Guide to Buying Cheap Rimless Glasses OnlineSubmit to del.icio.us | digg it! | Submit to Slashdot
Eyeglasses are one of the only “accessories” that society allows a guy to wear. I’ve always admired how they showed my intellect. Every time I see a friend with a pair of nifty glasses, I want to try them on to see how they would look on me. In the past, I’ve often wanted a fake pair. Maybe they would come in handy at a job interview to make me look smarter, more skilled, and more mature in the eyes of my potential future employer. Little did I know that I would actually need these medical devices!
It all started out when I had trouble seeing the signs on the road. At first, I thought, “DPS should make bigger signs!” Then, my sister pointed out that it was not hard at all for her to see the letters. We compared what signs we could and could not see and I realized that my years of long computer use finally caught up to me. I tried on a pair of my friend’s glasses (who had the same vision as me) and I exclaimed, “I was blind but now I see!” It was an epiphany-like experience like I was living in a whole new world.
Right then and there, I decided that I needed eyeglasses. But not just any glasses! No, no! Fashionable glasses! I bought framed glasses at Eyemasters … and returned them in two weeks. I wanted the rimless variety, not that cheap semi-rimless knockoff. Rimless glasses are one of the hottest styles in the market. Too bad that they are also one of the most expensive types to make. To obtain a decent pair, the optician must drill very precise holes into the lens. The lens also has to be made of polycarbonate plastic or it will very likely shatter and/or scratch. These two requirements coupled with their popularity of rimless eye wear set prices back at least $300 retail price!
Online Eyeglass Retail
When I learned this from Eyemasters, I thought, “I don’t think so.” There has got to be a better way! So, I turned to that mass body of knowledge called the Internet. I discovered a couple of articles written by people who bought their eye wear over the Internet. I thought, “That’s as crazy as buying a jacket online!” The truth is, I’ve done that as well. In my search, I discovered a site called My Optical Shop based in Taipei, Taiwan/China. They have a wide selection of frames, including the rimless variety. Like many online eye wear retailers, they also offer a “Works Treatment” for free or low cost. “The Works Treatment” is what I call the combo of anti-reflective coating, anti-scratch coating, anti-UV-rays coating, and polycarbonate material lens. With each rimless frame, you can choose between a wide plethora of lens shapes, 30 to be exact.
Just choose your frame/lens and fax/email the prescription to My Optical Shop. In fact, a prescription is not even required since Taipei is not within the jurisdiction of the United States. Just tell them the refraction on each lens. You can even send them your current glasses and they’ll duplicate the specifics. Expect your pair in about two weeks unless you pay for rush processing and shipment.
Things to Keep in Mind
In my experience, I’ve learned a couple of things to remember before buying glasses online.
When buying glasses online, you need to have an idea of the basic shape and size of the lens you want. I actually went to a couple of brick and mortar retailers like Lens Crafters and tried dozens of demos. I wrote down the dimensions of the lens, the basic shape, and the make/model so that I could reference it online.
Believe it or not, opticians have a very important task that many optometrists fail to do. Opticians measure the distance between your pupils so that they know where to put the best focus on the lens. This is why it is not a wise idea to shop for reading glasses at the dollar store. Those glasses are not tailored to your pupil distance, let alone different refraction requirements for each eye. The online eyeglass retailers need you to specify your pupillary distance before buying the glasses. You can measure it yourself in the mirror or have a friend do it for you. Or when your optometrist writes the prescription, ask him or her to include the pupillary distance as well. Most people will oblige. For me, I was lucky because the optician who sold me my first pair (that I returned) wrote the millimeter distance on the prescription.
Many people are wary of sending their credit card information online. I usually am not worried but look at the website! I certainly would not give that information to an overseas merchant in Taipei with a website looking like that and many discount online eyeglass retails do look like that! To overcome this fear, obtain a virtual credit card number. Many credit card companies give you “disposable” one-time-use numbers for online purchases like these. If you need any ideas, get a citi card. Or, just buy a VISA/Mastercard gift card at the convenience store.
If you subscribe to vision insurance, many companies reimburse for out-of-network claims if you just send them the invoice. My insurance with Spectara reimburses me up to 100 dollars. Contact your vision provider for details.
When you actually receive your pair in the mail, don’t expect the glasses to look perfect the first time you put them on! I had to adjust the nose piece a bit to conform to my face.
Other Articles and Websites
Like I said above, I found out about this by reading articles about other individuals’ experiences on purchasing eyeglasses online. I suggest you read them as well. Try Eyeglasses Stores are for Suckers, Find cheap glasses online, and Glassy Eyes | Shattering the Eyeglass Scam. Do not purchase anything before reading these articles. They will save you a lot of trouble!
My Eyeglass Specifications
That’s me, on the right, happy with my new glasses. For my friends visiting this article (Robyn and Phyllis), here are the specifics for my pair of rimless glasses.
Retailer: My Optical Shop
Frame: Rimless Hingeless Frame - Light Brown #16
Frame SKU: SKU2187
Pupil Distance: 64 mm
Lens Type: Premium feather hi-index 1.56 lens
Lens Shape: L18
Lens Dimensions: 48 mm x 28 mm
Lens Treatments: Premium anti-reflective / anti-glare coating, premium anti-scratch coating, UV400 protection coating, and gleaming polishing of rimless lens edge polishing
Dream Glasses: Marchon Airlock Rimless 720/17 48-21-28 Graphite
Cost of Dream Glasses: Upwards of $300.00
Cost of My Glasses Online: $52.10
Other Notes: I would opt for the high-index (thinner) lenses, which add about $10. I would keep the dimensions of my lens put change it to a different shape. Mine tend to get wider towards the hinge ends and form a butterfly-like shape. But, you can barely tell since the entire lens is transparent.
Truthfully, I can see better with my overseas pair than with my pair from Eyemasters. Online discount eyewear websites are worth a shot! Ask any questions or share your experiences below in the comment box!
Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2007