As I have mentioned before, I wear glasses.

Great big thick ones

I’ve worn them since I was very young, about seven or eight I think. Without them everything beyond about six inches from my face is nothing but a colorful blur.

A couple of years ago my current glasses at the time were getting really worn. The lenses were scratched and the enamel of the frames was starting to chip. Since my deep reservoir of funds was more like a poverty puddle, I knew I couldn’t afford a new pair even though I badly needed them. I did have insurance through work, but it covered the doctor’s visit to get my prescription, not the glasses themselves. The pair that was falling apart had cost me a big chunk of change and I just didn’t have that kind of money laying around. Like so many people with terrible problems, I decided to ask uncle Google if there was an answer.

And there was.

I found a website called GlassyEyes that explained how to buy glasses online and also reviewed the best websites for purchasing them. All I needed was a current prescription.

And the prices! My old pair had cost almost two hundred dollars. I eventually found glasses as cheap as five to ten dollars.

I may have overdone it a touch.

I never knew the markup on glasses was so incredibly high. If I had bought any one of those pairs of glasses in a brick and mortar store I would have had to shell out at least a hundred bucks, probably more. My most expensive pair, my really nice ones with the photo-chromatic lenses (top right in photo) that I wear most often, cost sixty five dollars. The cheapest, the roundish one at bottom-right, were $4.95. And they all work beautifully.

The GlassyEyes site is a wealth of information explaining how to get your pupillary distance (or PD), which you need to get properly fitted glasses. For some reason some doctors are reluctant to give out this information even though it’s supposed to be part of your prescription. I just asked the doctor and she checked a setting on the machine that looks like a giant mechanical owl’s face that you look through while they say “better one :click: or two?”

If you don’t have a cooperative doctor, you just need a friend or acquaintance or helpful bystander, your current glasses, and a magic marker or non-permanent felt tipped pen. Stare straight ahead and have your friend place a dot over each pupil, then measure the distance between the two dots. That measurement, in millimeters, is you PD.

Like this.

You’ll also need the measurements of your current glasses if you want something of a similar size. The information is written as a string of numerals on one of the temples, but if this has rubbed off (mine did) you can just measure your glasses with a ruler. Or you can go to an optical shop, try on a few pairs, and write down or memorize the size from the temple.

Several sites have a “virtual try-on” feature; download a full-face picture of yourself and you can “try on” different glasses. It’s not exactly the same as trying them on in person, but it’s close.

The GlassyEyes site and it’s forum has reviews for the different sites, who had what kind of problems, any coupons or sales that might be running, that sort of thing. You can ask questions and the community will do it’s best to help you.

I recently bought yet another pair, my first  hingeless pair.

These handsome fellows

They came in a bubble envelope, wrapped in a microfiber cleaning cloth, sealed in a little plastic bag with a spare set of nosepads, and inside a hard case.

:sniff-sniff: They have that new glasses smell!

I love these bad boys, but I will still wear my other ones from time to time.

If I could make a recommendation, it would be to order the cheapest possible lenses the first time you order a pair of glasses. That way you can see how they fit, if they are comfortable, how weel-made the glasses are, that sort of thing. If you like them, order another pair with better lenses. That way you have a spare frame to cannibalize if anything breaks on your good glasses.

Now you may be saying, “I don’t need glasses, my eyes are perfect!” In that case, my dear hypothetical reader, let me just say “I hate you.”

And more.

You can get glasses with plano (zero prescription) lenses and have them tinted any color you like. Rose colored, baby blue, orange, any color at all. Even dark grey or dark brown

if you want to be boring. If you do need prescription lenses, you can get those tinted as well, it runs about five dollars regardless.

So if you are like me and constantly poor, online glasses are definitely the way to go.