Getting glasses is a long-term investment that can directly impact your quality of life. But is spending more money really worth it?
Independent online retailer Warby Parker has an impressive curated selection of stylish frames, with a definite nod toward chunky acetate. Their shopping tools include a style quiz that helps point you in the right direction.
Many online eyeglasses retailers offer a wide variety of styles from the major name brands. For example, GlassesUSA offers a huge selection from its house brand and others like Muse and Ottoto. It also has a helpful shopping tool that begins with a style quiz and then points you in the right direction based on your style and brand preferences.
Moreover, online eyeglasses retailers often have much lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar shops. This can be especially true if the shop has a direct relationship with the manufacturers, eliminating a layer of middlemen.
Another convenience factor for online glasses is that you can order them from the comfort of your home at any time of day or night. This is far more convenient than trying to visit a local optician during business hours.
Many discount stores offer a huge selection of frames that look good on most people. You can find a lot of styles that are trendy, fashionable or cute, but still cost significantly less than expensive frames. Warby Parker, for example, sells a single-vision pair of glasses for $95 or less, including lenses.
Online retailers like GlassesUSA offer a great virtual shopping experience and a massive selection of name brands and house brand frames. They also offer a helpful style quiz that tries to point you in the right direction based on your tastes. They offer lots of discounts and sales, too.
If you’re worried about getting stuck with a pair of glasses you hate, most online retailers have generous return policies that allow you to swap them out or get a refund. However, it’s best to check with the retailer to make sure. Some will only cover one pair of glasses while others may limit the time you can return them for a refund or exchange.
A standard pair of glasses costs an average of $242 without insurance according to a 2019 VSP global consumer study, but online retailers like Zenni and FramesDirect can offer similar style at half the cost. Often, you can also save even more when you input discount codes during checkout or around holidays.
In addition to price cuts, many online retailers offer lens upgrades such as anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings as well as digital screen protection lenses that reduce eye strain from the blue light emitted by computers and smartphones. If you have a basic prescription, these accessories can make the difference between a cheap glasses and a pair that is worth the extra expense.
Of course, buying glasses from a store at a mall or retail vision center can also be expensive. In some cases, these options might be less convenient and may not provide the same level of customer service that you get from a trusted online retailer.
With a wide selection of frames, lenses and add-ons, online retailers like EyeBuyDirect and Zenni Optical make it possible to get a full pair of glasses for much less than you’d pay at brick-and-mortar opticians. GH testers reported that their orders arrived in 10 to 12 days, depending on the brand and if they needed a stronger prescription or extra-thick lens options.
These sites also offer at-home virtual try-on and return policies to keep you happy and save on shipping costs, which can be a big perk if you’re using FSA or HSA dollars for your purchase. Just be sure to get your pupillary distance (the space between the centers of your pupils) from your optometrist or use a free app or online tool for measuring yourself before placing an order. Some websites even let you upgrade your lenses with functional or cosmetic additions, such as an anti-reflective coating and digital screen protection for computer glasses.
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