Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Optical Insurance Stimulus- And Bugs Going To Town

Here it is, Hump Day. Want to see something amusing? Of course you do, silly me!

This is a photo I took last summer with my Olympus. It's just a plain old point and click, but it's a nice one. I love it! Anyway, doesn't that photo just kind of make an amusing "Hump Day" photo? This is the cropped in version. Go ahead, click on it, and be in awe of the crazy detail in it.

Monday, the kids and I went in for eye exams. Joy! Well, kinda. Obviously Rae and I would need glasses. I was also pretty certain Chris would need glasses, too. Gillian I wasn't so sure on. Sometimes I notice her squinting, but not often.

Being cheap frugal, I was dreading this. We have no optical insurance. None. Zip, Zilch, Nada. Before, I always just went to Walmart's vision center with Raegan. Say what you will, but it was cheap, and the exam & glasses were always accurate. But even there, it's almost $50 just for each exam. That's a quick minute for $200 with 4 people getting exams.

Then, bless my doctor, I found out that our medical insurance covers 1 eye exam per year. Oh, how the angels have rejoiced! That means we had just a $10 co-pay for each appointment. From $200 to $40 in another quick, phone call verifying minute!

I found a place that took our insurance, and in we went. I already knew I would be ordering the glasses online from, because of how inexpensive they are. This gets back to that whole "no optical insurance" thing.

Of course, Chris and Gillian went hog wild looking at glasses while they waited their turns. I forgot just how expensive "real" eye doctor's can be. Gillian found the cutest little pair of purple cat eye frames... for $250. Just for the frames. No fancy, digital radio installed, no headlights, or windshield wipers. Just plastic frames.


In the end, Gillian does not need glasses. Yet. The doctor did say that she's clearly favoring one eye, which is a sure sign that she's going to be blind, like me. Why, oh why, did none of the kids get my husbands nearly perfect vision?

Chris, Raegan, and I did need new glasses, though. I got copies of the prescription, and we went on our way, thoughts of $8 glasses dancing in my head. At least for the kids.

The upside to $8 glasses-
  • Eight. Dollars.
  • Lenses Included
  • Variety of Frames
The downside to $8 glasses-
  • Picky kids
  • Only SOME lenses included, others cost extra
  • Variety of Frames
Chris found a pair for $10 he loved, and his prescription is small enough that there were no extra costs for lenses. He could just use standard lenses, no fancy poly carbonate, or high index, and no "extra strength" costs. See, if you have ever actually looked at the numbers for a prescription, they run a 20/20 basis- positive and negative, so -20 on up through +20. The closer it is to 0, the better. The negative numbers represent people who are near sited- people who can see close up, but not far away. Positive numbers represent people who are far sited- people who see far away, but need glasses for close up.

Anything after +6 or -6 is considered extra strength on Raegan skated in with a -6 and a -6.25, which meant she needed extra strength, which tacked another $16 just for the lenses. It could be worse, I kept telling myself.

Mine? Oh, yeah, mine was bad. -10.5 on one eye, and -11.5 on the other. I've got some pretty bad vision going on, but on the plus side, she said that the prescription barely changed from what I am wearing, but that my astygmatism shifted, which caused changes in HOW my glasses prescription should be made. Not sure how, but she said it would help with my vision.

Ok, so I am rambling. I had this post planned where I talked about glasses, life, and Dollar Tree. Instead, I've rambled on and on about eye doctors and bugs going to town. Need a reminder? How about from a different angle?

In the end, I manged to order 3 pairs of regular eyeglasses and a 4th pair of prescription sunglasses for me (I have a wicked bad time with light sensitivity, so driving in the summer, or after fresh snow fall on a sunny day, is horrifying, and headache inducing), and it only cost me $137, after shipping.

Considering the last trip to Walmart was over $100 just for Raegan (that was frames, lenses, and the eye appointment), I consider this a saving grace.

I read on a review somewhere that Zennioptical is like the optical insurance stimulus. It allows people who otherwise might not be able to afford it, new glasses. I am in love. And, if the kids break, lose, or somehow get their glasses run over by a lawn mower (it happens, ask Raegan about her first ever pair of glasses sometime- that she had only had for a week), I can quickly, easily, and cheaply replace them. Score.


CourtneyKeb said...

Thanks for sharing!!! I've been without optical insurance for years, and I've been needing new glasses so badly. I never knew this existed! Thanks.

Heather@ My Frugal Family said...

While I had never used them prior to this, I do know others who have. I'm excited to get my glasses & sunglasses!

Good luck, Courtney! Glasses are just SO expensive, so this site has been a blessing.

Anonymous said...

I used Zenni Optical recently for the first time and I have to say that I am thrilled. 3 pairs of glasses for under $30 shipped! Now I can have 'fun' glasses and regular ones too! Glad you were able to use them even with the extra fees for super strength glasses! At least it is still cheaper than stores!

Heather@ My Frugal Family said...

MUCH cheaper than stores, that's for darn sure!

I think if my oldest daughter can find a pair of $8 frames, I may splurge in a few weeks and let her get a spare pair so she can swap them out.

Jess said...

Oh my Goodness. I don't even know how to thank you. I have been using the Wal-Mart vision center for years. I mean their Dr.'s have to get the same degrees right??
I wear contacts all the time but haven't had a pair of glasses just in case for several years. There were always more important places to put the money. I am going to get the info that I need today from the Dr and will be ordering glasses for myself TONIGHT!!!!!
Thanks again.

Mama Lusco said...

Cool! Thanks for sharing about Zenni Optical. I hadn't heard of them before and now that we don't have vision insurance I'll definitely check them out. has some cute ones, too. I've used them for RX sunglasses with good results.