A few months ago I was having vision problems. It had been a while since I’d been to an eye doctor, and I was noticing that road signs were a bit blurry. The biggest problem was in seeing notes at the pulpit. A few times I had to pull my glasses off to follow the bulletin, and it was really getting on my nerves.
Eighteen months earlier, I’d gone to a department store optical shop because I had broken my frames and needed new ones. The store was advertising half-price on a new pair, and they had a style of frame that I liked. When I went to order them, I learned my prescription was just slightly outdated, and I would need an exam and new prescription. For convenience, I used the doctor in the store who, within minutes, wrote me a stronger prescription for the reading portion of my glasses.
What I’ve since learned is that my prescription should never have changed from years ago. The hasty exam from the department store doctor was incorrect–and I’ll spare you the details about the doc’s lousy attitude. With my recent check-up, my regular eye doctor recommended I go back to my old pair. The broken pair. I still had them, and putting them on again was like a healing miracle…everything was fine!…except that they are broken, and to replace them would cost a minimum of $300. One store actually quoted me $430. If you know me, you know I’m too thrifty to feel comfortable with that.
I’d read about ordering glasses online. I studied the websites. I talked about it for weeks…no, months. But I was still very hesitant. What if I got the wrong prescription…how would I ever know? What if they didn’t fit my face? What if they looked cheap? What if…. well, this went on for quite some time.
Finally, a friend (sick of hearing me whine about it) reminded me that it was only an $80 gamble. Yes, eighty bucks for progressive bi-focal wireless rim titanium frame with scratch coating and anti-glare coating on high-density polycarbonate lenses. It was time to take the plunge. Yes, I live on the wild side, don’t I?
I requested my prescription written by my doctor, and though it took some translating help, I was able to enter the code into the website along with my choice of frames and lens style. I won’t say it was easy. The directions were not clear and it took a phone call to confirm that I was entering the information correctly. In fact, I quit mid-page and sheepishly took a printout of the online form back to my eye doctor’s office and asked the nurse to verify the numbers. The nurse told me quietly she’d ordered glasses for her daughter online and was satisfied. I went home and measured the distance between my pupils, as best I could. Finally I placed the order, telling myself not to be too disappointed; that is was worth the gamble.
The glasses arrived in two weeks from China, well fit, well-made, and perhaps the nicest pair of glasses I’ve owned. In the end, the final price was only $72. Online prices for simpler prescriptions and styles start around 8 bucks. Yes, eight.
Needless to say, I’m sold. In fact, I’m an evangelist. I do feel for those who make their living selling glasses in brick and mortar stores; their overhead must be incredibly high–but then, so is their profit margin. The internet definitely levels the playing field.
Though I’ve read a few anecdotes about online orders gone wrong, a vast majority seem to be pleased. Some are more than pleased.