I had heard about Zenni Optical from Mom who heard about them from Clark Howard. He raves about how cheaply you can get mail order glasses from them. I wasn’t real happy with the clip-on sunglasses that came with my new glasses I got last year from Lenscrafters. They were connected by magnets, but not very securely and the extra weight made my nose hurt after wearing the glasses with sunglasses for a while.
I had looked at the Zenni Optical website before but I needed my pupil distance (distance between my two pupils) which was not part of my prescription. So that held me back, but when I was at Lenscrafters I asked for that measurement and wrote it down for use later (65 mm; it turns out it isn’t that hard to get someone to hold a ruler over your eyes and tell you what it is).
So anyway, I picked out some frames (they have different prices and options, but a lot of frames are only $8, including the lenses!). I wanted some black plastic frames that would make the sunglasses look like Rayban Wayfarers (like Tom Cruise in Risky Business) because those should be cheap and look good on just about anybody. I didn’t find anything close and wound up picking some wire rim aviator glasses (thinking I would get better coverage than the little rectangular ones that go on my regular glasses). I wanted to run it by Susan to make sure they were okay so I actually ordered from her house. It was $8 for the frames and lenses and $4.95 for the tinting to 80%. It was another $4.95 for shipping (straight from China). When I ordered the glasses it said that these frames were too big for my pupil distance. Knowing that I have a pretty large head, I had Susan check the pupil distance and I think we got it right. So I wound up placing the order for similar, but smaller, frames (they give you measurements of the frames, but the problem is you can’t really tell the size by looking at them or tell what they will look like on online), but then had two items in my cart and I wound up deleting the wrong one. After placing the order they sent me an e-mail, seemingly from a real person fluent in English, saying there was a problem with my order and I was able to go back to the smaller frame.
Before I placed the order, Susan got her reading glasses prescription and we ordered a pair of $8 glasses for her too. They didn’t charge extra shipping for the second pair, so for $25.90 we got two pairs of prescription glasses.
They arrived today. The frames were smaller than I thought, but they seem decent enough. They’re not totally cheap and the hinge is spring-loaded even. I placed the order on March 17 and they just arrived today, so Zenni isn’t any good if you are in a hurry (mine probably took longer because of the tinting and because I messed up my order), but if you want some cheap glasses, a second pair, or want something kind of wild and different but don’t want to risk a lot of money, it’s a good way to go.