Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happiness is a Pair of Cheap (or Free) Eyeglasses

Torrenting Freaks and Geeks, Arcade Fire's performance of Neon Bible in an elevator, The Bed Intruder Song, shopping for doll head tissue box covers on Ebay. Oh yes, then there's the practical stuff like online banking, buying movie tickets, and stalking people from your past. These are just a few of the many gifts that the internet has given us. However, one of my personal favorite achievements of the world wide web is the fact that getting a new pair of prescription eyeglasses no longer means having to sell your soul  and/or firstborn to Lens Crafters and eat Cherrios for a month. The best thing about eyeglasses now being more affordable than ever is the relief of not being subjected to wear the same old pair of precious eyeglasses for years. I think most people of my generation with less than 20/20 vision can relate to this.

eyeglasses + internets = true love

See, I'm 28 and started having to wear heavy duty prescription eyeglasses full time by the time I was 10. I came from a wonderfully hardworking family who owned a restaurant (with some of the best pizza in town. Nomz) but even so, eyeglasses were bloody expensive. Therefore, prior to my twenties I remember only going through about three pairs of glasses. THREE. That means I may have had the same pair of glasses for longer than George H. W. Bush was president. Like childhood best friends, I remember them all in minute detail. It's hard not to considering for years I had the same pair planted on my face just about 24/7. One even started growing weird stuff in the nose tabs, but that's a story for a different day. Bottom line, it was an injustice for the myopically challenged that went on for far too long. Thankfully, the wonderful web has made this a thing of the past and a new pair of eyeglasses that cost about the same as a new hardcover book or a pair of wedges at Target is no longer a dream. To think that my future son or daughter will never have to fill in her scratched eyeglass frames with a brown sharpie (surprisingly tricky to find in the 'burbs), is such a beautiful thought.

On that note, I now share with you some of my favorite websites for cheap eyeglasses:

Coastal Contacts - Huge selection, really good prices, even better sales, and the occasional FREE eyeglass offer. You pay tax and shipping but still get the complete glasses for less than $20. I got these matte lovelies for free and they make me feel as charming as Ira Glass and super good at my job, even when I'm just entering sweepstakes at my desk. Winning. Check out the site, like them on Facebook, whatever you need to do to stay updated. You want to get to know these guys.

Firmoo: Similar to Coastal Contacts and are actually doing a free glasses promo right NOW. Hurry.

Zenni: Zenni Optical has the cheapest eyeglasses that I have seen anywhere. Like scary cheap but perfect for trying out a new look that you may not want to wear everyday single day like these or these.

If you're feeling fancy and want to splurge a little on a pair, these are my favorite sites for expensive looking designer specs  for under $100:

Warby Parker: Beautiful vintage-inspired eyeglasses under $100 (monocles too, whaat), free home try on kits, and they donate a pair with every pair purchased. Mr. Warby Parker, will you marry me?

Spexclub: Similar amazin' vintage styles and most are under $88, plus free shipping.

Tortoise & Blonde and BonLook: More vintage styles under $100.

The turn off to some when it comes to ordering prescription eyeglasses online is having to have your prescription on hand when you order but the above websites make it as easy as possible and I've never found it to be a problem. If you have had an exam in the last few years, try calling the eye doctor. Most will be able to fax your prescription, tell you it over the phone, or you can pick it up at their office. If you haven't had an exam in awhile, it's a good idea to get a new one anyway and they are usually around $50 or covered if you have insurance. Just to be sure to bring that  magic piece of paper with you when you leave the office!

BTW just the other day I counted 5 pairs of eyeglasses in my collection - all acquired within the past year or two. PLUS a grip of unopened contact lenses. It's good to be an adult and it's a good time be alive!

Photos from:  Great Girls with Glasses on Flickr and The Chive.

[Posted by Rita]

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