The Best Places to Buy Prescription Glasses Online

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As someone who has worn glasses since middle school, I understand the burden of not only having to acquire new glasses every couple of years, but also wanting those glasses to complement my face. The latter is often more difficult. No offense to my ophthalmologist and my traditional optical stores, but sometimes the selection just isn’t up to par, and in a time when glasses are so stylish that even those with 20/20 vision want to wear them (gag!), the visually impaired must follow. May I introduce you to the world of online prescription eyewear stores.

Before testing these services, I had no prior knowledge or real interest in buying glasses online. For some reason they just seemed like an issue – what if they don’t fit my semi-wide face, or the frames aren’t what I expected? Then I will have to send them back and start the whole process again. As with all online purchases, you always run this risk when buying prescription glasses over the Internet. However! There are a ton of pros that I didn’t know about.

For starters, buying your prescription glasses online is often more cost effective because you cut out the middleman. According to Consumer Reporterspeople paying out of pocket for their glasses paid a median of $91 online, while those buying in-store paid $234.

There’s also the obvious convenience of being able to choose and try on frames from the comfort of your own home, and there are endless options. No more settling for the best worst pair at the eye doctor. And if you’re like me and were curious/confused as to how your insurance might play a part in getting a new pair of frames, luckily most online prescription eyewear companies underwrite vision insurance from various providers or allow you to use your FSA/HSA Benefits.

So if I’ve convinced you to take a chance and choose online services for your next pair of glasses, here are five of the best places to buy prescription glasses online right now.

GlassesUSA.com

GlassesUSA.com

One of the largest online eyewear retailers, GlassesUSA.com offers a range of high quality designer and house brand eyewear from Ray-Ban to Gucci. I was able to try on a pair of Ray Ban RX7066, and the process couldn’t have been easier. Simply find the frames you like, select the lenses and fill your prescription online or download a copy. Each order includes single vision lenses made to order in-house, but you can also choose upgrades like progressive or transition lenses. After your frames are manufactured, they undergo a series of inspections to ensure alignment precision and optical accuracy. As for the fit? Perfect. No returns required. (But if you need a return, GlassesUSA.com has a 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy.)

Warby Parker

Warby Parker

Probably the best-known online prescription eyewear brand, Warby Parker specializes in the trendiest specs. All frames start at $95 – not too shabby for basic prescription lenses. Similar to GlassesUSA.com, my Warby Parker experience was straightforward. Once you have chosen your frames, you will be asked to select a frame width, a prescription type (this is where you can switch to progressive lenses), a lens type (add blue light filtering and light-sensitive features to your lenses) and lens material. The company also offers a service called Home Try-On where you can choose five shades to try for free at home before you buy. Or you can download Warby Parker’s app which has a virtual try-on feature that lets you cycle through a bunch of frames on your face.

EyeBuyDirect

EyeBuyDirect

EyeBuyDirect specializes in affordable yet high quality eyewear. Seriously, you can get frames for around $6 here (however, that doesn’t include prescription lenses.) Like the retailers above, you can add blue light blocking to your lenses or even transform them in sunglasses if you wish. And they offer a nice assortment of styles. So if you’re looking for a pair of specs at a low price, head over to EyeBuyDirect.

Zeni

Zeni

Founded in 2003 by two scientists who answered the question: “Don’t everyone deserve to look good while wearing an affordable pair of glasses?” You can pick up well-made pairs that start at $6.95 and stop at $45.95 (and that number includes standard prescription lenses.) While you won’t find any heavy hitters in Zenni’s selection, the company offers reliable and complementary basics, which of us who need glasses know, that’s really all you need. And if you need help choosing a pair, Zenni’s optical stylists will guide you through your frame selection.

Liingo

Liingo

Liingo has Warby Parker vibes in terms of style, but less selection. But that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world – many of these online eyewear brands have vast collections, which can be overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. Like the brands above, Liingo makes buying great eyewear easy, offering free at-home trials as well as virtual try-ons.

Sarah C. Figueiredo