Thursday, May 08, 2008

Prize on the Eyes

My friend Mortimer has been doing a lot better lately-- he's gotten past his apartment crises, hasn't had any major health crises, and has been steadily employed. He's managed to pay off his credit card bill, and is now feeling more comfortable spending money on a few things he's wanted for a while.
One of these things, which I think actually qualifies as a need, not just a want, is a new pair of eyeglasses. Mortimer hadn't been to an eye doctor in several years, but he finally went, and then asked me to come and help him pick out new glasses.

I was expecting the search to be painful, but we actually found Mortimer a very nice pair without too much trouble. Of course they turned out to be Paul Smith frames that cost $365. But if you think that's bad, wait til you hear what the total cost was: since Mortimer needs bifocals, now known as progressive lenses, and also wanted the lenses that turn dark in bright sun, the final bill came to $1,200!
I was a little shocked when I heard the number, but when you figure that he saved himself having to buy a second pair of prescription sunglasses, it doesn't seem that bad. And since he'll probably wear these glasses for several years, the cost could work out to less than a dollar a day-- not much to pay for looking good and seeing well.

12 comments:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I hate to be a downer, but I have several friends who order their prescription glasses on the internet. Each frame has a style number, so you can order with your prescription and style number information... they come in about a week and are a lot less expensive...

Madame X said...

How does the online place know where your pupils are centered on the lens? I would think glasses need some in-person fitting to really be right, speaking as someone who has had glasses that never quite felt right...

Kaitlin said...

My roommate (an optician) could tell you all about why the online places are crap and that "you get what you pay for" but, it basically boils down to what madame x said, the online places can't do a proper adjustment, can't get the lenses cut properly (i.e. centered on your pupil), etc.

About the tinted lenses, I don't know if Mortimer has had them before, but I really didn't like them at all. I thought the same thing ("this'll save me from having to buy sunglasses") but they don't really feel the same as a good pair of sunglasses. They get darker, but they don't seem to help with the glare of the sun. And, they still seem to take a really long time to transition back into normal clear tint. I used to have to take mine off for a few minutes when I cam into a building, just like if they were foggy.

Chief Family Officer said...

Wow, and I thought my last pair of glasses was expensive at just under $600. Of course, I've worn them for about four years now (maybe 5), so that works out to 40 cents per day. But I usually only wear them for a few hours a day, since I wear contacts. They were still worth it, though - they're the first pair of glasses I've had that I didn't hate!

Anonymous said...

Go to Costco. They have on-site optometrist + the prices for frames and glasses are great.

nobrainerdeals said...

Since he has been sacrificing on buying things for so long I am sure it was very rewarding to finally be able to buy something he wanted. Good for him.

SandyVoice said...

I need new glasses, too, and haven't bought them because I don't have the money. My last pair, four years ago, with what passes these days for a reasonably priced frame (only $165), but with complicated lenses, was $525. It may be true that is, effectively, only about 35¢ a day, but I can't pay for them that way. The bill comes all at once! Even if it's spread out over several months, on a retailer's payment plan, it's still a lot to take out of a budget with no fat.

twannette said...

I don't think that's bad, but it lets me know that my decision to have Lasik done two years ago was really worth it. I've had no side effects and since my insurance (Blue Cross) was offering a discount $899 per eye for standard I bit. So I got out a little under $2k and used my flex pay at work, too. I may end up with a better deal than Mortimer. But I'm happy for him and his new purchase. Hope he enjoys them for years to come.

mfaorbust said...

Pricey, for sure, but I bet he looks sharp!

If he's in the market ever again, I would recommend getting his prescription filled in Chinatown. I got mine done at Optical 88, on Hester, and paid $130 for a lightweight, super-strong prescription.

sip said...

$1200? You must be kidding! Opticians, like Realtors are always quick to knock the online glasses retailers.

I have used Zenni optical on two occasions, paying about $45 for EXACTLY the same titanium frames and lenses that I could have paid over $600 for in a local shop. Even if were crap, I could just buy 13 pairs of them for the same price!

There's a GREAT blog on the whole online eyeglasses affair, it's not mine but I think some of the readers would get some valuable information from it;

http://glassyeyes.blogspot.com/

Regards!

sip said...

Oh and as for the pupil distance (PD) my eye doctor was more than willing to add that measurement to my last prescription - most people are apparently 61 :-)

Regards!

Jerry said...

TWELVE HUNDRED DOLLARS? Wow, that's steep. But hey, I am glad that he found a pair that he liked. Was there no insurance to help Mortimer with the bill?
It's not hard to center pupils on lenses with a good PD measurement - (pupil distance). I worked in an optical shop during grad school, and as long as that number is accurate that should lead to the glasses being fine. They don't often cut the lenses in the optical shop, anyway, they usually send them off to the lab.
Jerry
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