ordering glasses online

There’s some good discussion and tips on the open thread on glasses about ordering glasses online.  I think I will add a section to the Collected Wisdom page about that.  So if you have any additional hints or tips, let me know.

The discussion was spurred by a question from Monica who is looking for any experiences with ordering Miraflex glasses online.  Her optical provider was particularly unhelpful with that.  Here’s part of her question:

So, my question is.. I have heard that these frames are durable and I think that is what we need at this point, but has any one ordered them from their website online without getting them fitted? Do they fit well? How do I know what size to get?

I’ve been thinking more about ordering online as well, after hearing some of the great experiences people have had with getting prescription sunglasses online (I’m still a little wary of ordering primary glasses online given how often we get Zoe’s glasses adjusted).  I want Zoe to have sunglasses, and the price is certainly right.  The problem for me is getting the Pupillary Distance (PD) measurement.  GeorgeB left a great comment about measurments for ordering online and said that you could use a small ruler with cm to get the distance.  But I have a pretty bad track record on this.  My husband has ordered his glasses online a couple of times, and the first time, he had me try to measure the pupillary distance.  I failed.  Wow, did I fail.  He ended up with glasses causing major eyestrain, and had an optician at Costco re-do the measurement.  Since we’re especially concerned with Zoe’s eyes staying aligned, I don’t want to mess this up.  I asked at her eye appointment yesterday, but her eye doctor’s office doesn’t sell glasses, so they didn’t have the equipment to do the measurements and told us to ask our optical shop.  But will our optical shop be willing to give us that measurement?  It’s certainly not in their best interest.  We’ll see tomorrow when I call.  So any hints for getting a good pupillary distance measurement?  I think at the optical shop, they put glasses on Zoe and marked with a grease pencil where her pupils were on the lenses of the glasses and then measured that.  I may give that a shot.

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18 responses to “ordering glasses online

  1. Here’s what I do. When we go to the optical shop, and they take that measurement I just ask them for it. I don’t tell them why (I’m sure they know, but maybe not – I think they think I’m one of “those” moms who has to know everything.. and I am!). I have a copy of her prescription and I ask them if I could please have that measurement since I like to keep a good record of my kid’s vision changes. They HAVE to give it to you, it is part of their “prescription” after all and she is your child, you deserve to know! Don’t fret!!

    We do the sunglasses online and my son’s spares online too. Our optical shop will also adjust frames that they don’t sell there “at your own risk”. They know us well there from the hundreds of dollars that we have spent there and frequent adjustments so we have gotten pretty lucky in that they’ve done a quick adjustment here and there on the “outside” frames.

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  2. I agree with MT they have to give you that information. My optical shop was really very friendly about it. I called since we went last July to get her prescription faxed to me and asked for her pupillary distance. They were super friendly about it. They also adjusted Aubrie’s new sunglasses when they came in at no cost since we spend so much money on her regular frames there. The next big debate for me is since it worked out so well from Zenni do I want to get her next regular frames from there or do I want to spend 10x that much at our local shop & get the warranty & adjustments? It’s a tough call! Best of luck!

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  3. We are still waiting for out Zenni sunglasses (over a month now) so I think on drawback to ordering online is that you have to wait for shipping. We just asked out PO what the measurement was and they were happy to provide it for us. We also keep a copy of her perscription in our “eye file” just in case.

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  4. I would add a strong word of caution re: pupilary distance measurement…when in doubt, have an optician do it. It is easy enough to ask for the measure. Echoing Ann Z’s comment…a mismeasurement can lead to eye strain and other issues…so measure twice..order once….or let the pro’s do it. (and..will change with growth..so remeasure with reorders…)

    Ditto too on obtaining info from PO’s, opticians, etc..should never be an issue. I would question patronizing anyplace that would not share this info..

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  5. That’s good to know that others have gotten the PD from their optical shops with no problem. We’ll call our place and ask for Zoe’s. I knew that prescription information needed to be shared, but I wasn’t sure about other measurements.

    Amomofelly, that’s too bad that the sunglasses haven’t come yet, but it’s good to know that it can take a while. That means we need to order soon (we were waiting to make sure there was no prescription change on Friday).

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    • The funny thing is they came in the mail yesturday! The temples are a little bigger, so I am glad I went with something smaller. Elly is in 135 cable temples, so I ordered 130 regular temples and they seem long… but it may be we are just used to having the temples wrap around her ears. It has been raining for the last 2 days, so we haven’t been able to try them out, but they are so cute (we ordered hot pink sunglasses so she could be like her friends and have fun sun glasses!)

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  6. I asked our optical shop (and optometrist’s office) for my husband’s PD and they flat out refused me. I spent $500 there for my glasses, plus the cost of the eye exam, in November. We spent $600 plus the cost of the exam on my husband’s glasses in March. All we wanted his PD for was to order a cheaper pair of sunglasses. I already have prescription sunglasses, although with an older prescription. Their response was that it is not their policy to give out PD’s because it is not in the patient’s best interest to order glasses online. I mean, I understand that. But our benefits only give us back $300 per person every 2 years. Give us a break! When it comes to Penny’s PD, we’ll make sure to get it.

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    • Can you ask Penny’s PO if she’d measure your and your hubbies glasses? I know we love our PO and they may do this for us if we asked? Just a thought. 2 visits ago, I asked our PO about ordering glasses online (our PO wears glasses that she ordered online from Zenni) and she encouraged us to try it and bring the glasses in when we got them so she could make sure the perscription was correct.

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  7. what are the ebst places to order sunglasses online. I fiqured that things most parents say were going to ring true , so I initially got all the info on measurements right away. The optical store only had one pair of glasses that fit his little face. Has anyone experimented with contasts,his OP said that was another otpion?

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    • Hi Mamas, you had some comments in different places, so I will tell you my thoughts all in one place. 🙂 I think amomofelly just ordered her daughter’s sunglasses at zennioptical.com. I have heard good things about them, especially that they are very inexpensive. If you can get all the measurements you need, this would be a good way to go, but it does take a while to get the glasses. I have not heard contacts being used at such a young age except as a last resort for very young children (babies) that will not keep their glasses on, but I think Ann Z has mentioned about contacts for her daughter before. She may know more about it. As for getting your son to wear the glasses and patching and atropine drops, here are my thoughts. Our daughter has strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), is farsighted, and has amblyopia. From my experience, it is best to get your son to get used to the glasses first. The best way to do that is to give him no other option but to wear them. At first, this is a real challenge, and Ann Z has some great posts on here on tips that other parents have tried to get a child used to their glasses in the beginning. If your son has amblyopia, that means that one eye is weaker than the other and therefore, the brain shuts out the weaker eye and only uses the better seeing eye. This is why you do the patching. Glasses is the first step to help your son see better. Once your son has adjusted to the glasses is when PO’s usually recommend to start patching because when you start patching you are taking away the vision of the good eye and making the weaker eye work hard. Our PO definitely recommends patching over atropine drops because it is more effective as it takes the vision completely away. With atropine drops, they can still have some vision in the better eye. Patching is very challenging in the beginning because your son will feel like he is blind and it will take some time to adapt and get the brain used to using that eye. Surgery is not usually recommended at such a young age, unless it is for an eye muscle problem (strabismus). I know it is very overwhelming in the beginning with so much information and a life with glasses ahead, but it gets better and it gets easier. I think MT’s daughter was diagnosed with amblyopia at age 4. She has a blog with a lot of great information on her journey here: amblyopiakids.com. Let your son see some of the kids in glasses on the photogallery and if you like send Ann Z a picture of your son in his glasses. Maybe it will help him keep them on better! I hope this helps. Good luck!

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      • Really quickly, my daughter doesn’t wear contacts. Danielle, whose daughter has a cataract was fitted for a contact, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I don’t know of any one else here whose kids wear contacts. Did your PO think it was an option for your son? I’d love to hear more about that.

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  8. We happened to be at Costco this weekend and stopped by their optical department. They were happy to measure the PD for both me and Zoe (Zoe’s last measurement was in Dec, so I figured we might as well get a new one). We’ve ordered prescription sunglasses for Zoe from Zenni. She keeps asking for blue sunglasses, so that’s what we ordered. Here’s hoping they arrive quickly and she likes them.

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  9. Not sure if this is the best place to post this or not, but I’ll try….I ordered Emma a pair of prescription sunglasses from Zenni and they arrived today. She put them on and they fit her great. The problem? When she wears them she’s telling me her eye(s) are crossing. (She has accommodative esotropia but her eyes do not cross when her regular glasses are on). I got her PD from the optical shop we got her other glasses from so I’m puzzled. Has anyone else had problems like this or with their glasses from Zenni? We actually have a checkup with her PO scheduled for Tuesday so I’m taking them in hopes they can tell if the prescription is right. Just wondered if anyone else has had a similar problem….or any ideas. thanks!

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    • I haven’t had that problem, though I don’t know if Zoe would know to tell me if her eyes were crossing or not – I think it’s pretty great that Emma’s aware enough to tell you that. I think your idea of taking them to the PO on Tuesday is a good one. Keep us updated on this, I’d really be interested to know what ends up being the problem.

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      • We had her appointment yesterday and both a technician and her PO checked the sunglasses. They said the sunglasses look good – the axis measurements are off just a little but not enough to cause a problem. And her PO said her PD difference between her eyes is so minor he can’t imagine that is causing the problem either. He had her put the sunglasses on and could not get either eye to cross. So now I’m completely stumped. I did email Zenni and they said I can send the glasses back for them to check. I’m not sure what to do. I’m torn between sending them back or just keeping them for a couple of weeks and seeing if maybe she just needs to get used to them. (that was sort of the consensus yesterday between her PO and tech). I’ll let you know what happens!

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        • Thanks for the update! I’m happy to hear that the glasses look to be. I hope she does either get used to the sunglasses or you can figure out what’s going on. Keep us updated!

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  10. My daughter is starting kindergarden this August and I really wanted to get her a new pair of glasses and came upon Zenni but I have a few questions that I don’t know if anyone can help me with. She wears a bifocal and Zenni only has like 2 options for us. I do like one of the pairs that they are able to put a bifocal in but I was just wondering if anyone else has ordered bifocals from Zenni. I’m sort of weary to order from them but the price is just so hard to pass up. $50 for a complete pair of glasses with clip on sunglasses compared to close to $200 just for lenses. If anyone has ordered bifocals from Zenni I’d appreciate some advise so I don’t waste my money if there’s any issues. Thanks so much…

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