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Save a small fortune on prescription eyeglasses

Still spending hundreds on frames and lenses? By ordering your glasses online, you can save a bundle. All you need is your prescription and a little patience.

If you're willing to order online, you can score prescription eyeglasses for peanuts. Goggles4U

If you have the courage to look closely at my photo, you'll notice I wear glasses. The pair in that pic cost me a few hundred dollars--fairly typical, right? Maybe not: The pair I'm wearing right now set me back $21.85--frames, lenses, and shipping.

Yes, they're prescription. Yes, they have the all-important antiglare coating. And, no, they're not ugly plastic "cheaters" like they sell at the dollar store. In fact, they're stylish metal-alloy frames with a blue coating (to match my eyes, ahem).

I scored this deal from Zenni Optical, one of several Web outlets that sells prescription eyeglasses on the cheap--the really, really cheap.

Other popular stores for four-eyes include 39 Dollar Glasses, Goggles4U, and Optical4Less. Although ordering glasses online has its pitfalls, I think the savings greatly outweigh the risks.

Zenni, the only company I've tried thus far, offers a wide selection of frames, with prices ranging from $8-19, lenses included. All you need is your current prescription, which you can get from your optometrist.

You can add antiglare coating and lens tinting for $4.95 apiece, and even get a clip-on "sunshade" for just $3.95 (though I wouldn't order this again, as the clips block my vision). Shipping adds another $4.95.

Speaking of which, it took about a month for my order to arrive, during which time I received no updates or tracking number from the company. When I requested them, I got vague replies. (The most recent one said my order had been delayed overseas and was being remade--a week after I'd received the glasses.)

The glasses themselves look nice and seem perfect from a prescription standpoint. However, they pinch the heck out of one side of my nose, and I don't know how to make the proper adjustments. That's one point in favor of sticking with an optometrist: you get help with fit, repair, and so on.

What's more, ordering glasses online means you don't get to try on the frames until they show up at your door. If you end up hating them--well, at least you're only out $20-40. And you can always use a backup pair, right?

The flipside is you end up with some terrific glasses for a fraction of what you'd pay locally.

What do you think? Are online eyeglasses the way to go, or should you trust your eyes only to the professionals? I look forward to hearing your feedback. In the meantime, I'm thinking it's time to see how I look in a pair of Danny Gokey frames. Good singer, great eyewear.