If you read my Twitter tweets or my Project 365 blog or keep up with my Flickr photostream, you probably already know that our new glasses came on Saturday. I thought I'd write a little about our experience with Zenni Optical for future reference and in case any of you might be interested in how it worked out.
We were surprised to get them on Saturday, because the last update I'd read online placed them in California. Even so, they were still a few days later than I'd expected. I thought the website said they usually arrived within two weeks. Now I think I may have misunderstood. Maybe they usually ship in two weeks-- in which case they were almost exactly right on schedule. They currently charge a flat rate of $4.95 for shipping & handling, which isn't bad-- especially when you're ordering more than one pair of glasses at a time.
Our glasses came by USPS. Each pair was individually packed in frosted translucent plastic cases-- nothing fancy, but good enough to get them here in one piece. Each pair was also wrapped in a little grey cleaning cloth printed with the company name-- "Zenni".
Now, we haven't taken them to be tested for accuracy, but so far as we can tell, they're perfectly good glasses. They certainly seem to have gotten the prescriptions right, and they sent the exact frames we selected, too. (g)
These days, I've gotten more daring than I once was, when it comes to ordering trhings online-- mostly because you can get such good deals that way. (Not to mention that sometimes it's the only way to get something that you can't find locally.) However, choosing glasses frames online still seemed like a bit of a risk. The website provides all the dimensions of the frames, so we were able to compare them against our old frames and try to visualize how the new ones might compare, but of course there's nothing like being able to try them on and see how they look on you. It is a little risky, but considering the price of many of the glasses, it might be worth it. Even if they turn out to look not quite like you'd hoped, you can use them as a back-up pair for emergencies, if nothing else.
I think we're mostly satisfied with how our choices look "in real life". It takes a little getting used to seeing myself in new frames, and I'm still adjusting to the fact that the lenses in these frames are smaller than the ones I had before (so the frames are more visible to me as I wear them), but I knew that would be an issue when I made my selections.
One of my pair-- one of the molded plastic type-- needs a little adjusting. They sit slightly crooked. I think it's just a matter of warming them in water and very gently bending them (one of the arms, maybe). (At least I think I've read online about that before...) All things considered, though, that's a minor issue.
The next time we need glasses, I'll definitely be looking online. If they still have deals as good as the ones we got, I'll order online.
Note: These were single vision glasses. (I imagine Zenni is just as good at producing bifocals, etc., but I don't have any personal experience ordering those online. Bifocals and progressives do cost more than single vision glasses, of course, but I'm sure that's true no matter where you buy them.) Though we got the anti-reflective coating, we decided not to spend more for the thinner (higher index) lenses. Donald found a site that, based on your individual prescription, translates the difference into actual millimeters. For both of us, the difference was miniscule-- certainly not worth an extra $17 or $37 per pair!
P.S. If you want to see more photos of the glasses we ordered, check my Flickr photostream.