If you’re tired of paying exorbitant sums for prescription eyeglasses and are looking for distinctive frames with a retro vibe, check out Warby Parker. The firm was founded by four friends with a single objective: “to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point.” The firm contends that the eyeglass industry is controlled by a few companies that keep prices artificially high, generating huge profits for themselves while depriving consumers of more cost effective options. No longer: most of Warby Parker’s designs cost $95, and that price includes anti-reflective lenses and shipping; the firm offers 30 day refunds or exchanges, as well.
Warby Parker offers eyewear for men and women, including sunglasses…
A nice selection of frames is offered, with an emphasis on a vintage feel with a contemporary twist.
The Warby Parker website offers a “Virtual Try-On” feature; you can take a photo with your webcam, or upload one from your library. Here’s New Jersey Governor Chris Christie trying on “The Chandler:”
Another great thing about Warby Parker is their “Home Try-On” program: you can try out 5 frames at home, for free. They’re shipped with plain lenses, and arrive via UPS in a neat box/display case featuring a snap closure lid:
You have five days to try them out, show your friends, post pictures to social media sites, and so forth, before you need to return them (a return shipping label is included). You have to provide a credit card number, of course, as part of the Home Try-On service.
The frames themselves are beautiful, and are well made. The firm uses (their words) “the finest custom acetates and materials.” Whatever; they’re great looking frames!
After you select the frame (or frames) you like, you place your order (and if you’ve opted for the Home Try-On, return those frames). In my experience, it took 10 days for my prescription glasses to arrive. If you use High Index lenses, by the way, the additional cost is $15 per lens, which is remarkably low! The glasses come in a distinctive grey case with blue lining, along with a cleaning cloth:
The frames shown here are “The Walden.” Some of the firm’s frames are $145, though most are at the $95 price point. Now for the bad news: they don’t do bifocals, trifocals, or progressives. Bifocals and trifocals require measurements that can only be done in person. For all other prescriptions, however, just get your Rx from your optometrist and either fax it to Warby Parker, fill out the data on the order form (this is what I did), or you can ask Warby Parker to call your doctor for your prescription.
Below, a close up of my Walden frames. I liked this frame so much, I ordered one pair with distance lenses, and another pair (in a different color) as reading glasses. All of the firm’s optical glasses can be made into reading glasses, by the way. Optically, the glasses are superb. Here’s Warby Parker’s description of their lenses:
Our lenses are made from polycarbonate. We use polycarbonate because it is far thinner and lighter than traditional plastic (e.g. CR-39) or glass lenses. Polycarbonate is the most impact-resistant material on the market and offers 100% UV protection. All of our lenses are coated twice with one of the best anti-reflective coatings on the market. In addition, they receive an anti-scratch coating to help maintain superior vision through everyday use.
For stronger optical prescriptions, we offer 1.67 high-index lenses (please note that this option is not available for prescription sun orders). With one of the highest indices of refraction available today, these lenses are even thinner and lighter than our standard lenses.
The firm also offers prescription and non-prescription sunglasses for both men and women:
If all this weren’t enough, the company donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair they sell:
Another point: if you want to order frames without lenses so you can have your optometrist fit lenses to them, you can do that. I gave that a bit of consideration until I learned the lenses would be $250 from my optometrist.
Bottom line: great products, terrific experience and value, and an outstanding company that may very well change the eyeglass industry. To reiterate, all purchases are covered by a 30 Day Return/Exchange policy. I didn’t care for a pair of sunglasses I purchased, and wanted to exchange them for another; WP sent me a return UPS label, and immediately placed an order for the replacement sunglasses. All it took from me was a two sentence email to initiate the process. Beautiful! You can learn more about Warby Parker here: Warby Parker.
I have no connection to Warby Parker other than being a satisfied customer.
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