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As someone who has worn glasses since I was three 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.
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 on your online prescription glasses journey, 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.
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 offer 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 their 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.
GlassesUSA.com 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.
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.com 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.
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. They also offer 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.
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.
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 $6.95 or opt for upgrades like advanced lenses and premium lenses, which go for $30.90 and $79.90, 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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.