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Chad Merritt
Chad Merritt

Buy Discount Glasses Online


After additional testing, including ordering glasses with single-vision and photochromic prescription lenses, we still think Eyebuydirect and Zenni Optical are the best online glasses retailers for most people.




buy discount glasses online


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People who want to use certain vision insurance benefits without having to file a claim after purchase, or folks who want the option to buy or get frames fitted (or adjusted) in a store, may prefer ordering from Lenscrafters or Target Optical, which also offer online-only ordering.


Depending on your needs and preferences, you can save hundreds of dollars by buying prescription eyeglasses online instead of through an optician. After performing more than 120 hours of research over four years, talking to eight eye-care professionals, and testing dozens of comparable frame-and-lens pairings from 12 retailers since 2017, we recommend that you start your online glasses search at Eyebuydirect. It offers an extensive, easy-to-search selection of quality frames, multiple lens and coating options, and affordable prices when compared with the prominent competition.


To make the strongest possible direct comparisons across brands, we had each tester choose near-identical frames and lenses from each retailer. Of course, there were some slight differences in styles based on the options each retailer offered at the time of our testing. For example, some of the wire-framed glasses that Tester 1 ordered were a slightly different shape than others. The anti-glare and hydrophobic coatings we ordered differed slightly from pair to pair, depending upon retailer offerings and costs.


When we ordered my glasses (metal-and-plastic frames filled with comparatively stronger Rx lenses), we found that two retailers, Eyebuydirect and GlassesUSA, required that we order more-expensive lenses based on the prescription (costing an extra $79 and $70, respectively). Firmoo and Zenni allowed us to order basic lenses, with the option to upgrade.


Wondering what happens to returned spectacles? We asked each of the retailers we tested what they did with unwanted prescription glasses. Liingo said it reuses returned frames for its in-home try-on services, as well as donates glasses to various organizations. Eyebuydirect, Firmoo, GlassesUSA, and Warby Parker all said they partner with charities to distribute glasses to those in need. Zenni donates them to Lions Clubs International.


Orders over $119 ship for free (orders costing less incur a $6 shipping charge). Eyebuydirect says glasses can take one to two weeks to produce and mail, but all of our test pairs arrived within seven days of ordering, save for the more-complicated progressives, which arrived within the promised two weeks.


Eyebuydirect offers two-day delivery on single-vision prescription glasses in more than 300 frame options, for an additional fee of $19 (though you can usually pay less with a coupon code). We tried this service and were pleasantly surprised to receive our order within 33 hours of placing it.


In 2020, we ordered the exact same glasses that we ordered in 2019 to evaluate consistency. We were pleasantly surprised to note that not only was the prescription perfect, but the glasses were also slightly less expensive the second time around, thanks to the recent uptick in Zenni coupon codes.


Likewise, if the temple arms are too long for you, the glasses can slip forward and off your face or dig in behind your ears, an issue that can sometimes be mitigated with an in-person fitting with a professional (for which Liingo, one of our picks, offers a $25 credit; Eyeconic offers this service for free).


Lensabl says it can put Rx lenses in any frames for these flat rates. To test this claim, I bought an $8 pair of foldable reading glasses (currently unavailable). Within two weeks of sending the frames and prescription to Lensabl, I had a pair of perfectly prescribed folding eyeglasses for less than $100.


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.


Most sites offer 15-20% off your first purchase if you provide an email address. Many sites also offer additional deals with certain codes at checkout, whether it's discounts on frames, lenses, lens upgrades and sometimes you'll see a buy-one-get-one-free deal. However, typically restrictions apply, which can mean you can only use the code for certain frames and less complicated prescriptions (single lens as opposed to progressive lenses). Look for sales and new codes to crop up around various holidays.


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. 041b061a72


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