Target + Warby Parker = Makeshift Vision Care for Super Cheap

I'll start off by saying that, yes, this is a random blog post. It has nothing to do with food; it has nothing to do 
with faith, or travel, or any of the other subjects I generally touch upon. It does, however, pay homage to 
two of my very favorite things: saving money and helping people.

It all started when I realized that five whole years had passed since my last visit to the eye doctor. My primary reason for this hiatus is because I haven't had insurance since I was 25 years old, and have thus been avoiding paying the $400-$600 it usually costs to get an exam and a pair of glasses out of pocket. At this point, those of you with insurance are probably reading those numbers and thinking that I'm nuts; but I assure you that I am not. A simple pair of prescription glasses really does cost that much. Most places charge $100 for the exam, $200 for the frames, and another few hundred for the lenses.

For those of us who have opted for the non-traditional career path (READ: those of us without insurance), we are left to either pay those prices, or get creative. That's where Warby Parker comes in. Founded by a group of four graduates from the Wharton School of Business, Warby Parker is a start-up company based out of Manhattan. They have an online boutique that sells quality prescription glasses for $95 a pop, and in the spirit of Toms Shoes, for every pair that is purchased, they send another pair to someone in need.

According to their website, "Glasses are one of the most effective poverty alleviation tools in the world." When people have difficulty seeing, it generally follows that they have difficulty working and learning, as well. Over 1 billion people in this world do not have access to the glasses that they need, and Warby Parker has partnered with various organizations in order to send glasses to people in 36 different countries, including parts of the United States.

The glasses I'm wearing in the photo above, are indeed from Warby Parker. They cost me $95, and I absolutely love them. Thanks to Target Optical, I was able to get an eye exam for only $55, which brought my grand total to $150 for both the exam and glasses. Not too shabby, eh?

If you're uninsured, unemployed, or just looking to save a few bucks on vision care while helping somebody else out in the process, then follow my step-by-step guide to makeshift vision care below. Also, from my research, Target is the cheapest, but if you know of anywhere in Long Beach that does eye exams for even less, please leave the info in the comment section of this blog so that we can all benefit from it :)
Email me if you have any questions, and enjoy!

Step 1. If you live on the West Coast, call up your neighborhood Target and schedule a routine eye exam for $55.

Of all the millions of reasons that already exist for loving Target, here is yet another: their optical department has the cheapest eye exams in town. Granted, not all Targets have an optical department, so visit their website first to determine which one is closest to you.

* If you live on the East Coast, then lucky you because an eye exam only costs $20 at Cohen's Fashion Optical. Who knew something could actually be cheaper in New York City??

Step 2. Don't leave your eye exam without obtaining the following information: 
  • Your written prescription
  • A measurement for your Pupillary Distance (don't worry, the doctor will know what that is)
Step 3. Browse the frame selection at, and then choose 5 different frames you might want to buy. 

If you happen to live in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Portland, Boston, or San Francisco, then you can visit the local Warby Parker Showroom and try the glasses on in person.

If you don't live in one of those amazing cities, then go to their website and use the virtual try-on software that enables you to either upload your picture, or take one of yourself using the webcam at the top of your laptop. Once your picture is uploaded, you can click on each pair of glasses and it will give you a basic idea of what you might look like with them on.

Next, select your top 5 favorites, and Warby Parker will ship them to you for free. You then have 5 days to try them on and send them back after deciding which pair to ultimately buy.

Step 4. Have your prescription and pupillary distance (PD) handy, then follow the steps to place your final order online.

You can either type the prescription and PD in yourself, or have them contact your eye doctor. If you do choose to type it in, they also ask that you scan a copy of your prescription and attach it along with your order. Just a heads up.

Lastly, if you're wondering about the name, Warby Parker, it was apparently inspired by the writings of Jack Kerouac. On the website, they write: "Kerouac inspired a generation to take a road less traveled and to see the world through a different lens."

Um, yeah. Can I be any more in love with this company?
Probably not.