glasses Depending on your requirements and preferences, purchasing prescription eyeglasses online as opposed to through an optician can result in significant financial savings. We suggest that you begin your online search for glasses at Eyebuydirect after conducting more than 100 hours of research over three years, speaking with eight eye doctors, and testing dozens of comparable frame-and-lens combinations from 10 merchants since 2017. When compared to its well-known competitors, it offers a broad, simple-to-search collection of high-quality frames, a variety of lens and coating options, and reasonable prices.
Eyebuydirect is an excellent location to start your online glasses search with single-vision Rx eyeglasses starting at $13 and going as high as $233 during our test period (depending on frame and lens selections). It also has a 14-day, no-questions-asked full return guarantee. The eyeglasses we got from Eyebuydirect in 2019 and 2020 confirmed what we discovered in our testing from 2018: they were of great quality, and the business’s customer service was dependable. Eyebuydirect doesn’t provide in-home frame trials, but we discovered that their virtual try-on tool gave us a good idea of how the glasses we ultimately purchased would appear on our faces.
In 2020, the business will provide an unequalled free or inexpensive two-day shipping option for a wide range of frames. (In just 33 hours, a 2020 test pair of single-vision prescription glasses arrived.)
Free home frame trial and excellent return policy
Liingo offers the most liberal full-refund policy of any shop we looked at—60 days, no questions asked—despite having fewer frame options than Eyebuydirect.
Liingo Eyewear, a relative newcomer to the internet eyeglass market, distinguished itself from competitors by providing free in-home trials of up to five frames. This was due to both its generally greater frame range and its exceptional return policy (which can be executed in just two clicks). Even though the glasses we ordered from Liingo were, on average, more expensive than the ones we received from Eyebuydirect, Liingo allows you to return glasses for a complete refund for two full months as opposed to two weeks with Eyebuydirect.
A somewhat affordable option
You might be able to get a fantastic pair of prescription glasses from Zenni. And based on user feedback and our own testing, a lot of people do. However, this business only provides partial refunds or store credit for returns, making it a riskier option.
You might be shocked at how little you have to spend at Zenni Optical to get prescription glasses that are comparable to those you’d get from an optician if you’re willing to take a chance on a company with a lax return policy. Despite Zenni’s absurdly low prices, we discovered that it frequently exceeded our expectations. A tester who purchased the $19 glasses from Zenni was completely satisfied. Another tester liked the $149 Zenni progressive prescription glasses to the identical $295 pair from a rival.
Of all the businesses we tested, Zenni has the most extensive range of frames. However, be prepared to accept store credit (worth 100% of your initial purchase price) or only half of your money back, excluding delivery, if the glasses you get from Zenni don’t fit you.
Whom is this for
According to studies (PDF) from the Vision Council, a nonprofit trade organisation, more than 76% of US people use some sort of vision correction. The cost of a typical pair of prescription glasses is $315, according to vision insurance provider VSP. So it comes as no surprise that eyeglasses are a.
When buying glasses online, you can save up to half (or even more) compared to buying them in-store. At the time of our research, comparable frame and prescription lens combinations from our top recommendations ranged in price from $12 to $237. However, keep in mind that if you want speciality lenses or extra upgrades, your online expenses may eventually match those you would pay at an optical store.
Online comparison shopping for eyeglasses might increase your alternatives if you’re having trouble selecting frames that complement your face or personal style. Online eyeglass stores as a whole offer a much wider selection of frames than any optical store, offering wider, slimmer, and shallower styles as well as frames for those with higher cheekbones, lower nose bridges, or weight limits. By using advanced virtual try-on tools and at-home frame trials, many online eyeglass businesses can assist you in finding the ideal pair of glasses for your face (and, less formally, through generous, no-questions-asked return policies).
Check inside the arms of a pair of frames you currently own to get a head start on finding ones that fit, as many frames are imprinted with their specs. The identical dimensions can then be looked up in a fresh set of frames. In order to locate glasses that fit and look well, you can rapidly use the style-searching tools that are available on many websites. But keep in mind that going in person to an optician will allow you to try on the greatest choice of styles and sizes in the shortest period of time if you’re not quite sure what you’re searching for.
Not everyone should purchase prescription eyewear online. The eight eye doctors we spoke with agreed that purchasing online is generally acceptable if you have a straightforward or low prescription. To assure prescription accuracy, people with very strong prescriptions or other issues, such as the requirement for prism correction or progressive lenses, can feel more at ease purchasing glasses from a brick-and-mortar store (though even they can sometimes make mistakes). According to Dr. Neil Pence of the Indiana University School of Optometry, there is no official classification for what defines a “strong” prescription, but generally speaking, it denotes prescriptions of +/-6 power or higher.
Some readers who claim to have “complex” or particularly strong prescriptions have noticed that after taking the time to choose eyeglasses from our recommendations that they like, the merchants have refused to fill their prescriptions. It’s understandable why this is upsetting. Before spending too much time on the company’s website if your prescription is on the strong side, look at its guidelines (or go to an in-person optician).
You will require a prescription and PD.
You need a valid prescription and your PD, or pupillary distance, in order to purchase glasses online.
Though most prescriptions won’t formally expire until closer to five years, the American Optometric Association (AOA) advises that all persons under 65 have their eyes tested in person at least once every two years. It strongly advises against self-service prescription checkers and online-only services for renewing eyeglass prescriptions. The AOA stated in an email that patients “ought to be careful of any firm that claims its [service or] device can replace the care that a doctor delivers.” Only in-person eye exams can detect early indicators of glaucoma, diabetes, and excessive blood pressure, according to optometrist Dr. Camille Cohen.
You will also require a value known as pupillary distance, or PD, which is not likely to be on your prescription, in addition to a valid prescription. The distance between your pupils, measured in millimetres (using a single PD number), or the distance between your pupils and the middle of your nasal bridge (dual PD). The horizontal centre of vision should be placed in the lenses according to the PD values so that you may see clearly through them. According to Pence of Indiana University, it is more crucial that the lenses are aligned properly in front of your eye the stronger your prescription (i.e., the larger the spherical numbers—positive or negative).
When you order frames with prescription lenses, online eyeglass shops should request your PD. Despite the fact that your doctor most likely arrived at this figure during your eye examination, they are not absolutely compelled to give you your PD (unlike your glasses prescription, which is required by federal law to be patient-accessible). Only a few jurisdictions, including Alaska, Kansas, Massachusetts, and New Mexico, currently demand that your PD be noted on your prescription, according to the FDA.
In other places, it is up to the eye care specialist to share this crucial information or not. Ask if your PD will be listed on your prescription while scheduling your appointment to avoid any unpleasant interactions. If your doctor did not include your PD on your prescription after you had your eyes inspected, get in touch with them and ask them to do so. Even though they are not required to, it is likely that your doctor will answer your question if you ask for it. You still have options, though, if your doctor decides to hold this information hostage.
When you order frames with prescription lenses, online eyeglass shops should request your PD. Although they presumably did so at your eye test, your doctor is not required to give you your PD.
If you can find one, it’s important having a professional measure your PD so you have the best chance of finding online glasses that are right for you. We called eight “big box” opticians countrywide at random to see if we could pay to have our PD measured. Every single one of them said they wouldn’t give this measurement to someone who wasn’t going to buy glasses from them directly. Representatives from other stores cited state rules holding them accountable for poorly fitting glasses.
Others (such as a LensCrafters customer service representative in New York) stated that their businesses never disclosed this information to anyone, including their own clients, and that we should instead visit “a mum and pop shop.” In fact, the only store we contacted whose representative stated that their staff would measure anyone’s PD without charge, whether or not they purchased glasses from their establishment, was independently owned Oscar Oglethorpe Eyewear in Greensboro, North Carolina. You might be able to locate a local expert who is ready to measure your PD for a small or no price by making a few phone calls.
how we chose
You may get prescription glasses online from countless vendors. In order to avoid wasting time and money, we first rejected any retailer that did not include a try-on option, whether it was online or in-person. This is because getting glasses online without even a vague sense of how they would seem on your face might be risky.
Since regrets and errors are unavoidable, we eliminated any business that didn’t provide a full refund with no questions asked (though we made an exception for Zenni Optical, a retailer that stands out for its extensive budget-friendly offerings and rave customer reviews). And because saving money is a major factor in choosing to purchase items online as opposed to in-store, we concentrated on businesses that could provide us a selection of fashionable frames with single-vision prescription lenses for less than roughly $150.
These criteria made it simple for us to reduce our testing list to two prospective internet eyeglass retailers who offer Americans free in-home frame trials:
and nine that provide services for virtual try-ons:
Both Liingo and Warby Parker provide virtual try-on services through their websites in addition to free in-home frame trials. Additionally, Warby Parker offers fantastic virtual-try-on software (iOS only).
Only adult-sized glasses were taken into account for this guidance. Although Boonlook, Eyebuydirect, Firmoo, GlassesUSA, Jins, Warby Parker, and Zenni all sell children’s eyeglasses, we did not test any of their frames or lenses (Liingo and Lensabl do not). (Bonlook’s children’s frames are only sold there.)