Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Website Wednesday: I Can See Clearly Now

On Wednesdays I write about websites that I visit often.

I buy my prescription eyeglasses on the Internet. From Hong Kong.

Having worn glasses and contact lenses for 37 years, I know good glasses when I see 'em. The ones I've ordered from Optical 4 Less so far have been great. I bought two pairs about nine months ago and just ordered two more. I get compliments every week on my mail order glasses, and can't wait for my latest ones to arrive.

This style I'm having made as sunglasses with a dark grey tint:

These are just fun and funky (and BLUE!):

Both are high-index 1.56 aspheric lenses with anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coating, which comes standard. If you buy two pairs at a time, shipping is free. From Hong Kong. It takes about 10 days. How cool is that?

What would you pay for two pairs of fun, trendy spectacles at a major chain like LensCrafters? $300? How about from your eye doctor? More like $500.

My PayPal account will be charged $68.40 for both pairs. Less than $35 each for frame, lens, coatings, and shipping.

At that price, you can see why I am enjoying wearing different colored glasses to match every outfit.

Reader Scott asked, "How do you get the correct fit on the frames?" Optical4Less has several ways to ensure a good fit. First, the dimensions are given on every frame. You could measure a current pair and choose something similar in size. Second, there is a way to input your facial dimensions and their opticians will choose the correct size frame for you (many frames come in several sizes.) Third, you can upload a photo of your face and virtually try on the glasses. Their software sizes the photo so that the scale between your face and the frames matches.

After your glasses arrive, Optical4Less recommends that you take the glasses to any local optician for adjustment. Most will do it for free and they do it all the time. I've personally experienced this, taking in a tweaked pair of glasses to a different place than where they were purchased. The technician bent, fit and cleaned my glasses for free and with a smile.

While I am just on the cusp of needing bifocals, I can still get away with wearing single prescription specs and taking them off for close up stuff. But I'll need real bifocals in a couple of years. For regular bifocals, the price goes up $63 a pair. For progressive bifocals, it is between $63 and $218 more depending on type of lens, your astigmatism, and whether you want the photo-grey option. I'll probably start with the cheapest option, just to test how well Optical 4 Less grinds those more complicated prescriptions. But you know, eyeglass technology has been around for a long time, and folks in Hong Kong need quality glasses, too, so I'm not too worried. Glasses are glasses. Why overpay for them?

They have lots of different styles, not just the candy-colored frames I prefer. Metal frames, rimless styles, even rhinestone-studded ones for that "out of my way, I'm headed for Bingo" look.

And best of all, I can try them all on at my leisure, in the comfort of Odyssey, after uploading my own photo to their site. Ten clicks of the mouse and they're ordered. Ten days later, they arrive in the U.S. Ten weeks later, we finally get around to having our mail forwarded and voila! New glasses.

Here are the two styles I already own from Optical4Less:

(two photos by Lee Damico)

After 10 years, Sean told me just the other day that I make a lot of goofy faces. Why didn't anyone tell me sooner?!? I blame the wine...

(More tips and tricks at "Works for me Wednesday.")


  1. Awesome. Three out of five of us in this family wear glasses (so far) and dh's new ones are coming from Hong Kong, baby! Thank you!!

  2. That is really cool. I'm going to the eye doctor on Monday. I want three pair of funky glasses and I'm getting them from HONG KONG!

  3. Thanks for the tip! I'm TOTALLY trying this!

  4. Greetings, I am impressed with your eyeglass source in Hong Kong. Can I ask where is a good place to get your eyes checked so that you can forward the perscription to Hong Kong. Thanks, H.G.

  5. H.G., I can only recommend the eye doctor I've been using in the Bay Area for 25 years. His name is George Contos and he's in Milpitas.

    Other that, you're better off asking around in your town for a recommendation. If you're on the road, like we are, you might try asking someone local who is wearing spectacles for a name.

    Good luck!


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