Saturday, November 29, 2008

No Longer Skeptical about Online Spectacles

Today I am wholly converted to ordering glasses online (that is, spectacles, not "tink tink" glassware). This post is going to completely sound like one fat testimonial. I apologise. If only I were getting paid to post it! I write because I hope more people will save some time and money and try it.

I have known for some time of the great NZ optometrist robbery, but was reminded of how this bothered me when I had my eye exam last month. (I hadn't had my eyes looked at for 7 years, and they said I couldn't keep re-ordering contact lenses without having someone see me. I decided this was fair.)

"So, about how much will glasses cost me, now that I've had an exam?" I enquired, bracing myself for the response, but resolving to reveal nothing in my reaction.

"Well, that all depends on the frame, but if you want a non-reflective coating, and a mid-price-range frame, you're looking at approximately $450.00." I had just swiped my card to pay $70.00 for these folk to ascertain my needs, and even though I had mentally budgeted a similar amount, seeing the receptionist's lips form this dollar amount caused me to tip my head sideways.

"Hmmmm," was all I mustered. I smiled, left, and upon arriving home, promptly emailed my dear sister. I knew Mariah had recently ordered some glasses online, and although I'd been skeptical initially, I decided it was time to explore options.

She recommended

I requested my prescription information from my optometrist, and began shopping online.

When I saw the prices, I decided I could afford to order three pairs, and even if only one pair looked decent, I'd still be paying less than a quarter of what I otherwise would.

My three pairs arrived today.

And I love all three.

My old pair are an abomination to me now.

Why are NZ optometrists still selling glasses, I ask you?

I think the three misconceptions preventing more people from taking advantage of ordering glasses online are:
  1. Lack of knowledge - they just don't get how easy and cheap it is / don't know it's possible / don't have access / it hasn't occurred to them etc.
  2. Lack of faith - "real life" optometrists are professionals, and eye care should be taken seriously; ordering glasses online somehow compromises quality of care.
  3. Lack of confidence and control - "I need to try the glasses on".
My responses:
  1. You can get glasses from $8.00 a pair at a range of sites, I have found just one that's worked for me and my sister They arrived at my door a week and a half later. It was easy.
  2. My "real life optometrist" still checked me out and supplied my prescription. Making the glasses to order (in almost all cases) is done out-of-house anyway! I am just placing the order myself and saving the mark-up. My prescription arrived 100% correct, and the glasses' width and temple length (the arm over your ear) is just right, because I took those measurements from my now-abominable pair of glasses.
  3. Number three was my biggest hesitation. 95% of what I spotted, "Oooo-ed" at, and tried on at the optometrist didn't look swell. But I have tried on enough pairs of glasses to know the basic shape I need. Based on this, I checked what I was ordering wasn't too wide or narrow for my face, and scored 3/3! Plus, for $8.00-25.00 each, I can afford to buy more than one pair to up my chances of success.
In summary:

I spent $75.00 and bought three pairs of glasses I love. I have choices now! Mariah bought $8.00 pairs and so saved even more. I had no qualms about buying some of the "finer" options, because frankly, it's still dirt cheap compared to buying them in person.

The only problem now, is that I want to go back to the site and order more.
Glasses could be the new shoes.

Read others' feedback on this site over in the comments section of my write-up on this here.

*Fyi - the glasses pictured are the three I purchased; pair 1 in black, pair 2 as is, and pair 3 in clear-silver.
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