycarbonate lenses.

You should check them out.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby drawpoker » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:52 pm

I wonder, though, if the OP is on Medicare instead of regular health insurance.

Speaking of needing glasses - What's wrong with the mods here? Surely, I thought by now they would have yanked this thread out of Finance and put it in Consumer folder :shock:

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby stan1 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:55 pm

Many health insurance plans do not cover eye exams. As an example for federal employees it is additional coverage purchased separately from health insurance and for many people it is not a good deal even if you replace your glasses frequently.

Vision care for adults is not a minimum essential benefit under ACA.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby sport » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:31 pm

drawpoker wrote:Speaking of needing glasses - What's wrong with the mods here? Surely, I thought by now they would have yanked this thread out of Finance and put it in Consumer folder :shock:

The moderators cannot read all of the many posts within a short period of time. That is why the ! button appears on every post. You can help the moderators by using it when you see something wrong, such as a post being in the wrong forum. It is also against the forum rules to criticize the forum administration publicly. If you have a problem with the administration of the forum, a private message to a moderator is the proper avenue to express it.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby Toons » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:35 pm

Just got a couple pair form Walmart,
Nikon lens
Titanium frame
20% off 2nd pair.
1st pair priced very very reasonable.
:happy
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sport
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby sport » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:36 pm

Toons wrote:Just got a couple pair form Walmart,
Nikon lens
Titanium frame
20% off 2nd pair.
1st pair priced very very reasonable.
:happy

Would you like to share the cost?

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby LadyGeek » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:14 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (eyeglasses).

drawpoker wrote:I wonder, though, if the OP is on Medicare instead of regular health insurance.

Speaking of needing glasses - What's wrong with the mods here? Surely, I thought by now they would have yanked this thread out of Finance and put it in Consumer folder :shock:

Reporting the post (the "!" in the top-right corner of the post) would get our attention sooner. One of the reasons is "Wrong forum".
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby HIinvestor » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:27 pm

We live 5 minutes from Costco and it has been our primary place for glasses and contacts for decades. The prices are reasonable, decent selection, and they provide free service including replacing glasses if they break within a year, free nose pad replacement, free adjustments. If you buy multiple pairs, you get a discount off each additional pair.

Our S has bought some zenni and other glasses because they're so cheap but I note he mostly wears the Costco ones.

I have no reason to switch to another place for glasses and am happy Costco optical stays in business. They do a good job of measuring and providing glasses that serve all of us well. I did buy some transition Rx glasses that were supposed to darken when driving in bright daylight and then lighten when indoors. They didn't function as we expected and our money was cheerfully refunded, no questions asked. H had the same experience.

They've cheerfully replaced several other glasses over the years at no charge as well--one had paint chip off on a frame, one had coating spot on the lenses, one had lenses crack on the edges.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby dm200 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:31 pm

stan1 wrote:Many health insurance plans do not cover eye exams. As an example for federal employees it is additional coverage purchased separately from health insurance and for many people it is not a good deal even if you replace your glasses frequently.
Vision care for adults is not a minimum essential benefit under ACA.


In some plans, Optometry exams are part of health coverage. As far as I know, for example, in this area (Washington DC), Kaiser (including large numbers of federal employees and retirees, as well as Medicare) covers Optometry exams for a low copay (sometimes no copay). Ophthalmology (medically necessary) would be covered and in some cases when you see an Ophahalmologist and at the same appointment have refraction (often by Optometrist), part of the visit is covered.

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dm200
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby dm200 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:33 pm

sport wrote:
drawpoker wrote:Speaking of needing glasses - What's wrong with the mods here? Surely, I thought by now they would have yanked this thread out of Finance and put it in Consumer folder :shock:

The moderators cannot read all of the many posts within a short period of time. That is why the ! button appears on every post. You can help the moderators by using it when you see something wrong, such as a post being in the wrong forum. It is also against the forum rules to criticize the forum administration publicly. If you have a problem with the administration of the forum, a private message to a moderator is the proper avenue to express it.


Yes.

In addition, I suspect there are many folks like me that look at all the posts - not just those in one category or another. For those like me, then, we would not notice this at all.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby drawpoker » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:33 pm

Relax, it was not actual "criticism" of the mods at all - just another take on "I see" said the blind man.

Just could not resist the obvious joke here just begging to be voiced - the juxtaposition of a thread concerning the need for reading glasses, and being able to use the handy-dandy emoticon of the guy who looks exactly like he is wearing the very same ridiculous looking glasses that George purchased in that episode of "Seinfeld".
:shock:

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby heartwood » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:03 pm

sport wrote:
VegasBH wrote:Has anyone purchased frames from zenni and lenses from costco? I figure that might be the best way to get an optometrist to adjust my frames and get my pupil distance right.

Some Bogleheads have reported Costco not willing to put lenses in frames purchased elsewhere.


We had Costco put progressive lenses into a pair of new Warby Parker frames just this month (March 2017). They're currently putting new progressive lenses into another pair of non-Costco frames that they did a few years ago. They'll tell you it depends on the frames whether they'll do it, but will confirm it in the store at the time of your order. There's a $16 ($18?) charge for outside frames. We've never been refused at several Costco's around the country. It's about a 2 week process. YMMV.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby random_walker_77 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:52 pm

Last year, when my 2nd grader got glasses, I picked up 2 backup pairs for my son from goggles4u and it was $26, shipped. They worked as well as the ones that we got through insurance, and actually cost less than the copay.

This year, he needed new glasses. So we just had him wear his backup pair while the optometrist sent in his nice frames to get refitted with new lenses. I ordered 2 additional pairs of backup glasses for $13, shipped. Also a pair of prescription sunglasses for $14. They took a little longer than the optometrist (2 weeks vs 1) but we're happy with them. Certainly as backup pairs, no problem.

I've also heard good things about zenni optical but haven't tried them.

Advice:
1) when you get your prescription, have them write down your PD (distance between pupils).
2) Whether you go with zenni optical, goggles4u, or others, do google for "(store name) coupon"

coupon links:
https://www.retailmenot.com/view/goggles4u.com
https://www.retailmenot.com/view/zennioptical.com
Last edited by random_walker_77 on Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby random_walker_77 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:52 pm

[mis-post]

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby MikeWillRetire » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:14 pm

For single vision glasses, Zenni is great. But you have to have your pupillary distance, and that can be hard to get from optometrists. But if you buy a pair of cheap glasses from Costco, they will put your pupillary distance on your receipt. Save it, and try Zenni the next time.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby climber2020 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:16 pm

Medical insurance will typically not cover simple vision exams. But if you go to the ophthalmologist and tell them your eyes feel a little dry sometimes, then that would be covered as a medical visit and you can get a glasses prescription at the same time.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby random_walker_77 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:06 pm

oh, and regarding costco eyeglasses, the quality there is quite good. Here's an insightful thread I once came across, "How do you compete against Costco"

Lots of angry optometrists there...

http://www.optiboard.com/forums/showthr ... post296364

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby drawpoker » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:21 pm

climber2020 wrote:Medical insurance will typically not cover simple vision exams. But if you go to the ophthalmologist and tell them your eyes feel a little dry sometimes, then that would be covered as a medical visit and you can get a glasses prescription at the same time.


True enough.

But Medicare will only cover the fee for the exam, (determine cause of dry eye) Not the cost of the glasses.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby HoosierJim » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:24 pm

Eye exam at Costco $60

2 Pairs at Zenni Optical - $9 each plus $5 shipping = $23.

My glasses are simple but why involve an insurance company if you need glasses? It's like insurance for oil changes on your car.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby nalor511 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:53 pm

Zenni and goggles4u are all very cheap, but zenni only offers 30 days warranty, and you can only get a 50% refund or a 100% one-time exchange, and goggles4u differs depending on the circumstance. My glasses typically take 14-21 days to arrive. Zenni customer support is REALLY slow nowadays, it used to be fast.

I've been having really good luck with eyebuydirect, and they have great offers on the coupons page (just poke around their website or use google). Eyebuydirect has a 14 day no questions asked refund or exchange warranty, and 365 day warranty against breakage/defects. So if your glasses break on day 364, you're covered. Plus, WAY cheaper than an in-person store. My glasses typically take 7-10 days to arrive. Eyebuydirect has live chat, and responds to emails in about 24 hours

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby gd » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:12 am

The expensive, careful, experienced optician teamed with my optometrist of 25-30 years in the same office. I tried Lenscrafters a few times during about a 10 year period, and had several bad experiences ranging from mis-grinding the lenses, to egregiously bad advice about lens material in response to my careful questions and information. I then had a good hard think about how important vision is to me, how much money I fritter away on unimportant stuff, returned to the optician and optometrist, and never looked back on spending $500-1000 every few years on being able to see as well as possible for whatever my current phase of life happens to include. My insurance includes a "vision plan" offering a small discount on glasses, and I honestly don't even recall if my medical insurance includes optometrist exams.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby Parthenon » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:00 am

Over the last twenty years I've been using America's Best. If you don't get all the fancy extras they try to sell you can get two pairs and the eye exam for their advertised price. Bifocals will cost more but not that much. Since getting cataracts removed I no longer need glasses except for reading so I don't need their services anymore. Check out their ads: http://www.americasbest.com/

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby jealkon » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:50 pm

Any place other than Americas best for me. Bought two pair of glasses from them and within 1 year, the lens seperated from the frame, in same place, on both pair. Took them back and was told, nothing we can do for you, they are out of warranty. Offerd to sell me two new pair with NO discount of any kind

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby sperry8 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:28 pm

StevieG72 wrote:Where do Bogleheads recommend getting eyeglasses? Not interested in contacts.

No vision insurance. My employer doesnt provide it :( , self employed :D .

Leaning towards Costco or America's Best.

I have never had glasses before but am coming to the realization that I likely need them.


If you have healthcare insurance (even without vision) sometimes it comes along with a program that offers a 20% discount on eyeglasses and exams. For example, I have Blue Cross and they automatically include (at no add'l cost) a 20% discount program from https://www.mesvision.com/homepage.htm

Anyway, worth checking to see if your plan has something similar.
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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby dutchglider » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:53 pm

Zenni if your prescription is single-vision, maybe for progressive.

I have had great luck getting several pairs of single prescription.

I think progressive is harder to fit so the local hands on optician might be needed.
(That's was DW experience).

I found the Zenni plastic lenses without "scratch resistant" add-on ($$$) are more scratch resistant than glasses made with the
non-premium scratch resistant coating.

Good luck.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby Crimsontide » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:03 pm

Another vote for Zenni. Got my usual conservative frame with hi-index 1.74 progressive lens with the usual coatings, $100 out the door. Makes me crazy thinking about how bad I've been gouged over the years by my eye care professional :oops:

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:50 pm

In terms of online sources, my experience has been it depends on two things:

1) The complexity of the prescription; and
2) What the promotions happen to be.

The last time I went that route I used $39 Glasses, not Zenni. For the progressive prescription I had, and the coating I needed, after a coupon they were less expensive than anybody else I checked (after applying their coupons).

I think it depends on the individual and on specifically when one is buying.

PJW

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby Gatorbh » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:38 pm

Our health insurance includes eye exams but not glasses/contacts. We usually get our boys glasses at Walmart. They have "$9" frames in a decent selection. We usually opt for the photochromic lenses which darken automatically in bright light. About $90 total. They come with a year warranty. Key for boys! We've taken pieces/parts of broken frames in on several occasions with great service. We've ordered 'backup' glasses from Zenni. Work well. You do need your pupillary distance to order glasses online. Easy to do with a partner and any ruler with millimeter markings. We haven't found the frames from Zenni to be quite as durable.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby dm200 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:08 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:In terms of online sources, my experience has been it depends on two things:
1) The complexity of the prescription; and
2) What the promotions happen to be.
The last time I went that route I used $39 Glasses, not Zenni. For the progressive prescription I had, and the coating I needed, after a coupon they were less expensive than anybody else I checked (after applying their coupons).
I think it depends on the individual and on specifically when one is buying.
PJW


Very true.

Although it seems less frequent now, sometimes places "pitch" options that cost more, but provide little benefit. Depending on the circumstances, some "coatings" and "tinting" might be some examples.

I am not sure how to evaluate lens options such as "Varilux" - which costs considerably more, but is supposed to offer clearer distance vision over a wider field. I selected the "middle" quality and I am fine just turning my head a bit to look at things straight on.

Many, many decades ago, when I first wore glasses (as a teenager), we did not have to buy frames every time the prescription changed. The Optician would get the new lenses and just pop out the old lenses and pop the new ones into your existing frames as you wait. Now, you would have to leave the frames for a period while they do that or, as seems to be often the case, they may not be able (or willing) to do lenses for existing frames.

:happy When I "run the world" it will be a requirement for standardized frames and lenses! :happy

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby Sandtrap » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:47 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:In terms of online sources, my experience has been it depends on two things:

1) The complexity of the prescription; and
2) What the promotions happen to be.

The last time I went that route I used $39 Glasses, not Zenni. For the progressive prescription I had, and the coating I needed, after a coupon they were less expensive than anybody else I checked (after applying their coupons).

I think it depends on the individual and on specifically when one is buying.

PJW

Agreed. Single vision lenses are rarely a problem. But my custom progressives can be difficult to get right. Cosco and Walmart has been good about redoing them to get them correct. Prices for no vision insurance is reasonably.
Ditto on previous poster mentioning getting them through the eye doc. Major expense without insurance.

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Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby rhornback » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:24 am

Toons wrote:Just got a couple pair form Walmart,
Nikon lens
Titanium frame
20% off 2nd pair.
1st pair priced very very reasonable.
:happy


I second this. I got a pair for my daughter last summer which turned out to be 1/2 the cost of visionworks or sears.

This came with a mid line lens which I think had non reflective coating, UV etc.

Her prescription is an easy one however.

rhornback
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:59 am

Re: Best place to get eyeglasses / no vision insurance

Postby rhornback » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:32 am

gd wrote:The expensive, careful, experienced optician teamed with my optometrist of 25-30 years in the same office. I tried Lenscrafters a few times during about a 10 year period, and had several bad experiences ranging from mis-grinding the lenses, to egregiously bad advice about lens material in response to my careful questions and information. I then had a good hard think about how important vision is to me, how much money I fritter away on unimportant stuff, returned to the optician and optometrist, and never looked back on spending $500-1000 every few years on being able to see as well as possible for whatever my current phase of life happens to include. My insurance includes a "vision plan" offering a small discount on glasses, and I honestly don't even recall if my medical insurance includes optometrist exams.


I ditto this. For myself at 48 and wearing progressive lenses while working with computers day in and day out, I feel more comfortable with a local supplier who I can go back to. But yes that costs $$$ but keep in mind they have personnel costs, rent, insurance, etc.

I tried some of the online glasses sites and it just seemed like I could not see as well. But maybe that is because I messed something up. For my son's disposable contact lenses I save a huge amount online though.


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