Tested: Prescription Sunglasses from Zenni Optical

zenni optical website logo

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.

I’m sold, let me order a pair…

ZenniOptical.com – The Ordering Process

Starting at www.zennioptical.com

First, you have to pick out your frames. I thought these ones looked good:

zenni website product picture

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…

zenni glasses in case

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.

my zenni glasses

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!

wearing zenni glasses

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.

Official website: www.zennioptical.com

Product Review Details
Company: Zenni Optical.
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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6 Comments so far

  1. Cyclewhizz on May 11th, 2009

    For better looking Rx adapter Sunglasses at reasonable prices checkout Kontrol Sports

  2. Steve on May 31st, 2009

    I’m looking for cheap but true prescription wraparounds. Can’t find any, only inserts, or mega-bucks expensive models. Any leads?

  3. Levi on May 31st, 2009

    @Steve

    Those are the only two categories I’m aware of, so I’m still on the hunt for the same thing you are.

    The Rx insert glasses aren’t much better than these ones I have from Zenni optical, and then the good ones like the Rudy Project DirectRX program glasses are something like $500 and up.

  4. Ben on October 22nd, 2009

    Zenni will not do tint and AR on the same glasses.

  5. cathy on February 24th, 2010

    Come on, no more Zenni please! There are so many online optical stores to choose from. I have bought from most of them and the nicest deal is definitely the one from http://www.glassesshop.com. You have my words on it.

  6. Keith on March 26th, 2010

    I could not order the glasses with tint and AR on the same lens a few months ago.Allen, one of my friends, showed me his Zenni glasses with tint and AR which was very attractive. I emailed their customer service and got a positive reply that they started to do tint and AR on the same lens from the beginning of this month! Fantastic! I am ordering a pair too.

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