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I have been wearing glasses since I was 8 years old and have had a couple of periods of trouble. My very first pair were a metal frame and I broke out like a greasy teenager almost immediately, leading to my lifelong commitment to plastic frames. Metal sensitivities were not new to me as I have these issues with jewelry as well, however the plastic frames left me little choices at that time. I switched to contacts as soon as my mother would allow, but did not really enjoy the amount of upkeep required, so heading into my senior year in high school I went back to glasses (plastic frames were now super cool!). For years they were just fine; I was very active and didn’t have any problems with my glasses. About 5 years ago I started having headaches that could only be alleviated by removing my glasses; they were especially bad if I was moving around. My eye doctor at that time encouraged me to try contacts again to alleviate the problem. I did and it worked! However, I was very disappointed at having to go back and I still obviously had trouble anytime I did not want to wear the contacts (like if my eyes were irritated or just to read or watch tv in bed). I still dream of going back to glasses only and every year I end up in tears after a long visit with an optician. This year she suggested to me to try metal frames again, because she insisted that a frame that fit properly should only touch your face at the nosepads and end of the temples. The slipping and stretching that occurs with the plastic frames does seem to be a large part of the headache equation and I have suspected that metal frames would be a solution for a while, however I was reluctant to spend $300-400 (at half off!) to have a major allergic reaction and still have a headache.

I came home and started to try to find a better way to try out different frames without going through that emotional torment and insane expense. I came upon tons of good reviews for a website www.zennioptical.com that had glasses starting at $6.95 and offered high index lenses at a fraction of the in store cost ($19.95-79.00 in addition to the base cost). I figured at those prices I could get a couple pairs and try them out for a few days at my pace without sales people breathing down my neck and if they worked out, then super bonus points! I’m sure you can tell from the title of this post that I did get those bonus points! Now of course I researched and went through all of my old glasses taking measurements and comparing. I also used Zenni’s frame fit feature to “try on” the frames, but I would highly recommend that you also double check measurements as it did not seem 100% accurate. They came in the mail exactly 2 weeks after I ordered them (the glasses from my eye doctor would’ve taken the same amount of time), they were in perfect shape, and the fit and prescription were just right.

Now let’s get down to the specifics.

Pair #1 – Zenni frame#470721

I ordered this first pair with the 1.61 High-Index Single Vision lenses ($19.95), thinking that they would be the better of the 2. I also added Anti Reflection Coating ($4.95) and a clip on sunshade ($3.95). Grand total for this pair = $35.80

Pair #2 – Zenni frame#452012

I ordered this second pair with the old staple for almost blind people 1.59 PC(Polycarbonate) Single Vision lenses ($9.95), thinking that these would be more of a backup. I also added Anti Reflection Coating ($4.95) and a clip on sunshade ($3.95). Grand total for this pair = $24.85

Sorry, I did not take pictures of the clip-on sunshades. They were pretty average. I had never had one before and had always wanted to try it, but I would suggest you save your $4 to put toward some polarized prescription lenses instead. They are tricky to put on and not worth the fiddling in my opinion.

One key thing I had not considered before I ordered is that the dimensions of the lenses together with the index would dictate the edge thickness. I think we are trained to think that the higher number = thinner lenses, right? Wrong. In this case, the 1.59 Polycarbonate(PC) lenses turned out thinner and lighter than the 1.61 High Index lenses. Frame #2 with the PC lenses has a smaller lens dimension (46 x 25) than frame #1 (50 x 26). Now these seem like very close numbers, but they do make a difference. I found a handy calculator that I definitely recommend and will be using in the future. In some cases it may not be worth purchasing the higher index lenses. By pure chance I got it  right with this order, but if I had gone the other way and ordered the larger frame with the PC lenses they really would’ve been too thick to manage. This is especially important for anyone with a high prescription (mine is in the -5 range) and should be considered before ordering.

This image shows frame#2 at the top with the 1.59 PC lenses, note they are actually slightly thinner at the edges than the 1.61 High Index lenses below.

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and will be buying more. The verdict is still out on whether this frame style change will alleviate my headaches, but I am thankful to Zenni Optical and all the other reviewers who led me there for this chance to try at my own pace with little expense.