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Vision for tough times: Bargain eyeglasses by mail

Posted Oct 14 2008 4:07am

One of the little perks of blogging is receiving offers of free products and services from companies trying to make a name for themselves. I like to promote clever entrepreneurial solutions to health care problems, so I try to say yes when I can. Some products are harder to write about than others. For example, I accepted a sample Flat-D reusuable Flatulence Deodorizer underwear liner, which utilizes activated charcoal to damp down odors. I’m still working on how to write about it.

Other items are a little easier.  EyeBuyDirect.com bills itself as the online eyeglasses shop. They offer prescription eyeglasses for as little as $7.95. In these tough economic times, I’m sure many people are struggling to afford eyeglasses, so having an affordable option is a real plus. As luck would have it, I was already scheduled for an ophthalmologist appointment at the time EyeBuy sent me an email offering me a free pair of glasses. My vision is pretty good, and although I passed the eye test at my recent drivers license renewal, I usually drive with glasses in order to see distant objects better.

I told my eye doctor about my blogging and my intention to order glasses online, and he said go ahead. But he also had me stop by the optician on the way out of the office so they could measure my pupillary distance. That’s an extra piece of information you’ll need if you want to get your glasses by mail rather than being fitted by an optician in person.

The EyeBuyDirect site is easy to use. It has a pretty cool feature that allowed me to upload my photo and then do a virtual try-on of various lenses.  I could also look at the Wall of Frame to see what other customers were wearing. I stored my eyeglasses prescription in my personal profile so it will be there for me next time.
I’m not that patient so I picked out the first frame I encountered, a $7.95 model called Mist. The $7.95 price is a bit misleading. It’s for single lens (no bifocals or progressives –not an issue for me) and if you want typical options like anti-reflective coating and UV coating it costs a bit more. I got those two options, which brought the price up to $19.85. With shipping it reached $24.80, which is still awfully low.

My glasses arrived a few days after I ordered them. They came with an attractive hard plastic case with a magnetic clasp, and also included a nice soft lens cloth. The glasses themselves are fine. They feel good and I can see well. They are slightly smaller than I had envisioned, so that’s something you may want to keep in mind. Maybe I misled myself with the virtual try-on (you can’t tell how big the glasses using that feature). I’m sure I would have noticed if I’d been fitted in person. In any case EyeBuy will take back the glasses for a 100 percent refund if you don’t like them. They specifically list “Frames are too big or small” as an acceptable reason for return. Even “Your dog chewed on your new frames” is considered a valid excuse!

I had a little bit of trouble placing my order. I think the main issue had to do with the coupon code I’d been issued so I could get a free pair. Eventually an EyeBuy customer service agent called me and placed the order for me on the phone.

This is a good service and if you want to save some money on your next pair of prescription glasses I suggest giving it a go.

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