Last week, I told you about my investigation into buying eyeglasses online. As I write this, I am one step closer to actually doing it. Last Saturday, I received two boxes in the mail, one from Warby Parker, containing five eyeglass frames I had chosen to try on at home, and another one from Felix + Iris with four more frames. A few hours after that, I saw, not one, but TWO TV ads for Warby Parker. Ironically, prior to my online search, I had never even heard of the company, which I discovered along with Felix + Iris, in a Google search for “the best places to buy eyeglasses online.”
All the frames were individually wrapped in little plastic socks, each with the distinctive name of the frame printed on an attached sticker. One by one, I tried them on, taking front- and side-view pictures with my computer’s built-in camera, while I sat in front of the screen and tried my best to look like a male model. I also made notes about each frame on the enclosed card that came in one of the boxes. I learned where to find the dimensions, which, in most cases, are printed on one of the temples of the frame (temples are the long “thingies” that go over your ears). The information includes the lens size, the bridge width, and the temple length itself, all expressed in millimeters. I discovered that my current frame is 50 by 18, by 135, which translates to a “medium.” What a shock!
On Monday, I visited my optometrist for a refraction (an eye exam for the specific purpose of obtaining an eyeglass prescription). My optometrist did his best to compete with the online pricing of both companies, but the selection of frames he offered was limited to just a handful, none of which made me tingle with excitement. And the combination price for the frame and lenses exceeded that of the online sellers by over a hundred dollars. A non starter.
Once I had tried on all the frames, I packed them back into their respective boxes, sealed each one, attached the return labels, and mailed them. There was no charge to receive them, nor did it cost anything to ship them back. Four more frames will arrive next week. I’ve already chosen two frames from among the nine I already received, and will narrow my selection to “ The One” after I have tried on all four of the new ones. Then, it will be time to buy.
Oh, I almost forgot the PD (stands for pupillary distance). That’s the distance in millimeters between the center of each eye. It used to be that your optometrist would carefully take that measurement and send it off to the eyeglass factory, along with the technical measurements he obtained during the refraction. Instead, I used the “tool” on the Warby Parker website to measure the PD myself.
The process was simple. I sat in front of my computer with a standard credit card held beneath my nose (magnetic strip facing foward and oriented on top). I took a picture, then uploaded it to the Warby Parker site. In about twenty seconds (or less), I received an onscreen message saying “Got it!” which meant that they had calculated my PD.
Later on, curious how they were able to calculate the P.D., I put two and two together, and came up with the answer. I took the photograph I’d taken of myself and magnified it on my computer screen until the size of the credit card in the picture measured exactly three and a half inches (its actual width). Then, I used a metal ruler and carefully determined the distance between my pupils, center-to-center, in the picture. I got a measurement of 62 millimeters. I went online and “live chatted” with a representative from Warby Parker, and learned that the PD they had arrived at was 63 millimeters (nearly a perfect match with my own result). That gave me a stronger sense of confidence than I already had going into the process.
So, now I’ll wait until Tuesday, when I should receive the additional four “try-on” frames. I’ll make my final choice, and, presto-change-o, I’ll make my first online purchase of a pair of eyeglasses. Then, I’ll have to wait the requisite ten to twelve days until my trusted mail lady brings me my new specs. I can hardly wait! As comedian Yakov Schmirnoff used to say, “What a country!”
(Oh, don’t worry, I will definitely post a picture of the winners. Hope you like ‘em. I’m certain I will!)
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