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Reviews of online eyeglasses vendors are largely absent on traditional review sites. In order to educate consumers about the process of buying cheap eyewear online while sharing their own positive experiences, two bloggers independently launched eyeglasses review sites in 2006.
"It made me really angry that a lot of people in stressful financial situations have to go spend hundreds of dollars on glasses because they don't know there's another choice out there," said Eyeglass Retailer Reviews blogger Matt Gadient of his motivation to start a website. "I wanted to let them know that, hey, there are these other places you can go."
Both Eyeglass Retailer Reviews and Glassy Eyes, run by Ira Mitchell, follow the same formula. Each blogger periodically orders eyewear from various etailers without revealing their identity, then posts honest eyeglasses reviews of the ordering experience, customer service, and product received. The bloggers do not accept free eyewear in exchange for eyeglasses reviews, preferring to eliminate all possibility of special treatment.
Neither eyeglasses review site has been significantly updated since 2009, but both bloggers insist that they are still very involved with their sites and the content, blaming the lag in new information on an industry that has plateaued. The bloggers are in the process of placing a new round of orders and plan to post the results within the next few months.
Leveraging the research of these eyeglasses review experts and the user reviews we found on discussion boards, Epinions, and Reseller Ratings, we learned that the online eyeglasses trend has won converts far and wide. Most consumers are happy with the cost, quality, and performance of their budget specs and in eyeglasses reviews have plenty to say about the experience.
Cheap Eyeglasses Quality.The cost of buying eyeglasses online is so much less than you're used to paying that you can't help but wonder, will the quality be the same as glasses purchased locally? There are differing opinions about this expressed in eyeglasses reviews, and the short answer is, for some consumers it is, for others it isn't. A writer for Slate found his Goggles 4 U specs to be every bit as good as those purchased from his optometrist, but a customer who posted an eyeglasses review of Zenni Optical in Insider Pages is far less impressed and says you get what you pay for.
Most consumers on the hunt for cheap eyeglasses fall somewhere in the middle. A three-time Goggles 4 U purchaser writes in an eyeglasses review on Reseller Ratings that he's satisfied with the pairs he ordered but recommends steering clear of the cheap rimless frames. And a review of Zenni Optical broadcast on YouTube declares that the $20 specs are "good enough."
Many Internet purchasers choose to place test orders first, selecting from the cheapest frames and buying from one or more different vendors. If the quality falls short of expectations, they use the glasses as a backup pair or donate them, as did a Goggles 4 U customer who posted an eyeglasses review on Glassy Eyes forums. Although you may not end up the convert that this Zenni Optical enthusiast did, evidenced by a posting on Viewpoints, you may decide that discount eyeglass frames are a deal you can't ignore.
One of the biggest dangers of ordering eyeglasses online is the potential for receiving an incorrect prescription. Although significant differences in prescriptions quickly become apparent, you might not notice subtle errors. Wearing lenses with the wrong vision correction or PD (pupillary distance) can cause headaches and deterioration in your sight. For those reasons, it's best to take eyeglasses purchased via the Internet to an optometrist to confirm whether the prescription and PD are accurate.
Don't Bother Discount Eyeglass Providers
Optical 4 Less
Known for high-quality lenses, this Hong Kong-based company has been plagued recently by reports of evasive customer service. The only cheap eyeglasses retailer offering mineral glass lenses or a mirrored coating, it also boasts the widest selection of tints. Experts say that bifocals are too pricey. Read more »
Optical 4 Less Review
Goggles 4 U Review
Eye Buy Direct Review
Zenni Optical Review
39 Dollar Glasses Review
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