Get this – not only can you find super duper deals on cycling clothing online, you can even find extreme discounts on prescription eye wear! “Extreme” as in $8 for frames and prescription lenses!
I guess this isn’t something new, but this was the first I’ve heard of Zenni Optical, a discount online store for prescription glasses. Prices start at $8 for frames and lenses, which sounds too good to be true, considering how I pay $200-300 for a pair of prescription glasses from the optometrist.
It’s not that bad if you wear glasses every day, but normally I wear my Focus Night & Day contact lenses, and only wear my glasses on rare occasions. So I’d rather not spend too much money on the rare occasions I wear glasses.
Unfortunately, some of those “rare occasions” when I wear glasses are days I want to ride, but I hate to ride in my prescription glasses. They’re not very sporty, they’re expensive, and they’re fragile. And they’re not sunglasses!
So if I had a sportier pair of prescription sunglasses, I’d be pretty happy. Too bad the good ones from Rudy Project cost $300, and it’s just not worth it for all the more I’d wear them.
But for $17.90 ($8 glasses, $4.95 tint, and $4.95 shipping,) Zenni Optical is worth a shot. (FatWallet.com and Yelp.com show both good and bad reviews of ZenniOptical.com, so I’ll just hope for the best.)
Worst case scenario, I only wasted $18, and I could probably even donate the glasses to charity if they’re not too screwed up. And if I get plastic frames, they should be fairly comparable to some cheap sunglasses. Check this…
“All of our single vison, lined bi-focal and progressive bi-focal lens are of a premium-quality, high-index, polycarbonate composite polymer, high-impact resistant lens with full UV protection and a special strong anti-scratch coating.”
A plastic frame with polycarbonate lens – exactly what I wanted for mountain biking! These should be lightweight, tough, and safe.
First, you have to pick out your frames. I thought these ones looked good:
They’re fairly nice, plastic, and only eight bucks. I picked the brown/yellow frames, and then scrolled down for ordering options…
Now, you do need to know your prescription details. If you have a form from your optometrist, you’re all set. Just follow the instructions provided by Zenni Optical on how to input your info. I was confused at first with all the numbers, but their simple instructions solved everything in a matter of seconds. (So this is a time when it pays to read the instructions first!)
Once you fill that out and add the glasses to your cart, the ordering process itself is very simple. You just go through a few steps to give them your name, address, billing info, etc. There’s no need for your optometrist info or prescription verification.
You don’t even need to sign-up for a customer account, so the checkout was fast and easy.
I placed my order on July 20th at 8 AM. The site says, “most orders will be delivered in two weeks. Orders which require some extra, special or custom lab work like progressives, bi-focals, custom suntint, or extra strength prescriptions can take three to six days extra.” So mine should arrive between August 2-8.
So I sit back and wait…
Fast forward to August 4th. The glasses arrived nicely, packed safely with a case and cleaning cloth. The case is hard plastic – nothing special, but nice and sturdy. The glasses are also plastic, with one arm too tight and the other one a little loose. I expected that, especially because I’ve had some more expensive sunglasses come like that.
I messed with my eyeglasses screwdriver a little bit and got the glasses a little better, but not perfect.
Overall, the glasses are not spectacular, but they are nice. I really like the 80% amber tint – as I mentioned in my sunglasses lens color guide, amber is great for sunny and cloudy days. The prescription seems correct and on par with my other glasses, too.
Unfortunately there is some sort of glare with these when I’m riding towards the sun. I’ve never had that with my real sunglasses or with my regular prescription glasses.
That’s kind of annoying, not to mention unsafe, depending on the road or trail you’re riding. Maybe I should have spent another $4.95 for the anti-reflective lens coating?
If I did, we’d be getting a little too far off the $8 price tag!
My final verdict is…
These are decent glasses. They are not quite “good,” but what do you expect for $8.00? I might buy another pair someday, but I don’t want to press my luck any more. I mean, I kind of got lucky that the glasses fit. Since you can’t try them on, you have to go by the measurements listed on the site.
So the glasses are low quality, but very usable in normal circumstances. They’re not that great for riding, though. But $8 glasses and $4.95 shipping is worth the gamble if you want some cheap, backup prescription glasses for lawn work or something.