The Thrifty Accountant Newsletter

--Two minutes of money saving strategies


See better, pay less–buy prescription eyeglasses online

Greetings fellow thrifty accountants!

Do most accountants and tax professionals wear glasses, or is that just a stereotype? I’ve worn glasses/contacts since I was 12 years old–and I always considered it an advantage because it makes me feel smart!

The main problem I’ve had with glasses recently is the cost. I have a strong prescription (= thick lenses). My previous pair of glasses cost more than $500 at Lenscrafters.

That was before I “saw the light.”

See Better, pay less

You can buy prescription eyeglasses with high-index lenses for $8 when purchased online.

Where can you buy cheap glasses?

My fellow CPA friend recently purchased eyeglasses for less than $50 from, after seeing the website mentioned on NBC’s Today Show. Her progressive lenses cost a little more than the $8 single vision lenses, but heh, $50 compares quite favorably with my $500+ eyeglass purchase from Lenscrafters.

Is the quality lower in cheap glasses?

I’m not sure. Smart Money writes that eyeglass frames can have a 1000% markup (i.e. the business purchases the frames for $20 and sells them for $200).

Lenses do vary in quality, of course, although my friend was very satisfied with her low-cost lenses. And her frames are very cute. In fact, she later ordered a second pair, just so she would have a little variety.

What if you aren’t satisfied with the glasses?

Zenni Optical will give you 50% credit towards another pair if you are dissatisfied and return the glasses. accepts returns for any reason within 7 days of purchase.

Of course, the expensive places make mistakes, too–Lenscrafters made a mistake on my lenses and had to remake them (reluctantly, I might add).


Order an extra pair

At these prices consider ordering an extra pair, for computer work. The customer service person at Zenni Optical explained how to determine the correct single vision Rx for computer glasses if you usually wear bifocals or progressives:

Distance Rx + 50% of Add = Mid vision/computer Rx

Example: 5.00 + 50% (-2.00) = 4.00


Are there any other options for inexpensive glasses?

  • Costco received high marks for good quality at lower prices from a Consumer Reports review
  • $39 glasses–The Wall St. Journal liked glasses from this website:
  • Eyebuydirect–you can upload your photo and “try on” glasses:
  • Clark Howard’s blog on money saving has an article on eyeglasses–see the second paragraph–Clark likes Zenni Optical also

UPDATE: I purchased glasses from Zenni Optical in April 2009 and have been completely satisfied with the quality and accuracy of the prescription.