Saving Money While Seeing Better

I wear glasses and occasionally have a new prescriptions, but that’s nothing. I also have a 4 and a half year old who’s been wearing glasses since he was 2. And let me tell you, if you wear glasses and thought you had a problem keeping track of them, imagine how difficult it is for my little guy. Needless to say, his tiny, little spectacles often turn up missing or—worse yet—completely broke. And that translates to a hefty optical bill considering our vision insurance will only pay for hardware once every two years. If we stuck to that alone, my little guy would end up with compromised vision and I’d be toting around a hefty load of guilt. Fortunately, though, with the plethora of online optical shops out there, my son and I can both have our glasses and I can keep more of my money, too.


The savings are, quite simply, spectacular and the process exceedingly simple. Just visit an online optical retailer, select your frames, enter your eyeglass prescription information including your pupillary distance (PD) and pay. In a few short weeks or even days in some instances, you’re new glasses will arrive in your mailbox. No need for a trip to a shop to pick them up, they literally come to you. Granted you don’t get the niceties or conveniences of having an optical technician adjust your frames for you, but if you’re willing to forgo that than you can really clean up. How much, you say? Try a brand spankin’ new pair of glasses, prescription lenses, case and all for under $7. Suddenly, it’s looking much more attractive, isn’t it?

If you’ve read this far, you’re still likely hung up on a little phrase I mentioned a few sentences back: “pupillary distance.” Simply put, it’s the measurement from the center of one pupil to the center of the other and it’s usually measured in millimeters (mm). It’s a very important piece of information that differs from person to person and is vital to getting prescription lenses that fit you correctly. You can ask for this information after an eye exam or even call to get this information over the phone if you’ve had one recently. Some opticians and ophthalmologists, however, may be less than thrilled about divulging this tiny bit of information. Because many vision offices make a great deal of money by selling eyewear directly to the public themselves, most would not want you to take your prescription elsewhere. Do know, though, that it is your right to ask for and obtain this information. If you’d rather not, simply enlist a friend or family member to measure your pupillary distance (PD) for you using these easy instructions.

If you’re sold on the idea of buying online to save some serious cash, then check out ZenniOptical or Eye Buy Direct for some great savings opportunities. (I’ve used both companies with great success for both my son and myself.) Do know, too, that while their base rates are already substantially discounted, both companies (as well as the other such online companies out there) are well aware of their competition. This makes for prime, price cutting sales and “limited time only” promotions, so do keep your eyes open for even greater savings.

Photo credit: skobo

This article was originally written or modified on . If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed. Or you can also choose to have free daily updates delivered right to your inbox.

Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “Saving Money While Seeing Better”

  1. Jwalant Natvarlal Soneji |  May 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Very nice and informative article! It opens very new side of E-Commerce. Thanks!
    Glasses used to very cheap/affordable in India. As the trends have changed, now it has become very costly in urban areas. Definitely, as you mentioned, glasses are very very costly in US and in Canada as well.
    Online selling glasses is an excellent example of meaningful changes Web can brings to us.