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Buying eyeglasses on line

A couple of weeks ago, while waiting for an appointment with the eye doctor, I listened to a couple of people ordering glasses from the glasses-fitting technician. I was stunned at the prices they were being quoted, easily $600.

There are rumors about why eyeglasses have gotten so expensive, but from Googling I found it difficult to confirm or deny the rumors — which have to do with lack of competition as big players buy up more and more of the market. If I’m not mistaken, places like Walmart and Costco have better prices, and there’s not a total monopoly. But I like to buy things on line.

I first bought glasses on line two years ago. After doing some reading, I decided that EyeBuyDirect probably was the way to go. I was completely happy with their glasses and their service, so I recently ordered new glasses from them based on my new prescription. If you’re thinking of ordering glasses on line, you should do your own research, because this is probably a fast-changing marketplace.

A simple pair of blue-filtering reading glasses cost me $70. A fancier pair of driving glasses with “adaptive” lenses cost $160. The first pair of glasses I ever had were three-way “progressive” lenses, and I never got used to them. I found it too awkward to tilt my head to whatever angle was appropriate for seeing near or far. I quickly learned that I prefer to have multiple pairs of glasses close to where I use them, with a separate pair of glasses for reading, for driving, and for working at the computer. I only wear glasses when I’m reading or driving, because my vision is still remarkably good.

To order glasses on line, you’ll pick a frame (based on photos and prices of the frames, which works fine for me) and then choose the features you want for the lenses. You enter in the numbers from the prescription that you got from your eye doctor. In one to two weeks, your glasses will arrive in the mail.

There is one piece of information you need for ordering glasses on line that isn’t part of your prescription. That’s the distance between the center of your pupils, measured in millimeters. The first time I ordered glasses, I made my own measurement in front of a mirror (I measured 67mm). This time the glasses technician made the measurement for me, even though I wasn’t buying glasses at the eye doctor’s office. The technician measured 64mm. I was off by 3mm, which is less than an eighth of a inch, so I didn’t do too badly. In any case, I believe that number is more critical for greater levels of correction than I need.

I would say that the main drawback of ordering glasses on line is that you don’t get the benefit of a technician adjusting the frames to better fit your nose and temples. You might be able to do this yourself after watching some YouTube videos.


  1. Henry wrote:

    So why did you require blue-filtering in your glasses? Should we all be considering this feature?



    Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Henry: Yes! See this post:

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  3. Henry wrote:

    Ah! Thanks

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

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