A pair of regular, single-prescription glasses costs only $8. That's "8," not "80." Just $8 for
a new pair of regular glasses, lenses, frames and all.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983
Why pay more than you have to? You can buy $8 eyeglasses on the Web
Sept. 13, 2009
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2009, The Post-Standard
My wife, Nancy, and I felt like we were putting our money to good use a few years ago when we each ordered
a pair of titanium-frame eyeglasses from a local optometrist. The glasses, in matching frames, cost us a total of $1,500. That's
But we were robbed. So are you if you pay that much for eyeglasses. The bad news hit home early this year
when we had to order a new pair of glasses to replace the ones Nancy lost. We wanted the same type, made from non-breaking,
tie-them-in-a-knot titanium, the best material for eyeglass frames.
This time, we went shopping on the Web. The cost: $100 -- for the same kind of titanium frames and exactly
the same prescription.
That's 13 percent of the cost of the first pair of glasses Nancy had. Or, to put it in terms of markup, the
optometrist who sold us Nancy's original titanium glasses charged six and a half times the cost of the replacement titanium
glasses. Do the math: A markup of, say, 15 percent would have resulted in glasses costing $115. A markup of 40 percent would have
resulted in glasses costing $140.
But $750? That's crazy.
The Web site we shopped at is Zenni Optical at http://zennioptical.com. As it turned out, Nancy's titanium-frame, progressive-lens eyeglasses actually
represented the ultra-high end of the scale at Zenni. A pair of regular, single-prescription glasses (non-bi- or trifocal) costs
only $8. That's "8," not "80." Just $8 for a new pair of regular glasses, lenses, frames and all.
And unlike all the optometrist prices I've ever encountered, the cost of glasses at Zenni includes these
Lens edge polishing and beveling.
Hard eyeglass case.
When you order your eyeglasses, you must type your prescription into the Web order form -- optometrists and
opticians are required by federal regulations to give you a copy of your prescription -- and you must measure the distance
between your pupils and enter that info, too. It's a simple matter.
Shipping costs $4.95 no matter how many glasses you order. Orders can take two or
The sole disadvantage of shopping for eyeglasses on the Web is the fact that you can't try them on. But when the cost is so much lower, the disadvantage seems very slight.