About a decade ago I had Lasik laser eye surgery and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Prior to that I wore glasses and contact lenses, dealing with an astigmatism and gradually decaying vision which was muchly affected by the many hours of staring at computer screens in college and later. Turns out our human eyes aren’t designed for endless staring at a surface 15″ from our nose. Glasses weren’t too bad, but when I was active, they were a big drag. Swimming, boating, surfing, even in the shower being unable to read shampoo bottles was a drag. And in a big pool not being able to see my children at a distance? Not good.
So I had Lasik and at the time the ophthalmologist warned me that as I head into my late 50s and beyond that my eyes would start to reshape and that I’d probably end up needing reading glasses at some point. Like most people, I have lived in denial for years as my close up vision ever so gradually got less crisp. Interestingly, when I viewed a screen at book distance (like a Kindle) it wasn’t as bad as if I was reading a printed document or bound book. But I love reading and wasn’t about to give up books – horror! – so I made an appointment and got an eye test.
And, surprise. I need reading glasses. But I don’t want to just go to the corner drugstore and get a pair, I want a wide range of styles and designs so I can pick something that’s going to be a great solution for years to come. I decided it was a perfect opportunity to test out an online glasses store and picked FirmOO Online Optical Store. I figured it’d cost me maybe $50 additional instead of getting off-the-shelf readers, but hey, it’s my eye health, right?
Turns out the online store is a breeze to use and they have zillions of designs and styles. I started with men’s “rectangle” design:
Now I’m not planning on getting the hipster moustache and beard combo any time soon, don’t worry, but it’s easy enough to check out the different styles – and notice how inexpensive some of them are too.
Click on one and you can zero in on the specific shape:
The site also has a “try them on” feature where you upload a photo of yourself, but I didn’t find that particularly great so didn’t use it after a first experiment. Your experience may well differ, of course.
I asked my kids for their input, so they steered me away from the simple metal frame (above) and towards something a bit more solid, with a pricetag of $19.99. Hard to complain about that price.
First step once you choose a pair is to specify if you need prescription lenses or are using them for fashion or eye protection:
Armed with a detailed prescription from my eye exam – including the important “pupillary distance” or “PD” measure – I filled in the following form:
I’m not exactly sure what it all means, but with axis and such, I’m guessing that these numbers actually related to astigmatism, which is a measure of non-spherical eye shape (which can then be compensated in the glasses). The glasses prescription I got was organized exactly the same so data entry was easy enough. Some opto’s give you PD as two values because your right eye’s pupillary center might not be exactly as far from the bridge of your nose as the left eye (I have that situation by 0.5mm). You can just add ’em up for a single value or check the “Two PD numbers” box and enter them separately.
The next few steps I call “upsell” but are really where you can fine tune exactly what you’re getting too. First off, what kind of glass do you seek?
You can talk to your opto about these options but I choose single vision since I knew I’d wear these glasses just for reading. And a bifocal? Does it come with a rocking chair and a bingo card too? 🙂
Next question is about glass coating. There are a lot of choices nowadays:
I opted for No Coating since the Firmoo marketing rep I was working with told me they’d upgrade the glass anyway (which was nice of them and not something true for all customers, alas). If I were buying daily wear glasses, I’d go for the hydrophobic Advanced Coating.
Done? Not quite, there are more choices still to make! You can add a blue-light blocking coating to glasses too, perfect for computer glasses or any glasses that you’ll wear late into the night: screening out blue light spectrum helps your brain slow down and you get to sleep at night.
All told, with no coating and no blue-blocking, my single vision prescription reading glasses were, well, check it out below:
There’s a shipping cost and shipping took about 10 days, as the site suggests, but faster than I expected, I had a package from Firmoo and when I opened it, my new reading glasses were ready to test out:
They’re great quality and there’s no visual indicator that they are anything other than top-notch glasses from the local optometrist. Except for the price tag: under $20 for prescription glasses? Crazy.
Which leads to the big question of how do I actually look with these glasses on? Well, like this:
Pretty nice glasses, actually. And yes, they make a HUGE difference when I’m reading a book and other close-up work. Definitely worth the investment!
I’ll go back to Firmoo with other prescription needs, whether for myself or a member of my family. The process is easy, the selection is rather staggeringly large and the prices are easy to like. I suggest you check ’em out too, at FirmOO.com
Disclosure: Firmoo offered me a free pair of glasses in return for this article. Obviously these are my own opinions, however.