Zenni Optical may be the most important company I’ve discovered in a long time.
The three pairs of prescription glasses pictured above? They cost me a total of $28.75, including shipping.
Utterly ridiculous, right? The prescriptions must be wrong, or the frames must be ready to fall apart, or the lenses must be overly susceptible to scratches.
Nope. Every pair is comparable, in every way, to the last pair of glasses I purchased for $300-plus. A pair of glasses, I might add, that never quite fit correctly, despite numerous follow-up visits for adjustments, and featured lenses with a disorienting flare effect despite the addition of a recommended coating.
Zenni ships its products direct from China to California, then to customers. If the price difference were less dramatic, say, $250 for glasses I would pay $300 for locally, I probably wouldn’t bother ordering from Zenni. But the site lists perfectly fashionable and functional frames starting at $6.95 a pair (the price of each pair of frames pictured above, in fact).
I can only assume that this means I have been paying ENTIRELY too much for frames, even the supposedly inexpensive models sporting no name brand. I would hazard a guess that some of the same frames that Zenni carries probably get stamped with a designer label before being marked up in price some 2000 percent and going on sale here.
The one thing that I’ve always hated about glasses (and the thing that has prompted me to wear contact lenses, no matter how uncomfortable they can be at times) has been the one-pair-at-a-time problem. Glasses are so expensive that you feel like you only get to have one good pair, with maybe an old pair as backup.
Even the cheapest frames and lenses are going to set you back $200, an amount that isn’t prohibitive, necessarily, but has always made me hesitate to purchase more than one pair at a time.
I’ve always wished that glasses were like earrings: I want a selection to match moods and outfits.
Zenni has made this wish come true, turning glasses into fun, affordable accessories.
Wait until you see me in the blue pair.