First, a riddle:
A deaf man walks into a store to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth, he gets one of the employees to help him find a toothbrush.
Later, a blind man walks into the store wanting sunglasses. How does he indicate to the clerk what HE wants?
The answer: He asks where the sunglasses are! If you were trying to figure out what gestures he’d use to show sunglasses, you’re not alone I’m embarrassed to say. It reminds me of the trick where you get someone to say McCartney, McHenry, Macintosh, then show them Machinery, and chuckle when they pronounce it Mac-Hinery.
But enough riddles. This post is for one thing, pure and simple: Info on buying glasses cheaply in Victoria.
Step 1: Get a prescription.
Step 2: Use that prescription to order online (thought I’d say somewhere in Victoria, didn’t you? Nope, read on as to why).
Here’s the details:
Step 1: Get a prescription. I was a bit nervous about this, because online prescriptions need a value called the interpupillary distance (PD), which means how far your eyes are apart, basically. However, optometrists tend to not want to part with this info, since it is a clear signal the prescription is for online use (eyeglass stores will make this measurement when you buy their glasses). And although the value is mandated to be part of your B.C. prescription since 2010, even in 2012 some were charging extra for this.
The solution was I simply asked first – most reception staff said I’d have to talk to the doctor, something I wasn’t going to get to do before an appointment. In that case, take your business elsewhere, and move on to another Optometrist.
Fortunately, I was able to do a walk-in at the Bayside Optometry (lower level of the Bay center, Downtown), and got my PD w/o issues. And at $85 for a full eye exam (glaucoma test, color blindness, etc.), I have no problem recommending them. I got a reading glasses prescription (single vision), but they also took measurements for long distance and computer-screen distance, so you can get the appropriate prescription you need for your work.
Oh, and if the PD issue annoys you in BC, imagine life in Ontario, where they simply don’t have to provide it, leaving you to search online for how to measure your own PD…
Step 2: Use that prescription to order online. With those eyesight numbers in hand, I could shop around. Cheapest I’ve found? Zenni Optical (www.zennioptical.com), and so far I’ve been extremely happy. Some cautions:
- The only plastic frames I’ve ever ordered from them needed bending, something you may not want to do; in that case, simply order metal frames.
- Get the non-reflective coating ‘extra’ at a minimum – the Missus swears by it.
- Start small – order one pair, see if you like them, and then order another.
Is the extra effort of online shopping worth it? I just placed an order for four pairs of glasses – one for my wife and three reading glasses for me. Total cost – under $90. Try THAT in Victoria!