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"The 19 dollar prescription eyeglasses"
Caution: There have been reports from a number of sources that there have been a lot of hiccups/issues with Zenni recently. For the time being, I recommend being careful when ordering through them. If you've bought from Zenni recently (2009), please LET ME KNOW how it went - good or bad. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . In the meantime, if you do plan on ordering from them, I strongly suggest keeping records (order date, any attempts at contact, etc) in case you have to file a dispute with your credit card company. I'll update with more info as available.
Taken from their "Lenses and Lens Materials" page:
All of our Single Vision, Bi-Focal and progressive bi-focal lenses are premium quality high index Polycarbonate composite polymer high impact resistance lenses with full UV protection, special strong anti-scratch coating.
Zenni Optical is located in California (USA). Pricing in USD. They display a 1-800 number, email address, and physical address on their Contact page. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner's Club, JCB, Carte Blanche, Australian BankCard, Discover/Novus, Switch, Solo, and enRoute.
Zenni Optical seems to be one of the more popular retailers. And it's no surprise... They're based in the US, have decent contact information, and have some of the best pricing available. Their lenses come with a free anti-scratch coating, and most of their other lens options (tint, anti-reflection, etc) are pretty low-priced.
The 19 dollar prescription eyeglasses they have are essentially all the frames under their "Metal" and "Plastic" categories. If you want to step up to Stainless Steel, Memory Titanium, Memory Plastic, or Rimless, the price ranges from $23.95-29.95, so still under $30, which is pretty darn good (assuming the quality is decent).
All in all, this would appear to be a great place for inexpensive lenses. A first time buyer probably wouldn't have much difficulty finding a set of glasses that meet their needs. Many people have ordered from Zenni, and most of them seem to have had a good experience, although they do have their share of dissatisfied customers as well. A search from search.bbb.org shows that they have an "unsatisfactory" record with the BBB (13 resolved and 12 "no response" complaints).
Basic Frames (Metal or Plastic) + Lenses $19.00 - Photochomic + Single Vision +$39.00 - Bifocals +$19.00 - Progressive Lenses +$39.00 Extra Strength Prescription +$9.00 AR (anti-reflective) + Anti-Radiation +$4.95 Tint +$4.95 Clip-on Sunshade +$2.95 Shipping (US) +$4.95 Shipping (Canada) +$9.00
A pair of single vision lenses without any add-ons is only $23.95 after shipping if you live in the US. This is pretty tough to beat if you ask me.
|Website||Good||Website is easy to navigate. When ordering, there are clickable 'help' buttons which give more detailed information on each option, which can be helpful to those who have never ordered glasses online before.|
|Selection||Great||There were over 60 of the $19 frames (Metal and Plastic frames), as well as a selection of Stainless Steel, Memory Titanium, Memory Plastic, Rimless, Children's frames, and more.|
|Frame Info||Good||Dimensions, Weight, and Color, as well as a short description all given.|
|Lens Options||Acceptable||No choice in lens material, although polycarbonate is arguably a 'safe' choice for Zenni to go with, since it often sells for more than either Glass or CR39 lenses anyway. AR and Tint are really the only options, although Single-Vision lens wearers can also choose photochromic lenses. For most people looking for basic inexpensive lenses, the options offered are probably sufficient.|
|Value||Excellent||For a cheap pair, or a back-up pair of eyeglasses, these can't be beat.|