Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Glasses on line

I've never bought glasses before and by many peoples standards I don't really need them. My prescription is very slight for sure. The mild error hasn't stopped me from being very frustrated at the theatre, opera and especially with my vision when driving at night. My depth of field sucks! I've been unable to justify a large investment to restore my sight with prescription glasses until I began to look at buying glasses on line. Buying on line is cheap, but like most things like this it required that I learn a few things become I could become an informed consumer.

I bought some flexible, rimless, progressive bifocals with clip on sun shades and anti reflective coatings for $71.00 with the shipping included. At the optometrists I was quoted prices that ranged between $700 and $1000. From what I've learnt from others that have made the transition to buying eye wear on line, the quality between the two sources compare well. At these prices I'll likely invest in other more specialized glasses. Especially reading glasses with a longer focal length for clock work. The possibilities are nearly endless.

My eldest bought glasses from Coastal Contacts recently and was thrilled with the results. They ship from Canada which is attractive to many here.

Edit: They ship from the NW USA.

Earlier this year I sought out some resources to begin to narrow down the options when buying glasses on line and came up with two big ones that have finally helped me pull the pin on this project and put my money down. They are related sources. The Glasseye blog has a lot of resources for answering many of the common questions about buying on line and their support forum has proven to be a wonderful place for me to get answers to the questions I had that I couldn't find answers to anywhere else.

I'll start with this choice and maybe get straight reading glasses later. Having flexible frames while reading in bed is going to be sweet, but I suspect I'll want a little longer focal length on my readers than they prescribed. It's been an interesting process so far. I'm so excited.

One of the things the optometrists try to keep out of your prescription is your pupilary distance. Knowing these pupil distance details is critical to ordering effectively on line. They reflect the distance each pupil is from the centre of the bridge of your nose and the total distance between your pupils. I've read recently that Walmart, Costco and Sears will often willingly measure for and provide those numbers for you if you ask.

I measured my own and had the opportunity to check my measurements against the professional tool results and I was bang on with the optometrists measurements. So it's not impossible to do with the many on line tutorials. With the need for bifocals, I also had to come up with the pupil distance for viewing far away objects and the reading distance measurement. The most common measurement is the far focused distance. Mine was 67mm. The close focus will be slightly less, as your eyes tend to cross slightly and come closer to each other when viewing objects closer to you. Mine measured 64mm.

Fun eh? I know... Mr. Distractable strikes again. My pupil to centre distance differed from eye to eye by 3mm. I've been told that symmetry in facial composition is key to the perception of beauty. I lose. :P

their 1.67 index lenses are from Seiko

Investigative report


fit - ordering

reviews with details I like




From Zenni:
"Dear Ms./Mr. Timshel,
We have cancelled this order, since we do not process glasses with discrepant mono PD 35.0/32.0"

Disappointing! My second kick at this cat is with Coastal Contacts. I couldn't include the relevant input when I placed my order on line, but they were able to include the detailed changes over the phone. More will be revealed I'm sure.


  1. Today we were all at Hakim. Joey is a 30/31 as far as P/D goes. I wrote it down as soon as the measurer said it because that is the one thing that has scared me off of on line glasses...

    Now if only I knew my own...

  2. It's really much easier to be accurate than I anticipated. The next time we meet do you want me to bring tools? What I measured for mine was exactly what the professional came up with. There are good instructions on line.