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It's been a while since the last time I've taken a step back to see how the online eyeglasses market has progressed. There have been a number of very noticeable changes to me in the past year or so.

First, there are fewer big sales happening, which makes me think that things are starting to settle down a bit. The big boys have found their places and a number of the smaller places have either closed up shop or are struggling to keep the lights on.

Another of the trends I've been seeing is that there seem to be fewer problems overall. There was a time when I'd be working with at least a half-dozen people a week to answer questions and get issues ironed out. Those numbers have dropped while the orders have increased. We're definitely seeing many more repeat customers now, and the ones who've had success are bringing the word of online eyeglasses to their friends and families -- and sharing the knowledge they've gained in the process.

One of the things I'm most impressed with in the past twelve to eighteen months is the entry of Warby Parker. It's nice to see some style and class come to the market in the mid-price range. Their site is beautiful and they even offer a monocle if you happen to be Colonel Klink.

All in all, it's a quieter, safer period we're in -- much less wilderness -- but I'd kill for some big deals once in a while.

What are your thoughts?

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At August 17, 2011 at 12:07 PM RedStickHam said...

I'd like to see a good sale or two also, it's always nice to get something a little cheaper, even though most online prices are pretty good to begin with. One thing I do is enter the name of the glasses shop and either word discount or coupon into Google and I often find discount codes for some of these shops. I recently got 30% off at GlassesUSA for my bifocals that way. Getting bifocals for $120 isn't a bad deal.

I enjoy the site very much, keep up the good work.

At August 17, 2011 at 1:01 PM Ian said...

ugh that's what happens after a recession... the big companies survive, the little ones go out of business, and the market consolidates. it's going to be tougher to find deals

(i DO like the Warby Parker pick though)

At August 17, 2011 at 2:13 PM Ira said...


Look for a writeup on GlassesUSA very soon. Looking to get some good exclusive deals going too.

At August 17, 2011 at 3:28 PM Maya said...

The one thing I'm still disappointed about is the fact that so many of the online shops still don't offer higher rx. As someone who is -6.5 this sucks. I've found one place that offers -6, but some don't even offer above -4. This is the only bummer for me that remains.

At August 17, 2011 at 11:52 PM jenny bento said...

It's interesting you say that. With Coastal Contacts entering the market I feel like there's been a TON of not just competitive but downright crazy cheap blowouts.

I think time and Warby's return policies have normalized buying glasses online. I think I've bought glasses online for 6 or so years now, and in the beginning everyone I told thought it was CRAZY. Now when people compliment my glasses and I tell them how to order online, they think of it as an actual option and many of them do order.

I think the other major difference is style. When I first started ordering online, only the most basic styles were available. Now, I feel like stores have the far more limited selection. I don't know if it's just because an online store is able to offer so many more styles & colors?

At August 18, 2011 at 1:40 PM Ira said...

(from RedStickHam -- I accidentally deleted this when I was trying to approve it)


All the glasses vendors I have used go to at least -10. I've used 39DollarGlasses, EyeBuyDirect, Coastal Contacts, GlassesUSA, and just ordered from Zenni Optical. My biggest hurdle has been finding wide frames and longer(145mm) temple arms.

At August 18, 2011 at 5:31 PM Maya said...

Are you including cylinder in that? I forgot to specify that, but cylinder is the aspect I'm talking about(I have a severe astigmatism) and the last time I was trying to find somewhere to supply me with that, Zenni was the only one that offered it. (well, kind of - I ended up trying -6 since they don't offer -6.5) I'm checking Zenni now and it seems it remains the same - -6 is the highest they go. Sucks. :(

At August 19, 2011 at 12:32 PM RedStickHam said...

One other thing I've gotten from buying online is I'm much more knowledgeable about glasses than before, and I've been wearing glasses for 28 years. I've learned that most of the over the years, the glasses I got weren't fitted properly, which is why I always had trouble keeping them on my face. I also learned about index ratings on lenses and how to read my prescriptions. I haven't been able to convert other people to the online glasses revolution yet, but I have helped a few not get too badly ripped off by the brick and mortar places, which is nice.

At August 23, 2011 at 2:13 AM tikvah73 said...

I've ordered from goggle4u and 39dollar glasses before and was able to get my prescription but most recently the only place I could find to order from was zenni optical. I think both of those places changed what prescriptions they will make. I check in at -10.75 in one eye and -9.5 in the other and tried with and without astigmatism when I was trying to order this Spring.

Maybe it was a temporary anomaly? I hope so because I like having the extra choices.


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