May 17, 2022

oumiss

Forget Mediocre Fashion

The Best Places To Buy Prescription Glasses Online 2022

Table of Contents

As someone who has worn glasses since I was 3 years old, I know the struggle of getting a new pair of glasses all too well. From the lengthy process to the jaw-dropping (and not in a good way) price tag, it’s all too much. But thanks to modern technology and some ingenious entrepreneurs, you can now easily shop for prescription eyeglasses online.

While convenience is certainly one of the biggest pros of buying prescription glasses online, another huge benefit is a lower price tag. These online retailers cut out middlemen, like brick-and-mortar optical shops and third-party manufacturers, then pass those savings on to you. That means, in some cases, you can get a new pair of specs for just $6. And yes, that includes the lenses.

The best online prescription glasses stores also accept vision insurance or funds from flexible spending or health savings accounts, so if you’re looking for a way to use up FSA or HSA dollars during the year, this is it. And don’t forget, you can find some excellent prescription kids glasses and blue light blocking glasses online, too.

Where To Buy The Best Prescription Glasses Online

Making really good prescription glasses requires an advanced level of skill and some serious attention to detail, something that not all online retailers have. To help get you started, I put together this list of the best places to buy prescription glasses online. If you’re in the market for a new pair of prescription glasses, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on this list. While each retailer stands out in its own way, they share commonalities, like fair prices, a wide range of styles and a virtual try-on process.

Best Variety Of Prescription Glasses

GlassesUSA: A Selection That’s Hard To Rival

  • Turnaround time: 7 to 10 business days
  • Return policy: 14 days
  • Insurance accepted: Yes, as well as FSA and HSA

GlassesUSA is one of the largest online prescription glasses retailers, offering hundreds of designer frames, like Ray-Ban, Gucci and Oakley, along with less expensive house brands in every frame style and color you could imagine. Prices run the gamut from $39 all the way up to $700, depending on which brand you choose. With its virtual try-on feature, you can upload a photo directly to the website and see what each frame would look like on your face before you commit. GlassesUSA also has an app you can use to scan your prescription through your current lenses

All lenses are made to order in-house and then put through a series of inspections to check for quality, clarity and proper alignment. The prices you see on the website’s landing pages reflect basic, single-focus lenses, but you also have the option for upgrades like progressive lenses, anti-reflective coatings and transition lenses for up to $169 more.

If you’re unhappy with your new glasses for any reason, GlassesUSA has a 14-day, no questions asked return policy—but you can only take advantage of this for your first pair. There are no returns on orders placed with store credit.


Best Classic-Style Prescription Glasses

Liingo Eyewear: For Classic Styles To Bold Frames

  • Turnaround time: 4 days for processing plus shipping. There are options for standard and expedited shipping.
  • Return policy: 60 days for a return or exchange
  • Insurance accepted: Yes, as well as FSA and HSA

Liingo’s goal is to make prescription eyewear more accessible and with hundreds of original frames—all falling between $79 and $129—that mission has been accomplished. You can find everything from classic low-profile styles to bold, standout frames that make a fashion statement while improving your vision. In addition to a virtual try-on feature, you can also choose up to five different frames to try at home, absolutely free.

All frames come with free standard prescription lenses or you can add optional upgrades, like progressives, high-index and DuraSeal HD (to prevent scratching and smudging and help reduce glare) that tack on anywhere from $39 to $149, depending on which ones you choose. If you’re not sure what kind of lenses work best for your prescription, you can connect with trained opticians who will evaluate your needs and make specific recommendations just for you.

Liingo offers a 60-day money back guarantee. If you don’t love your new specs, you can return them for free—no questions asked. Liingo also backs up any adjustments you need. If you need the ear pieces tweaked, you can take them into any optical shop and if you get charged for the service, Liingo will reimburse you up to $25.


Best Glasses For Any Budget

EyeBuyDirect: Frames Start At Just $6

  • Turnaround time: 7 to 14 business days
  • Return policy: 14 days for a return or one-time replacement
  • Insurance accepted: No, but you can use FSA and HSA accounts as long as they’re affiliated with a major credit card.

EyeBuyDirect was founded with one priority in mind: to make clear vision affordable and accessible to everyone. To keep prices down on EyeBuyDirect’s own styles, everything from concept to design to manufacturing is done in-house. You can also choose from designer frames from Oakley, Ray-Ban and RFLKT. Frames start at $6 and go up to $253, but that price doesn’t include prescription lenses.

Once you’ve chosen your frame, you add standard lenses for $7 or opt for upgrades like advanced lenses and premium lenses, which go for $31 and $80, respectively. These upgraded lenses include things like anti-scratch, anti-reflective and water-repellant coatings.

To help you narrow things down, you can take EyeBuyDirect’s style quiz, which asks about your style, frame material and color preferences, as well as your face shape and head size. When you find a frame you like, you can click “try on” to upload a photo and see what it looks like on your face. The photo stays uploaded as you navigate the site, so you can quickly see what other options look like.

EyeBuyDirect offers a 14-day return policy if you change your mind or don’t like your new glasses, but its 365-Day Product Guarantee covers defects for a full year.

forbes.comEyeBuyDirect Coupons | 30% Off In March 2022 | Forbes

Best Value Prescription Glasses

Zenni Optical: Get A Prescription Pair For No More Than $50

  • Turnaround time: 7 to 10 business days
  • Return policy: 30 days for a store credit
  • Insurance accepted: No, but you can use FSA and HSA accounts

Zenni Optical is all about making prescription glasses affordable, with frames starting at just $6.95 and capping at $45.95—and that price includes standard prescription lenses, which seems too good to be true (but isn’t). While you won’t find any designer names among the selections, there are hundreds of designer-inspired frames in different shapes, sizes and colors. Zenni also offers low-bridge options and ANSI Z87.1 safety glasses with prescription single vision and progressive lenses.

Instead of using a still photo, the virtual try-on feature allows you to upload a video so you can get an accurate 180-degree assessment of how each frame—you can virtually try on up to 50—would look on your face. As you checkout, you can add upgrades, like polarization, transition lenses or anti-reflective and anti-fog coatings. These upgrades start at $4.95 and go up to $169, depending on which ones you choose.

One major negative worth noting: Zenni Optical only offers store credit for returns. However if your glasses were made incorrectly, they will remake them at no cost to you.


Best Blue Light Prescription Glasses

Felix Gray: These Glasses Do Double Duty With Blue Light Blocking

  • Turnaround time: 5 to 10 business days
  • Return policy: 30 days for a refund
  • Insurance accepted: No, but you can use FSA and HSA dollars as long as the accounts are associated with a major credit card

Felix Gray is known for its vast selection of blue light blocking glasses, but you can add prescription lenses to any pair for an extra fee. Frames start around $95 and adding clear prescription lenses will bring the cost to around $145 or more, depending on whether you opt for any upgrades, like thinner high-index lenses. If you’d rather amber lenses, which block out more blue light and may help improve your sleep, the cost starts at around $200 with the prescription lenses included.

Each frame has fit information, like narrow, medium and/or wide, that helps you make your choice, plus a virtual try-on feature that accesses your camera and shows what the glasses will look like on your face, so you can make a more educated decision on each style.

If you don’t like your new specs for any reason, you can return them to Felix Gray within 30 days, and you can use FSA or HSA dollars to make the purchase.


Best Designer Prescription Glasses

Frames Direct: A Vast Selection Of Designer Frames

  • Turnaround time: 11 to 14 business days
  • Return policy: 30 days for a return or exchange
  • Insurance accepted: No, but you can use FSA and HSA dollars

Frames Direct claims to have the largest selection of designer eyewear online. While we can’t confirm whether that’s true or not, we can say there are almost 5,000 different frames from high-end brands like Gucci, Prada, Versace and Kate Spade, as well as big names in the glasses industry, like Oakley and Ray-Ban—in a wide variety of colors, too. And you won’t have to pay full price for them. Most brands sell for 20% to 80% off the retail price, and you can often score prescription lenses at a discount too (check for promo codes before you submit your order).

As far as lenses go, you can get 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 UV 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.


Best Online Buying Experience

Warby Parker: An Online Retailer That Offers At-Home Try-Ons

  • Turnaround time: 7 to 10 business days
  • Return policy: 30 days for a return or exchange
  • Insurance accepted: Yes, as well as FSA and HSA

Warby Parker was born from a mission to offer designer-style frames at affordable prices. All frames start at just $95, an impressive price that includes basic prescription lenses. With hundreds of frames to choose from, things can feel a little overwhelming at first, but if you download Warby Parker’s app, you can access a virtual try-on feature that allows you to quickly swipe through all the options while they display on your face.

The brand also offers a home try-on where you can pick up to five frames that Warby Parker will send to you, for free, to physically try on before you buy. You can sort through the entire collection of frames, or you can take a short online quiz that asks you questions about your preferences, like frame material, shape and color, and then narrows down your options to only the frames that fit those specifications.

Once you have your frames picked out, you can add basic prescription lenses or choose from various upgrade options, like progressive lenses, blue-light filtering or light-responsive lenses that add up to $200 to the total price.

If you don’t like your new glasses, you can return them for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of receipt. Warby Parker also offers a one-year, no-scratch guarantee. If your lenses get scratched in the first 365 days, you can get new lenses made for free.


Best Quirky Prescription Glasses

Eyebobs: Unique Frames For People Who Like To Stand Out

  • Turnaround time: 7 to 10 business days
  • Return policy: 90 days for a return or exchange
  • Insurance accepted: FSA and HSA dollars are accepted, or Eyebobs will send you an itemized receipt that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Eyebobs makes unique frames for people who are looking for something a little less traditional. The frames come in bright colors, one-of-a-kind shapes and eye-catching patterns that look like an intentional part of your personal style, rather than just an afterthought. Frames start at $95 and adding a prescription brings that cost up to $245 to $345, depending on whether you need single vision or progressive frames. You can also opt for upgrades, like thinner lenses, blue light blocking and/or transition or polarized lenses for $40 to $90 more.

Most frames are available in average or wide versions so you can find the perfect fit for your face. If you’re not sure which style is right for you, you can take Eyebobs’ 10-question quiz, which asks about your personal preferences, style and which colors you’re typically drawn to, to narrow it down. There’s also a virtual try-on feature so once you’ve decided on a few pairs, you can see how they’ll look.

Eyebobs accepts FSA and HSA dollars and while the retailer won’t bill your insurance directly, you can request an itemized receipt to submit for reimbursement. Use code FORBES15 to snag 15% off your purchase.


Best Affordable Luxury Glasses

DIFF Eyewear: Luxury Frames At Budget-Friendly Prices

  • Turnaround time: Orders are shipped within 24 to 48 hours and arrive within one to 9 days, depending on shipping speed chosen
  • Return policy: 14 days for store credit (less a $6 return fee)
  • Insurance accepted: No, but you can request an itemized PDF to submit for reimbursement

DIFF Eyewear delivers luxury frames at more budget-friendly prices. While DIFF doesn’t carry any name brand specs, the frames are designer-inspired and the price you see includes premium prescription lenses. If you want to upgrade, you have that option, too. You can opt for thinner lenses or blue light blocking technology for an additional fee of $35, or swap out your lenses for photochromic glasses that darken when exposed to sunlight.

To make you feel even better about your purchase: DIFF Eyewear prioritizes giving back and has partnered with Sightsavers, an international organization that helps provide vision to billions of people throughout the world. For every pair of glasses sold, DIFF offers eye exams, surgeries, glasses, medicine and more to someone who wouldn’t be able to get the proper eye care otherwise.


Best Glasses For All Face Shapes

Eyeconic: Filter Styles By Your Face Shape

  • Turnaround time: 9 to 14 business days (unless you upgrade to faster shipping)
  • Return policy: 60 days for a return or exchange
  • Insurance accepted: Yes, as well as FSA and HSA dollars

Eyeconic was founded by the non-profit organization VSP, as part of a mission to make eye health a priority by offering prescription glasses online. There are more than 1,500 frame styles and prices start at $49 and go up to $739, which includes basic prescription lenses.

To make things more streamlined, you can filter the frames by face shape or speciality sizing, like “glasses for big heads,” “glasses for small faces” or “glasses for a low bridge.” When you get to the checkout process, you’ll see several optional lens package upgrades and individual lens enhancements, like anti-reflective and blue light coatings, that add up to $135 to the final price.

If you want to try before you buy, you can use Eyeconic’s virtual try-on feature, which combines a five-second video with a photo to get the most accurate assessment of your face. If you’re not satisfied with the frame’s fit when you receive your glasses, you can schedule an in-person visit at one of Eyeconic’s 38,000 in-network eye doctors for a free frame adjustment.

Eyeconic also has a generous return policy, giving you up to 60 days to return your glasses for a full refund. And if your prescription changes within six months of getting your new specs, you can swap your lenses for new ones.


Best Changeable Prescription Glasses

Pair Eyewear: Clip-On Toppers Change The Look Of Your Frames

  • Turnaround time: 10 to 14 business days, depending on shipping speed
  • Return policy: 30 days for a return or exchange
  • Insurance accepted: No, but FSA and HSA dollars are accepted

Pair was created with kids in mind. The founders—Nathan and Sophia—teamed up with the former head of product from Warby Parker to come up with an affordable and fun line of eyewear that kids will actually want to wear. From there, things took off and an equally eye-catching adult line of frames was born.

There are only a handful of frame styles, but there are hundreds of colors and patterns of “tops,” pieces that go on top of the frame base to change the color, from solid pink to rainbow tie-dye to NBA logos. Pair also creates limited edition tops and collabs with big names like Marvel and Harry Potter to design themed styles that allow you—and your kids—to showcase your personality.

Each frame starts at $60, including the standard prescription lenses, and the tops go for $25 to $30 each—creating an affordable and easy way to regularly change your look. During checkout, you can choose optional add-ons, like light-responsive lenses or blue light filtering, that add $49 to $199 to the final cost. For peace of mind, Pair offers a 30-day, no questions asked return policy on frames and tops.


Best Tried-And-True Glasses Retailer

LensCrafters: The O.G. Of Prescription Glasses

  • Turnaround time: 3 to 14 business days, depending on prescription and special finishes
  • Return policy: 30 days for a return or exchange, but you can purchase additional protection for up to one year
  • Insurance accepted: Yes

LensCrafters has been handling prescription glasses since the 1980s. While it started as a brick-and-mortar, it has now expanded to offering its nearly 1,000 frame styles online. You can choose specs from high-end designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Burberry, or go with more-recognizable names in the glasses game, like Ray-Ban and Oakley.

The frames start around $125, but the retailer also regularly runs promotions, like 40% off frames with the purchase of prescription lenses or 50% designer frames with lenses, that drop the total price considerably. As far as lenses go, the process is pretty similar to the other options on this list. You can choose from single vision or progressive and three lens thicknesses that will add up to $369 to your total, depending on your final choices. You can also add anti-reflective treatments, advanced scratch coatings and/or blue light treatment for varying additional fees.

While the final cost of your prescription eyeglasses may be a little higher than online-only optical shops, the perk is that you can visit any LensCrafters store—there are 920 across the country—for free adjustments or troubleshooting. LensCrafters also takes most vision insurance so that can drop the price considerably.

MORE FROM FORBES8 Of The Best Places to Buy Kids’ Glasses Online

How To Shop For Prescription Glasses Online

If you’re new to online prescription glasses shopping, it can definitely feel like a large departure from the traditional way of going to your eye doctor or an optical shop and trying on frames in person. But in this case, we think change is a good thing—and it’s really easy. Here’s how you do it:

Get A Current Prescription

No matter which online prescription glasses store you choose, you’ll need a current prescription. In most cases, this means you’ll have to make an appointment with your regular eye doctor first, although some stores, like Warby Parker, allow you to schedule an eye exam right through its website. The actual exams are still done in person though, as it’s important for your eye doctor to get a close look at your eyes to make sure everything is healthy and functioning as it should.

That said, there is an exception when it comes to renewing prescriptions. Some sites, including Warby Parker, let you renew your prescription via a virtual vision test, but only if your health qualifies and your current prescription is still working for you. It’ll likely cost you, but not much (Warby Parker’s exam is $15, and only if your prescription is renewed).

Measure Your Pupillary Distance

In addition to a current prescription, you’ll also need your pupillary distance (or PD), which is the distance, measured in millimeters, between the centers of your pupils. This number is essential because it represents the spot on the lens that you’ll actually be looking through. If it’s off, you may be left with blurry or distorted lenses.

You can measure your own pupillary distance—Zenni Optical provides a step-by-step guide on how to do it—but for the most accurate results, your best bet is to have your eye doctor measure it during your eye exam and give you that number with your prescription. There’s also the option of using apps, like EyeMeasure, or online tools, like Warby Parker’s PD measuring tool.

Virtually Try On Frames

Once you have your prescription and pupillary distance ready to go, the next step is virtually trying on frames. Most online prescription glasses stores offer some type of virtual try-on that you can access through your computer’s webcam.

It’s also helpful to know which types of frames work best for your face shape and your prescription. For example, round frames look best on square and round faces, while rectangular frames complement oval faces. If you need help determining your face shape or choosing a style, EyeBuyDirect has a visual guide that can help.

Another option is to visit optical stores in-person and try on similar frames there. Often, you can find the same models online that you tried on in store.

Place Your Order

The last step in shopping for prescription glasses online is placing your order. Typically, you’ll add your frames to your cart then enter your prescription and pupillary distance at checkout. Triple check your information before hitting submit, as one wrong number can make a huge difference in your new specs.

Make sure you try on your new glasses as soon as they arrive. Most online glasses stores offer an accuracy guarantee—if the glasses aren’t right, they’ll replace them or send you a new pair—but you’ll have to let them know quickly, usually within two weeks to 30 days of receiving them.

Keep in mind that it can take some time for your eyes to adjust to new glasses, especially if the prescription has changed significantly. Give yourself up to a week to get used to your new pair and if you’re still having problems, reach out for troubleshooting tips and/or a replacement.


Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Prescription Glasses Online

Is It Cheaper To Buy Prescription Glasses Online?

In many cases, yes. While designer frames still have hefty price tags, online glasses brands tend to be much cheaper (and just as stylish) as their name brand counterparts. Further, the direct-to-consumer style of shopping online cuts out third-party mark-ups.

Can I Order Glasses With An Old Prescription?

No. Reputable prescription glasses retailers require you to upload a copy of a recent prescription before creating your order and will not accept expired prescriptions.

Is There A Way To Get A Glasses Prescription Online?

No, an in-person exam is required to get a new prescription. That said, there are a few online glasses retailers, like Warby Parker, that let you renew your prescription via a virtual vision test, as long as your health is in good standing and your current prescription is still working for you.

What Measurements Do You Need To Buy Glasses Online?

Aside from your prescription, you’ll need to know your pupillary distance (PD) to order a comfortable pair of specs online. The PD refers to the distance between the centers of your pupils. If this measurement is off, you can experience blurry or distorted vision (and dizziness and headaches as a side effect) while wearing your glasses.

While you can measure your own PD (check out Zenni Optical’s step-by-step guide and Warby Parker’s PD measuring tool), your best bet for an accurate result is to get the measurement from your optometrist.

How Do I Choose A Pair Of Glasses?

There’s a lot to consider, including your budget, style and the ability to customize your glasses with add-ons like blue light and anti-glare coatings. Aspects of the actual shopping experience, such as the ability to “test” styles through a virtual try-on feature or renew your prescription with a virtual vision test, can help narrow your choice. And no matter which pair of glasses you end up choosing, be sure the retailer offers a return policy and/or warranty that you’re comfortable with in case you need to switch them out.