Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1800Specs {a review}

I failed my first eye exam when I was four and I got my first pair of glasses when I was five. I'll turn 35 next month (have you marked your calendars?), which basically means I've been wearing glasses for.ever.

I got contacts as soon as my parents and eye doctor would let me, which was when I was 11. Do you remember 11? It's an awkward age under the best of circumstances, and with big ears, two ponytails and big glasses, things were not lovely. Contacts were an improvement, even though it took me an hour in the morning to put them in my poor eyes. I still mostly wore my glasses at home, though. It was just easier.

And then I basically abandoned my glasses when I got my driver's license. As it turns out? I hate driving in my glasses. My pale blue eyes, like any pale color, absorb too much light. It's too bright for me and I feel squinty and unable to concentrate. I always wished for prescription sunglasses, but as someone who mostly wears contacts, they felt like an unjustifiable financial luxury.

Until today. Say hello to these pretties:

For the first time in my life, I have a (fantastic!) pair of prescription sunglasses, courtesy of 1800specs.

Are you intrigued? In full disclosure, my glasses were free because 1800specs invited me to try shopping on its website and review my experience here.

But my pretty new sunglasses had a shopping cart value of only $60, and I paid more than four times that amount for my last pair of glasses acquired in a brick-and-mortar store.

1800specs has hundreds and hundreds of frames available, and glasses begin at $20. These frames were $50, and I added one modification to the lenses. You can choose from anything you'd select at your regular store, like anti-reflective coatings or how dark your tint or what color the tint (yay, purple!).

Here's what I learned through this process: your vision prescription doesn't belong to your eye doctor, it belongs to you. Your eye doctor is legally obligated to give it to you upon request. And this means you're a free bird -- you can buy your glasses anywhere. I will admit that I was a big scaredycat about asking for my prescription, so I stalled for a few days. When I called, their only question was "can we fax it to you or will you pick it up?" Easy-peasy, which means there were really two lessons embedded in this exercise:

1) you can buy glasses anywhere you want, because you have the right to your prescription; and
2) stop being such a scaredycat, Robin.

So now aren't you craving new glasses? Of course you are. Maybe you travel a lot and know you should have a back-up pair. Maybe you have grabby toddlers, and need a back-up pair. Maybe, like me, you've always wanted some prescription sunglasses. Since they're not expensive, go ahead and get them.

My review:

1800specs was a very easy website to use. With my prescription in hand, I typed in my vision requirements and 1800specs showed me hundreds of frames that were available to meet my needs. Once I selected the pretties you see above, the site carried me through a series of drop-down choices to ascertain what I wanted for my lenses. Then I placed my order, just like completing any online transaction, and my glasses arrived in just a few days. The entire experience was easy. My one piece of advice, 1800specs? Add an option to search by color. Some of us think in color first, shape second.

I received my glasses for free from 1800specs and I love them, but my opinions are, as always, entirely my own.