Oh Say Can You See…How I Got Great Prescription Glasses (and Saved Money) Online
By Alison Blackman
I remember the huge, beautiful chandelier in the fancy store we went to when I got my first pair of prescription glasses (I was in the fifth grade). But the process of selecting frames and getting fitted was a huge chore. People fussed, measurements were taken, and the process seemed endless. I know those glasses must have cost my parents a lot of money (someone had to pay for that huge, beautiful chandelier).
Since then, I’ve had many, many pairs of prescription glasses, but getting them is a chore, and (with my prescription) quite costly. But technology has provided us with another way to get great prescription glasses for a lot less money and hassle, without ever having to leave home. If you have a current prescription from your ophthalmologist and a sense of your own style, you can save time and money (actually a lot of money) buying prescription eye glasses online. The key is finding a reputable and easy way to do it.
Coastal.com for example, is well known for selling contact lenses online, but I didn’t realize that they had fashion and prescription eye glass services until they contacted me , Since The Advice Sisters are all about the things that help make life easier and more fun when the folks from Coastal.com asked if I’d like to try their service, of course I said “yes.”
If you’ve never ordered prescription glasses online, you might wonder if you can really get high quality glasses when you’re not in a store with people fussing over you. The answer is, yes, but online sites vary both in quality and in how they manage the process.
No matter what online site you choose, the most important thing you will need for (prescription) glasses is a current prescription from your doctor. If you already wear prescription lenses you probably already know what kind you need (e.g. are they single vision or perhaps, progressives?) and what size eye glass frame you currently wear, or want to wear. When ordering online, every detail, matters.
The next thing you will need to decide is what kind of frames you want, and whether or not the ones you like will fit your face. In my case, the size I need is for a narrow face and often there aren’t too many choices, but most sites have some sort of style finder as does Coastal.com . The Coastal style finder, for example, guide you through the process as you answer just a few questions (most of them are easy) such as who are these frames for (man or woman) and do you like plastic or metal frames better. and a range of color choices.
A critical question and it’s tricky (for some) is adding information about the current eyeglass frame measurements. If you love the size and shape of the glasses you currently have you can generally check on the earpieces and find this information. If you don’t love the size and shape, or you don’t have a clue, alas, you’re on your own as far as what you want to add here, or skip the question. *if you need to you can call customer service as well. But you have to have some idea of what size frame will flatter and fit your face or your new glasses will overpower your face, or look too tiny on it (some frame also can’t accommodate progressive lenses). Size matters!
At the end of the questionnaire you’ll get some suggestions for frames that will work with your face shape and that fit your general style requirements. When I’ve done this in the past, I have not been happy with the suggestions, and I wasn’t bowled over by what Coastal suggested for me either. But you can go back into the web site and just look for frames that have measurements similar to the ones you need. My one caveat is to really check the frame measurements carefully. Although some sites have a virtual try-on tool that lets you see how that frame will look on your actual face, Coastal.com doesn’t. *there is a 365 day return policy (within 30 days of the original order) with free shipping and returns.
As I had a limited editor’s budget, and I’m not that great with charts and numbers, I had some difficulty choosing a pair of frames I really liked. I had help from the folks at Coastal.com and eventually I settled on the Derek Cardigan 7019 Garnet — a pair of cats-eye glasses (my favorite shape) that could be purchased in black (way too dark for me), tortoise (not interested) and red (yes please!). Look carefully at the information provided (there’s a lot of it) and make sure it’s what you want. There was also a video on the website showing more about the glasses but it won’t tell you whether or not those frames will fit your face — only the charts (or contacting Costal) can help you here.
I just love these frames from Coastal.com, in RED!
I entered this information, but discovered later on that the axis didn’t appear on the order. When my original set of glasses arrived, I couldn’t see clearly out of them. While I am absolutely certain that I entered the information and triple checked-it, things do get lost in translation. Mistakes happen even in a bricks and mortar store. However, when you are the one entering the information, the error is going to be seen as your fault. I called customer service and (in all honesty) it was impossible for me to prove that I hadn’t included the axis information. It was a bit of a struggle when I requested not just a return of the glasses, but a re-do. The customer service person never mentioned the 365 day return policy and I’d only had the glasses a couple of hours, so read the return and other policies thoroughly before you order and pay. In the end, I was able to send back the incorrect glasses and within a short period of time received another, correct, pair. My glasses arrived packed in a hard sided black case along with a little eye glass kit in a plastic case (cleansing cloth, a small bottle of spray cleanser, and a mini screwdriver on a keychain).
Here are two “selfies” I took wearing my Derek Cardigan 7019 Garnet prescription glasses from Coastal.com!
The Bottom Line: If you want to save money, online ordering can save you hundreds (and in my case, over $1,.000) . My normal glasses run around $1,500 and up. These glasses from Coastal.com would have been under $450 had I paid for them (I received them as editor’s courtesy). That’s am amazing savings. The ordering process was easy and fast (the time consuming part was figuring out what frames I liked best) and in the end, Coastal.com came through. While it is nice to have someone check the sizes of the frames and the prescription so nothing goes wrong, being careful when you order reduces the risk of making a mistake.
Who needs a crystal chandelier in a store, when you can get great looking glasses of good quality at a fabulous price without ever leaving your desk?!!!! I’m thinking about ordering sunglasses for Summer…now which ones should I get?...hmmmm….!!“for a better way to buy eyewear” visit the Coastal.com web site