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Total width = left side width + left lens width + bridge width + right lens width + right side width

I've just sent out an email to one of the sites that doesn't provide a "total width" measurement on the frames asking them to start providing it.

Until that happens (and with other sites that don't provide it), here is how you can come up with that number with nothing more than a ruler, your monitor, pencil and paper, and some junior-high math.

Here's how it works:

There is a way to get a pretty decent estimation if you can get a decent photo of the front of the frame (in any size) and have the actual lens width measurement. Using a simple equation solving for 'x'.

In the (fabulous) sketch above, 47 is the actual lens width. 22 is the measured width (in mm) on the printed photo, and 4 is the measured width (also in mm) from the outside edge of the lens to the very edge of the frame. Solving for x you get the following (47 x 4)/22 = 8.545454 (or effectively 8.5) for the external width.

Multiply your known lens width by 2, add the known bridge width, and add your solved-for temple width multiplied by 2 and you have a total width.

In this case, (47 * 2) + (8.5 * 2) + 19 = 130mm.

In the meantime, I'll continue to PLEAD with them to save us from this silliness.

Hope this helps.

Erin Schneider, "The Cheap Chick", called me a few months ago for a potential television news piece on GlassyEyes. She's fantastic to talk to and her ideas on frugality make me look like spendthrift.

Anyway, she did a combo piece on the online glasses thing and economical dental care the other night on the Twin Cities FOX affiliate. It's a nice piece that shows a broader audience that there are some great ways to save on healthcare if you look hard enough -- which is certainly easier with new glasses.

Here is a link to the video:

Thanks Erin!

This is a biggie -- and while the kind folks at 39DollarGlasses don't want to lose brand identity, it's essentially "Twenty-nine Dollar Glasses" when you use this link.

I'm not sure how long it will stick around, but don't wait too long.

Have a great (lonnnnnnnng) weekend!


UPDATE: Some of you have messaged me that it's not working. It is, it automatically inserts a code in "step five" of the checkout process and displays a message: "Code accepted: Save $10 on this order!"

Related Posts and Links:

Hi Goat!There are less than 12 hours left to take advantage of the 20% off Mother's Day Sale. This is great way to economically say, "Thanks for having me!"

Here's the link.

Here's the code: "loveumom"

Related Posts and Links:

No topic has contributed more forum posts than those of pupillary distance and how angry some optical folks get when asked to provide it (the police were called -- BY THE OPTOMETRIST -- in one of the stories).

It dawned on me today as I read the seemingly thousandth forum post on the subject of PD, that if online glasses were truly inferior to their severely overpriced mall-store cousins, it would be in LensCrafters' best interest to gladly provide PD measurements to any and all who asked.

Upon delivery, if these online eyeglasses were so bad, people would surely flock back to the mall to pay the $400 "bad-eyesight tax", thanking the lab-coated cashier all the while for taking their money.

LensCrafters isn't doing this because they know that their 1000% mark-ups are in serious danger of evaporating (even further) once the toothpaste is fully out of the tube. Look at the recent Q1 2009 profit numbers for Luxottica (#1) and Saffilo (#2):

Luxottica: First quarter profits fall 36%

Safilo: First quarter net-profit falls 87%, net sales drop 11.7%.
If I was an investor, I'd be quite uncertain of a bounce even when the economy starts to head upwards. If I cared about those around me, I'd help spread the word. ;-)

EyeBuyDirect is doing a Mother's Day sale until the end of the day on Sunday. Get an extra 5% off (now 20%!) during this event. Buy them for your mom, buy them IF you're a mom, buy them if you EVER HAD a mom. This is a good deal.

UPDATE: I was told there would be no code necessary, but apparently use 'loveumom' for the full 20%. Sorry for the miscommunication.

At the same time they are introducing an option into a number of their frames to embed genuine Swarovski Crystals into the lenses. They're calling this their "Party Glasses" product.

I don't think I'll ever do this -- for me, but they've got six different shades and for $19.99, it's a nice accent that is bound to get comments. A great idea if you want to stand out -- and one more reason that I think EyeBuyDirect is doing a lot to increase options for online buyers and move the industry forward.

You may have noticed the review of 39DollarGlasses earlier today. I'll be rolling these out for all of the retailers I cover over the next week or so -- and linking them to the [review] links to the left.

Updates will happen as needed to the original posts. I think it'll be easier to stay on top of them here rather than in the forum system (which has lost more updates than I can count).


I was weeding out the forum's pending posts of penis pills and porn and happed upon this message from a newbie. He asks a series of good questions -- that I'm more than happy to answer.

He begins:

I have checked out several sites that sell glasses online. Some... offer brand name frames but still at seemingly reasonable prices, probably less than I would pay if I used my insurance discount at a physical store.

There are indeed a number of sites online that sell designer frames. The prices range from similar to the mall stores to significantly less. The difference is usually whether the frames are current or previous year's designs. If you're looking for something stamped on the temple to let the world know what you're wearing, then this is a viable option.

Others... are similar to a "dollar store," it seems to me. That is, they have very inexpensive frames but frames with names you'd be unlikely to find anywhere else. Some also include the lenses in the price, which is almost unbelievable.

In fact, almost all include lenses. What should really shock you is the mark-up you've been paying for lenses for as long as you've been wearing glasses. Standard single-vision lenses in bulk can cost as little as $2 per pair, progressives can be found for $6. Let that sink in a bit. No one is grinding lenses from a blank anymore. Need a -2.75 lens? Open a box and you've got one. Pop it in a machine to cut it to fit the frame and move on to the next one.

Now take a look at your frames. Unless you're the kind of person who wears eyeglasses frames hand-made from a solid chunk of metal by silent, chaste monks in the foothills of the Alps, there really isn't much to them -- some plastic or metal temples, maybe some 20lb test fishing line, a few fiddly bits... It should be almost unbelievable that they cost what they do in the stores.

My question is whether the low price corresponds to a low quality in frame and lens craftsmanship and/or service.

This are two very different questions.

First, on quality... I've bought well over 30 pairs of glasses in the past 30 months since this started. All but perhaps 3 pairs (less than 10%) matched or exceeded the previous half-dozen pairs I found in various places around the house. I paid over $400 for each of the previous two pairs I bought at LensCrafters -- a mistake I, and almost everyone who has taken the online eyeglasses plunge, will never make again.

On service? This is trickier. There are many variables to this. There are many online retailers and some are better than others -- far better. Even with the good ones (look over to the left column) there are sometimes problems. For me, it's more important how they deal with these difficulties. I've had excellent luck with my orders, and in helping most of the people who have come to me looking for help. There are exceptions in this as there are in the mall retailers.

Do you get what you pay for in the arena of online glasses buying?

I can't stress this enough, you DO GET what you pay for with online eyeglasses -- instead of paying TEN TIMES more than you should pay. (this is the one case where I wish the 'blink' tag still worked in all browsers)

Has anyone had experience buying from both the more expensive sites and the lower priced ones? Did you notice any significant difference?

I've bought from both. This site deals primarily with the more economical side of the equation as I think it's a much more important side. I've already talked about the quality being on par. Service is, again, the wildcard. There is no appreciable, overall difference based on average price of eyeglasses. The low-end shops win big on price and hold their own or exceed the higher-priced stores on service -- usually.
Thank you.

You're welcome. Hope it helped.

This is hard for me to write.

I've had a decent relationship with the people at Optical4Less since the beginning of this site. Albert was routinely open to helping out or at least listening to reason when GlassyEyes users had issues.

That communication has pretty much stopped of late.

About six months ago -- maybe a bit longer -- I started getting a bit of a runaround. Nearly every time I went to bat for one of you, I'd get a response from one of the two people I know at Optical4Less like, "Could you please ask the customer to reply us through our ticket system so we can deal with him? It is not much we can do if he is out of our ticket system." (sic)

I'm a big fan of well-defined processes, but I'd get responses like this when there was already a "ticket" going that was either being ignored or under served by customer service. Red tape is no way to deal with dissatisfied customers if you want to keep them coming back or telling their friends. Realistically, if you're in this business, your customers are your best salespeople -- and they PAY you for the privilege!

I still feel like there is a decent chance you will get what you order from them, but my recent pleas for help have gone unanswered and the number of issues I'm seeing are rising. It puts me in a place I don't like to be -- unable to help. With the other sites listed to the left, I can get through to someone pretty quickly and almost always get the issue dealt with to the customer's satisfaction (be it remaking the glasses or refunding all or part of the price).

I'm not sure I can say that with Optical4Less any longer.

Cavaet Emptor.

Perhaps they won't care that I write this, but I do. I've sent thousands of people their way with my blessing.

I'd love to be able to write a retraction -- and really hope I can at some point, but it's going to take some time and some significant changes to make that happen.