A Visionary Online Purchase

By Mary Hunt

January 12, 2018 4 min read

Call me old. Call me socially rigid. I'm not sure why, but I freaked out when I heard that banks and credit unions now allow account holders to deposit checks via smartphone and a simple snap. Are you kidding me? How can that be legal? Forget legal. How can that be safe?

It still kinda bothers me, but it's the new way to handle banking. And as much as I hate to admit it, it's very cool.

Now that I think about it, I don't know anyone who still drives to the bank, fills out a deposit slip and gives it to a teller. How archaic! In these modern times we do everything online, on our smartphones and using credit or debit cards. I'm trying hard to wrap my head around all this because -- in case you've forgotten -- cash is my favorite commodity.

I was thinking about my own need to keep up in these digital times when I got a letter from Jessica. She questioned whether she should order prescription eyeglasses and frames online. I knew she was old and rigid when she said that ordering online seemed misguided.

It does seem weird to buy prescription eyeglasses online. I mean, really: What kind of people trust their eyesight to some unknown folks working in a virtual store? You can't expect an online purchase to be well-made and stylish, and fit correctly for a fraction of regular cost. Or can you?

I am actually shocked to admit this, but I'm a believer. What an amazing way to save money. Remember: I paid more than $750 for one pair of eyeglasses with progressive lenses and fancy schmancy frames -- which, by the way, never fit right and I could never get used to. I console myself knowing that I wasn't aware of an online option at the time.

So, for Jessica and other doubters, let me explain how this works:

GET AN EXAMINATION. You cannot get an eye exam online. You need to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist for a proper eye exam. If you require corrective glasses, request a written prescription.

SELECT AN ONLINE PROVIDER. I recommend two providers for prescription eyewear: Zenni Optical and Coastal.

PICK OUT THE FRAMES. Both providers mentioned offer frames for men, woman, teens and kids. And the selections are amazing. No optometrist I know has more than 700 frame choices. And let's agree that if you must wear glasses, it's all about the frames. You can select a few frames you like, upload a photo of yourself -- or whomever -- and virtually try on every frame. It's very cool. Both of these providers also offer a chat feature through which you can speak with a representative. Once you've selected your frames, you'll get instructions to measure the pupillary distance of your eyes. It sounds scary at first, but it's not. Or your optometrist may have taken your PD before.

OPEN AN ACCOUNT. Upload your doctor's prescription to the site. Visit the FAQ page, or initiate a chat to answer questions.

COMPLETE PAYMENT. It's as easy as ordering from Amazon. Make your payment with a credit card or bank draft -- never a debit card.

ANXIOUSLY AWAIT. In just a few days your new glasses will arrive.

NOT HAPPY? NO PROBLEM. Both Zenni and Coastal offer amazing return policies. Imagine getting new glasses, wearing them for 364 days and still being able to return them on the last day of the year. Read each company's return, refund and exchange policy.

I'm quite certain you are going to be surprised by the total cost for prescription eyeglasses using these methods no matter what type of lenses you need. You can splurge on designer frames and still pay a fraction of what you may have paid in the past -- and will never pay again in the future.

Mary Hunt's weekly column, "Everyday Cheapskate," can be found at creators.com.

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