Proud Purchase of 2012: Prescription Glasses for $15

We asked our contributors to take a look back at their year in $$$. Annie Schutte recalled a top purchase. 

There are four things that you should know about me:

1. I am basically the stereotype of a 20/30-something hipster school librarian—i.e. glasses and the color black are essential parts of my identity and daily wardrobe.

2. I am super cheap (this is a well documented fact).

3. I hate to shop and generally avoid it at all costs unless I can do it online.

4. I developed a particular distaste for glasses shopping about five years ago when a glasses sales person told me the glasses I wanted to buy “made my face look big.” Who says that?? 

All of these facts together mean that my life was basically transformed forever this year when I discovered the website Zenni Optical where you can buy ridiculously cheap prescription glasses. The most expensive pair is $46, I think, but most of them are more like $15. And I’m not talking about the frames—that $15 covers a complete set of glasses, and for a couple extra bucks you can make any pair into prescription sunglasses.

This isn’t even the best part. The best part is they have an incredibly addictive interface where you can upload a picture of your face, tell it your pupil width (I used the highly scientific stand-in-front-of-the-mirror-with-a-ruler method here), and then virtually try any pair of glasses on your face. It’s sort of like the online equivalent of being in one of those Clueless-esque outfit montages. Yes, I am a dork:

And no, I did not end up purchasing any of the amazing eyewear above, although I was tempted. What I ended up with were two amazing sets of glasses (one of which I almost never wear out of the house after I co-worker told they reminded him of Sally Jesse Raphael), delivered to my apartment in less than a week, all for the crazy price of $30 total.

Definitely the best $30 I spent all year. Trust me, I am much more excited about them than I look in these pictures.


Annie Schutte is an actual real life librarian. She is also cheap


6 Comments / Post A Comment

Megano! (#124)

I love buying glasses online. I am blind, so I have to pay extra for the lenses. I think it costs like $350 for the lenses ALONE if I go to the store, but online I can get the lenses for $99. I AM NEVER GOING BACK TO THE STORE AGAIN.

lizard (#2,615)

i really like warby parker. mostly because its a bit more expensive and the quality is better. i wear mine everyday so i have no problem buying a pair for 90$ which is far more affordable than lens crafters and a bit better than zeni. that website seems so cheapy

shannowhamo (#845)

@lizard I’ve been obsessed with getting new glasses lately and at first was going to go with Warby Parker since they will send you 5 frames to try on at home for free, which is awesome!) but I didn’t end up liking any of the frames that much on my fat face. Then I got lured into the very similar BonLook because of the dorky “video consultation” they do for you which was actually kind of helpful (and I loved that the lady was addressing me by name like she knew me! Again, very dorky.) AND I found a coupon for BOGO until the end of December so I’m getting prescription glasses AND sunglasses for $150! It’s crazy! I’m a librarian, too, so my glasses are very much a part of my whole self conception!

lizard (#2,615)

@shannowhamo wow good deal! i still use my prescription ray ban sunglasses from 4 years ago so the 250 i spent was a good deal. this whole new world of ordering glasses online is exciting ha :)

2013: The year I forgot to cancel my worthless vision insurance.

But yes yes yes to buying glasses online!

minijen (#656)

So…about this online prescription glasses thing. I’ve had issues in the past, even going to a fancy store, where the lenses are ‘focus’ is ground slightly out of alignment. Has anyone had that sort of issue going the online route?

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