On a whim, I thought I'd try ordering a pair of $8 glasses from an online optical outlet. After all, $8 is hardly a large outlay and I've been paying over $100 for each pair I've had for my entire lifetime.
Was I in for a surprise! I went to http://zennioptical.com - home of the $8 glasses, ordered a pair from my prescription and they were perfect! The only difference between ordering online and in person from a local optical outlet was the choice of frames (more online) and the price.
Ok, the $8 aren't really $8, they're $12.95 with shipping. On the other hand, you can order 2 pairs for $16 plus the same $4.95 shipping.
Here's the hard part. You need to know your "PD" or Pupillary Distance. That's the measurement in millimeters between your pupils. Normally, this measurement is done by the optician who fits your glasses but it can also be done by your regular eye doctor if you ask them to do it. Next time you're in for an exam, ask! Also ask for it to be written on your prescription.
Once you have your PD, it's a snap to order your glasses online. There is one other drawback. It takes about two weeks to receive your new glasses. With a local optician, you can get them in half the time, but unless you have insurance paying the bill, it's going to cost you a bunch for that extra week.
I'm all for supporting the local economy and all, but these opticians take a huge cut. I'm guessing they pay about $8 for your single vision frames and lenses, so the rest is pure profit. It does cost a lot to keep an office, the lights on, etc., but enough is enough. I'm tired of paying too much for some plastic and a few metal bits. Ordering online makes sense to me.
If you feel timid about ordering a medical device online, get your next pair from the optician, get your PD and prescription and try one of these online dispensaries for an extra pair. You only have $12.95 to lose and having an extra cheap pair of glasses around might be a good thing, don't you think?