How I saved over 50% buying eye glasses online


I was shocked to find out recently that just the lenses for the bifocal glasses I need cost $400. That’s why I was intrigued when my son told me he recently ordered glasses online from ClearlyContacts.for a fraction of the price quoted by several “bricks and mortar” opticians.

Because my optometrist suggested that my prescription is too complex for an online vendor to process properly, I bit the bullet, repurposed an existing frame and ordered one pair from her. But I decided to order a second pair from Clearly Contacts, to see if I could cut my losses.

I figured I had nothing to lose because they offer a 30-day free trial before charging my credit card. Also, every pair of glasses ordered from can be returned within 365 days for a full refund. They even pay for the return shipping.

I like semi-rimless glasses so I selected the Kam Dhillon 3032 Satin Maroon frame which cost $49.00. The selection of frames did not appear to be as extensive as I’ve seen in some other retail outlets. And of course there were other more expensive frames I could have selected.

Because I had a $40 discount code that popped up on Facebook around the same time I made my purchase, the quote for regular bifocal glasses with a premium anti-reflective coating was only $176.35 – less than half the cost of the lenses alone i bought several weeks before.

I must confess that I after I placed my order, I thought my doctor may have been right about the complexity of my prescription, because the glasses that were supposed to be delivered in one week didn’t arrive for three weeks. When I called to check, I was told that the lenses had to be sent out because they could not make them in house and they were remade twice because the initial lenses did not pass quality control.

But when they did finally arrive, I was delighted. They fit perfectly and the lenses appear to be every bit as accurate as the more expensive first pair I ordered from my doctor with the same prescription.

A friend who ordered glasses from Clearly Contacts for herself and her son took the added precaution when they came in of bringing them back to her optometrist to check it the prescription was correct. Needless to say she was pleased when the doctor confirmed they got it right.

If you decide to order glasses online, you will need to get the prescription from your optometrist plus an additional measurement called the pupillary distance. This is the distance in millimeters between the centers of the pupils in each eye. Positioning lenses correctly in relation to the centre of the pupils is especially important for higher powered lenses due to the location of the optical centre of the lenses.

To help you select a frame that will fit your face, the online tool “my style finder” will ask you a series of questions including the following current frame measurements (usually printed on the inside of the poles):

• Lens width
• Lens height
• Arm length
• Bridge width.

It was quite easy to compare my own measurements with the frames I selected. Clearly Contacts also has a store in downtown Toronto and one in Vancouver if you prefer to shop in person, but the prices are the same.

Even if you have workplace or retiree benefits, you probably only get about $200 every two years per family member towards glasses or contact lenses. Therefore the cost of an unexpected prescription change for one or more family members can put a big dent in your budget.

So caveat emptor!  But it’s worth at least checking out Clearly Contacts or other similar online vendors to see if you can get a great pair of glasses for a better price. The next pair I’m planning to order before I go on vacation in February is a pair of prescription sunglasses.

Also read:
Buying glasses online
Buying glasses online may be cheap but not necessarily safe

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