Best Way To Buy Glasses Online
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Shopping for glasses from home can save you cash, too. Since having digital storefronts allows retailers to cut out the middlemen (like brick-and-mortar shops and third-party manufacturers) those savings are passed on to you. Furthermore, many online glasses companies also accept HSA and FSA funds, meaning no out-of-pocket costs for you.
As far as lenses go, choose single vision, no-line progressives or non-prescription readers. You can also select different lens materials, from thin polycarbonate to lower-cost plastic, as well as optional upgrades like digital light protection or scratch-resistant coating. And before your order goes through, an optician will review everything to make sure you picked the best selections for your prescription.
Frames with non-prescription lenses are $50 while the rest range from $90 to $290 with single-vision (or reader or non-prescriptive) lenses included. Progressives tack on an extra $120 and special tints and transitional lenses are also an extra $120. For those wanting blue light blocking lenses, they cost either $30 or $60, depending on the type: Screen Daily Use lenses block 25% of blue light and Screen Heavy Use block 40%. And a final heads up for ordering: Unlike some other online glasses retailers, the field to add your prescription pops up after you place your order.
We spent hours researching popular eyewear companies and what they offer in terms of selection, value, insurance eligibility, return policy and turnaround time. We also thoroughly browsed each site to test out the user-friendliness of the glasses-buying process and discover special features like virtual or at-home try-ons and prescription renewals. Finally, we included firsthand recommendations from Forbes Vetted staffers like GlassesUSA, Zenni Optical and Warby Parker.
To help you pinpoint the best eyewear retailer for your needs, we indicated the estimated turnaround times, return policies, availability of a virtual try-on features and vision renewal tests, and whether insurance and HSA/FSA funds are accepted. We also noted key points about the eyewear options offered as well as reasons one might prefer shopping somewhere else.
While working QA contracts at Electronic Arts, LucasArts, and other developers, I wrote for online gaming outlets and print publications. I soon began writing full-time and expanded my beat, covering more of my favorite interests and hobbies, from film and television to tech, travel, and gear.
It really depends on what you're looking for in terms of frame style and pricing. Every store on this list is a good place to shop for glasses online, but the types of frames vary by store, with some stores offering more premium frames, which tend to cost more. Lens quality also can vary, and some stores offer faster delivery.
Stores like Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect advertise offers for cheap prescription glasses (that includes frames and lenses) for $6.95 or even slightly less. While that's slightly deceptive only because the price doesn't include tax and shipping and you really should add an anti-glare coating to the lens for about $4 extra, I have put together a usable pair of glasses for around $17 shipped.
You'll need to know your prescription and pupillary distance from your optometrist before you use an online glasses retailer -- so make sure you get a hard copy the next time you get your vision checked. Be aware that sometimes optometrists won't give your pupillary distance because they'll say they want to measure you for a specific set of glasses. But insist on getting one. You can also measure PD yourself using an app on your smartphone or download a PD ruler that most online stores have available for download with instructions on how to use it. Pupillary distance is key because when lenses are made it's important to know where your eye is in relation to the center of the lens.
You can also pick up a device like the $99 EyeQue Vision Check to use your smartphone to check your vision and create a prescription that many online glasses stores will accept (some do require an Rx from an optometrist).
You can often get glasses with basic frames and lenses for less than $100 and sometimes even less than $50 during certain promotions. (I once bought a pair of prescription glasses for $9 that I can't say were all that good, but I've kept them in my car as an emergency pair.)
More premium lenses made of lighter and stronger materials, with additional scratch resistance and anti-glare coating or photochromic lens that change from clear to tinted, cost significantly more. But a pair of premium RX glasses that might cost you $300-$400 online would probably cost double that or more in a brick-and-mortar shop.
Yes, sometimes prescription glasses don't end up being perfect and may end up bothering your eyes. I once had a certain online store screw up the prescription in the left lens while the right one was correct. In many cases, you can return the glasses if you're not satisfied, but make sure to read the fine print on the store's return policy. Often, the store will remake the glasses for you or give you a full refund. However, certain sites only offer partial refunds.
Buying glasses online from a manufacturer like Warby Parker is not only cheaper but can be a lot less time-consuming, particularly after you've gone through the process of buying your first pair of online glasses and have your prescription and profile saved for future purchases. Since it only takes a few minutes to enter your prescription and measure your pupillary distance, the hardest part is agonizing over which frames to choose and mulling over lens options.
To help you narrow down your options and find the best prescription glasses online, I've pulled together the nine best online vendors for buying prescription glasses, vetted by me along with other CNET staff members.
Several CNET editors have bought their glasses on Warby Parker, which has a good selection of sharp-looking eyeglass frames. While glasses start at only $95 with a single-vision prescription, chances are you're going to pay a bit more -- around $150 to $200 -- based on the type of frame options you choose, your prescription and type of eyeglass lenses. Sunglasses start at $175, and progressive lenses in both eyeglasses and sunglasses start at $295. But based on my and my fellow co-workers' experience, the finished products tend to be a step up from what more budget-oriented sites offer.
Notable site features: The company's iPhone app -- sorry, there's no Android version yet -- allows you to search the site by frame size and to try on various frames virtually (it works surprisingly well) and better yet, you can try up to five frames at home for five days for free. Once your five days are up, you place your box in the mail with the prepaid return label (hopefully, you find at least one style that you like from among the five you picked for the home trial). There's also a $15 online virtual vision test to renew prescriptions that are outdated. (Based on the test, you may not be eligible, however.)
The online glasses store also has a \"buy a pair, give a pair\" program, so for every pair of glasses you buy, the company distributes a pair to someone in need, either for free or for \"ultra-affordable prices.\" (See details.)
Shipping times: According to Warby: \"Single vision glasses take seven to 10 business days to reach you from the time we have all of your order information. Sunglasses and progressives take 10 to 12 business days to reach you.\" (These estimates jibe with the experience of CNET editors who have used the service and my pair arrived in six business days.) You can pay more for expedited shipping.
Austin, Texas-based Roka branched out into the online prescription eyewear business a few years ago. The retailer's marketing slogan is \"The most technically advanced eyewear that doesn't look technical,\" and its glasses are impressively light, durable and stylish looking. Like Warby Parker, these are at the higher-end of the online prescription eyeglasses spectrum, with prices of around $200 for a completed pair of prescription glasses, depending on some of the lens upgrades you might add. But Roka has some of the best glasses frames out there.
Roka started out making athletic glasses for runners, bikers and triathletes, and many of its prescription frames are bendable at the ends and have rubberized tracks that help you get a more secure fit. The frames also come with three sizes of grippy nose pads to ensure a better fit. They are among the most comfortable glasses I've worn -- and they really stay on your face. I personally like the small Oslo frame in clear.
Notable site features: Like Warby, there's a home-trial program. You can try up to four frames at home for up to seven days. The box ships with a prepaid return label -- you just drop it off at a post office to send it back. It also has an online virtual vision test to renew prescriptions that are outdated (based on the test, you may not be eligible, however).
Shipping times: Roka has improved its turnaround times now that it's cutting lenses in Austin. It says its standard prescription eyeglasses, readers, and nonprescription sunglasses \"will generally ship by the next business day. Our prescription sunglasses and progressives will generally ship in 5-7 business days.\" For all its glasses, Roka offers free standard shipping in the contiguous United States, as well as optional expedited shipping options, including overnight shipping.
Founded in 2008, GlassesUSA.com offers more affordable options for buying prescription eyeglasses and designer eyeglasses online than sites like Warby Parker and Roka, with full prescription glasses starting at $38. But it also features premium designer frames from high quality eyeglasses brands, including Ray-Ban and Persol. The designer eyewear lists for more -- frames start at $89 for basic completed Rx glasses -- but discounts can bring them down in price. 59ce067264