Beauty & Wellness

Buying Glasses Online

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[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 24, 2010
108 posts
15 upvotes
Mississauga

Buying Glasses Online

So it’s a well-known fact that the cost of prescription lenses and frames is less than $15, but we pay upwards of $200/a pair.

This guide assumes that you have already gotten your prescription from your optometrist.

Disclaimer: I am not an optometrist, eye specialist or affiliated with any retailer of eyewear.

Interesting background reading:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o ... cle601158/

I have a 10 year old child and her vision has not "settled" requiring new glasses once every 6-8 months.

It is unsustainable for me to be paying $90 for an eye exam and $200 for a pair of glasses every six months. I have insurance coverage, but not that much.

So I started shopping around.

So while I can't get around the $90 for the eye exam, I can purchase glasses at clearlycontacts.ca.

They had a 2 for 1 sale. I ended up paying $60 for two pairs (one with premium lens coatings and the other plain).

You will need your actual prescription from your optometrist. They will give this to you.

You will also need your pupillary distance (or PD). It’s the distance in mm between your pupils. You can measure this yourself. The optometrist also has that value, but they will not want to give it to you, since this is cue that you are buying the glasses online. Remind them that they have been paid for a service and they are withholding your medical data.

If they don't release the PD to you, there are a number of apps and tools online to get the value. And please remember to file a consumer complaint.

The next thing you may need to do, is look at your frame size. This is not mandatory as the glasses can be refitted at any local optometrist. If you currently have glasses, just use the size written on your pair. This youtube video explains how.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c51OFALWJ0Y


After you are armed with those bits of data, just upload your photo and you are good to go.

My daughter got her glasses today and suffice it to say, the "try on" tool was spot on and she is very happy.

You may need to adjust the arms. You can walk into most optometrists and they will do this free of charge.

Edit: Or you can go into one of their brick and mortar shops.
16 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 23, 2003
11596 posts
686 upvotes
Toronto
PD is not provided in Ontario so putting a complaint is pointless. Even if they give you the PD, how do you know it is accurate when you have not made anything and can verify its accuracy. If you get glasses from them and they measure PD and it is off, they are responsible. If they provide you PD and you don't get glasses from them, they are not responsible as they are not required by law to provide it.

As for adjustments, some places will do the adjustments, and others will charge for it. If they break something, the stores do not take responsibility.

My experience with getting glasses is that even stores locally bugger up my glasses so god only know the hell I would have to go through dealing with people over the web.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 24, 2010
108 posts
15 upvotes
Mississauga
The PD is not rocket science to measure and for a growing 10 year old PD will change 1 month after you get your glasses.
I was given the PD by the optician, I also verified it by measuring it myself.

I would also assume that if I am provided the PD by an optician its probably accurate as the prescription I am getting from them.

And as far as "buggering up" is concerned, they have a 365 day free return policy.

For a $60 investment for two pairs vs $200 for one I think it was worth it for me. Maybe it is not for you.
Newbie
Jul 6, 2015
2 posts
I buy all my prescription glasses online, using glassesshop.com or zenni. I think the pd measurement matters more for high prescriptions, but mine is a lowish single vision script for reading and I have always been happy with my online purchases.
Deal Addict
Jul 6, 2005
2853 posts
473 upvotes
Toronto
buying glasses in a retail brick and mortar store (ie: Hakim, Lens Crafters, etc) is for suckers. I used to go to Good Eyes Optical in Pacific Mall for years before I smartened up.

There are so many online retailers online now, its ridiculous... and you're certainly not limited to the "no name stuff" that Clearly Contacts or similar online sites have. You can definitely buy the same "designer brands" (even though they're really made by one company) for HUNDREDS of dollars less.

The whole PD thing is a farce, and its ridiculous that Opticians are allowed to conveniently not measure this for you as part of an exam, yet you can pay extra for it if you need it. And quite often, its not even the optician that takes the measurement, its actually the receptionist/cashier that does it for you. So there's certainly no specialized skill in doing it.

I've been buying my glasses online for the better part of 6 years now, and have saved hundreds (if not thousands of dollars) for designer glasses and prescription designer sunglasses with all the coatings that they try to up sell you on in the stores.
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
1385 posts
185 upvotes
I've been buying my glasses on-line for almost 6 years now. They are as good if not better than 'mall' glasses. Clearly even has a location in Toronto for adjustments.

When you pay out of your own pocket the optometrist, you have every right to ask for the PD. If the optometrist doesn't want to give you it simply remind them that they're supposed to be independent of the optician's and that you can take your business elsewhere. I've never had an issue getting it.

PD is important, I've had glasses where it was off and it's immediately noticeable. Even between pairs of glasses with the same prescription I can tell there's a difference.
Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2012
1092 posts
55 upvotes
hey guys, so i need to order some glasses. Insurance 2 year renewal is not until november and i'm getting crazy headaches so i need to order right now.

what's the best website to order glasses? so i just need my prescription and PD.. if they don't give me the PD, i can use the link to calculate.. please suggest some good website which doesn't charge too much.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jan 24, 2010
108 posts
15 upvotes
Mississauga
Clearly.ca. They have brick and mortar shops in Toronto and Vancouver.

IMHO, just call the optometrist and ask them if they give out the PD beforehand. In a pinch you can use this for the PD measurement:
http://www.clearlycontacts.ca/imagereso ... A_pop.html

I got the PD from my doctor and I measured with this tool, both numbers was the same.

Check the frames you want online, mark down the frame number then call clearly's number and ask for the 2 for 1 deal. It was not available on their site, but it was available if you called.
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
1385 posts
185 upvotes
snipe2014 wrote:
Jul 12th, 2015 3:12 am
hey guys, so i need to order some glasses. Insurance 2 year renewal is not until november and i'm getting crazy headaches so i need to order right now.

what's the best website to order glasses? so i just need my prescription and PD.. if they don't give me the PD, i can use the link to calculate.. please suggest some good website which doesn't charge too much.
I've been happy with Clearly. You can get cheaper but I like them and it is no hassle.
Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2012
1092 posts
55 upvotes
Sum_guy wrote:
Jul 13th, 2015 2:05 pm
I've been happy with Clearly. You can get cheaper but I like them and it is no hassle.
Clearly seems pretty expensive too.

A designer glass ranges from $150 and up.

Stores charges about $200

Plus for clearly, I gotta get a prescription another $50

How is this a better deal? Can someone explain?

Also, if I buy from clearly, could I claim under my insurance?
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
1385 posts
185 upvotes
If you want designer frames you're going to have to pay for them - Clearly is cheaper than the mall but designer = expensive. Be sure to always compare the same brand/model #. I've found Clearly to be around 60% of the retail price. Lenses are much cheaper through them vs. the mall. I need high index lenses and the prices are half the cost from a place like Pearle (LensCrafters is even worse). You don't need to get designer either.

It gets better if you can shop a sale.

You need to pay for an Optometrist visit regardless so that's not a pro or con.

Basically I pay half of what it would cost if I were to shop at the mall. So close to $250-$300 dollars a pair in savings. My last purchase was a pair of Raybans with 1.67 lenses - all in it was under $180. I priced the same pair at the mall - frames were over $200, lenses would have been closer to $250. Sure I might get a second pair for an additional $50, but I'm way ahead this way.

The other benefit is that with prices that low I can have a spare pair of glasses - then I never have to get an 'emergency' pair at LensCrafters where they fleece you.

And I've been putting through my claims for 6 years - including pairs bought from Goggles4U.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 26, 2011
1264 posts
189 upvotes
OP, do you mind me asking you whether you needed glasses growing up? OP's post sounds like the typical parent that thinks they know better but could be making things worse for their kids. To begin with, I completely respect that eyecare is very expensive for a family.

I needed glasses growing up, and my parents never cheap out on eyecare or dental care for me. Sure, you can order things online and measure your own PD. But if the glasses are a bit off or uncomfortable, your child is not going to know to tell you. As a child, I've had glasses which was higher on one ear and lower on the other and for weeks i did not know why and thought it was just a side effect of upgrading the prescription.

As an adult, I've ordered glasses online myself and measured the PD myself. I've ordered from Clearlycontacts and the two pair I ordered (same prescription, same PD) actually fit differently. To this day I could only wear one of the two pairs that i ordered because the other ones make me dizzy. Again, your child may not know this and that can have a detrimental effect later on.

I understand the concern about the price - a lot of glasses place will have their shelves of designer frames, but they will usually keep a box of unbranded or cheap frames tucked away somewhere. Or, you can buy a frame and change out the lens when the prescription changes.

If your child has changes in prescription so often, it's even more important that you help them take care of their eyes. Oh and also I've noticed different optometrists may give a different prescription based on what they think is best for a pair of glasses. Sometimes you don't know until you try it on that it isn't strong enough.
Member
User avatar
Sep 18, 2004
469 posts
57 upvotes
Does anybody know which optometrists in Toronto (preferably in Richmond Hill/Markham) that give out PD numbers?
Jr. Member
Jun 9, 2002
102 posts
15 upvotes
Just purchase a 6" digital caliper online (They go from anywhere between $5 to $10).

Stand in front of a mirror and measure from the center of one pupil to the center of the other.

Be careful not to get the sharp end of it in your eye.

I was always ordering 70, but after doing this I found out it was a few mm less.
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