Best places to buy prescription glasses online (and save money)

The 5 best places to buy glasses online (and save some serious cash)

Warby Parker


Forget shopping for glasses in person. There are bunches of great online companies — like Warby Parker, GlassesUSA, Zenni Optical, Roka and LensCrafters — that allow you to easily order prescription eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses online. Some of these companies, like GlassesUSA and LensCrafters, even offer designer frames at discounted prices. All of these companies allow you to customize your eyewear based on your prescription, lifestyle and needs.

Even if you have insurance, prescription eyewear and contacts can be spendy. By shopping for glasses online, you can choose from a huge selection of quality — even designer — frames and have custom lenses made without spending a fortune. 

Our in-house shopping experts have done the research on the best places to shop online for prescription eyewear. And don’t worry if there’s a problem with the glasses you order online. This roundup only features companies that offer a money-back guarantee and easy exchanges. And most offer either a virtual try-on feature, or allow you to order several frames to try on at home, before placing that final order on your glasses.


What are the best prescription glasses you can get online?

Whether you need single vision, bi-focals, or progressive lenses, prescription sunglasses, or lenses that automatically darken in the sun, shopping online has serious benefits. It’s easy, saves money and gives you a much larger selection than what’s typically on offer at the optometrist’s office.

Pro tip: When you’re shopping prescription glasses online, be sure to see if the company offers discounts to students, teachers, active military, seniors or first responders. And most of these companies offer an extra discount if you buy more than one pair of glasses.


Best overall prescription eyeglasses: Warby Parker

Warby Parker

Warby Parker


Single-vision prescription: Yes | Bi-focals prescription: Yes | Progressive prescription: Yes | Readers: Yes | Prescription sunglasses: Yes | Light responsive Lens option: Yes | Blue light filtering lens option: Yes | Virtual try-on: Yes, using a mobile app | Home try-on: Yes | HSA/FSA accepted: Yes | Vision insurance accepted: Yes

Warby Parker is a one-stop shop for all of your prescription eyewear. Most frames, which include single-vision prescription lenses, start at just $95. Progressive lenses start at $295. 

The company sells only its own collection of frames (and there are many to choose from) and the website offers an easy virtual try-on feature. There’s also a home try-on option that allows you to select up to five frames and have them shipped to your home for free. Choose the frames you want, order your prescription glasses and return the samples in a pre-paid box. 

You also get a wide range of lens options, so you can pick only the add-on filters and coatings that you need — whether it’s a blue-light filter, anti-fatigue filter, or light responsive lenses that darken in the sun. An anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coating are automatically included for free. The company uses polycarbonate lenses, but these can be upgraded to 1.67 high-index lenses for an additional fee.

Once you choose your frame, in most cases, you can choose a color or color combination and size, before moving on to customizing your lenses. You’ll be asked to either upload a copy of your prescription or provide contact information for your optometrist. 

Warby Parker accepts virtually all vision insurance and HSA/FSA payments. If you order two pairs of glasses at the same time (one of which can be prescription sunglasses), you get an automatic 15% discount. And for every pair of prescription eyewear purchased, Warby Parker donates a pair to someone in need. 


Best buget prescription eyeglasses: GlassesUSA

Glasses USA

Glasses USA


Single-vision prescription: Yes | Bi-focals prescription: Yes | Progressive prescription: Yes | Readers: Yes | Prescription sunglasses: Yes | Light responsive Lens option: Yes | Blue light filtering lens option: Yes | Virtual try-on: For most frames | Home try-on: No | HSA/FSA accepted: Yes | Vision insurance accepted: Yes 

GlasesUSA.com is the place to shop for prescription glasses, especially if you’re looking for designer frames (from Ray-Ban, Oakley, Prada, Coach, Versace, Gucci and 54 others) or low-cost generic frames that start at $34 (including single-vision lenses). For bi-focals or progressives, add $94 to $99, plus the cost of any filters or coatings.

GlassesUSA is all about discounts — from frames that are on sale to BOGO offers. Designer frames are typically sold at up to 40% off of retail, and lens upgrades are offered for up to 50% off. New customers who sign up for a newsletter get a coupon good for up to 50% off a first pair of frames.

All glasses come with a 14-day money-back guarantee, as well as a one-year warranty. If you have vision insurance, you can submit your receipt for reimbursement, but you can also use health savings funds to make qualifying purchases. 


Best no-frills prescription eyeglasses: Zenni Optical

Zenni Eyewear

Zenni


Single-vision prescription: Yes | Bi-focals prescription: Yes | Progressive prescription: Yes | Readers: Yes | Prescription sunglasses: Yes | Light responsive lens option: Yes | Blue light filtering lens option: Yes | Virtual try-on: Yes | Home try-on: No | HSA/FSA accepted: Yes | Vision insurance accepted: Submit receipt for reimbursement 

Zenni Optical is known for ultra-low cost frames, which range in price from a mere $6.95 to $59.95 with single-focus, basic prescription lenses included. Bi-focals, progressives, filters and coatings all increase prices; adding lenses that change color in sunlight will add about $160 to the cost, while a blue-light filter increases the cost by about $47.

So, if you’re looking for the most basic glasses at the lowest price, Zenni is the place to shop. That said, some of the ultra-cheap frame options fall into the “you get what you pay for” category in terms of quality and durability. When you start adding optional upgrades, the final cost will be similar to what you get elsewhere. 

What we like about Zenni Optical is that shopping for glasses online is easy. You’ll find filter options that allow you to quickly narrow your search for the perfect frames, based on price, style, prescription, color and frame material. You’re guided through lens selection, too. Most of the frames offered have a virtual try-on feature. An additional 10% discount is offered to students, teachers, active military, first responders and medical workers.


Best everyday prescription eyeglasses: Roka

Single-vision prescription: Yes | Bi-focals prescription: Yes | Progressive prescription: Yes | Readers: Yes | Prescription sunglasses: Yes | Light responsive lens option: Yes | Blue light filtering lens option: Yes | Virtual try-on: Yes | Home try-on: No | HSA/FSA accepted: Yes | Vision insurance accepted: Yes  

Roka Barton 2.0 Prescription Eyeglasses

Roka


From the Roka website, shopping for prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses couldn’t be any easier. The company designs and manufacturers its own premium quality frames that are fashionable and durable — and there are dozens of styles, sizes and colors to choose from.

All prescription eyewear comes with polycarbonate lenses, but these can be upgraded to Trivex or high-index lenses. Add convenient extras, like blue-light protection, a lens tint or photochromic lenses. Once you customize your eyewear, simply upload your prescription and within 10 to 14 days, your glasses arrive. Each pair comes with a 1,000 day warranty. But if something isn’t right with the prescription, refunds or exchanges are available.

Roka’s frames are designed in-house and use what the company calls non-siip Geko pads that keeps the frames from slipping around or causing uncomfortable pressure points. The spring hinges are shock-absorbent and never need to be tightened. You also get free anti-scratch, anti-reflection and anti-fog coatings on all lenses.

While any of Roka’s frames can be made into sunglasses or upgraded to offer photochromic lenses, the company also has a line of sunglass frames and performance eyewear for athletes. And if you need help choosing the perfect glasses or sunglasses, the Roka website offers a quick online quiz to help you find the right fit. Plus live chat or phone assistance is readily available.


Best for designer frames: LensCrafters

Tifosi RX

Tifosi RX


Single-vision prescription: Yes | Bi-focals prescription: Yes | Progressive prescription: Yes | Readers: Yes | Prescription sunglasses: Yes | Light responsive Lens option: Yes | Blue light filtering lens option: Yes | Virtual try-on: Yes | Home try-on: No | HSA/FSA accepted: Yes | Vision insurance accepted: Yes 

If you want designer frames from Ray-Ban, Oakley, Versace, Coach, Prada, Brooks Brothers or any of more than a dozen others, the place to shop online is LensCrafters. Yes, this is the same company that’s been operating 1,000+ retail locations since 1983, but you can show shop for designer eyewear with prescription lenses online — and the process is super simple.

LensCrafters is a one-stop online shop for prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, as well as contacts. The website makes it easy to shop for glasses based on brand, style, color or shape. Once you find the frames you love, you can choose from a wide range of lens options. Once your eyeglasses arrive, they come with a 30-day happiness guarantee. For an additional fee, you can upgrade to an protection plan that covers frames and lenses against damage, scratches and other issues for a full year.

Whether you’re shopping for prescription eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses, you’ll find a vast selection of designer frames to choose from, with new options coming in all the time. Some frame and single vision lens combos start as low as $100. You’ll also discover some designer frames on sale for as much as 60% off, with additional discounts offered to AAA and AARP members.


What do I need to order prescription glasses online?

Regardless of where you shop, you’ll need:

  • A current eyeglass prescription (less than one year old) from an optometrist. If you don’t have a copy of your prescription, be prepared to share your optometrist’s contact information.
  • Your pupillary distance (PD) measurement. This something your optometrist can provide, or you can measure it yourself. The Zenni website offers a Custom Dual PD ruler that you can download and print for free.
  • Your vision insurance information.

Types of lenses include single-vision, bifocals (sometimes called multi-focals), or progressives. These lenses can be made from optical glass, CR-39 plastic or polycarbonate. There are several types of polycarbonate lenses that impact their thickness, weight and the level of protection they offer. 

Once you pick a lens type, you’ll typically move on to optional lens coatings or treatments — think scratch resistance, an anti-reflective coating, UV blocking, a blue-light filter, tinting, polarization, or a light-responsive filter. Those options usually affect the cost.


What happens if the glasses don’t fit or the prescription is incorrect?

Virtually all sellers, including those featured in this roundup, offer a 14- or 30-day exchange or return policy. If the frames don’t fit, or you’re not seeing clearly, you can return the glasses for a full refund or have the glasses remade. After the return or exchange period, many of the online sellers will offer at least a six-month to one-year “no scratch” guarantee, which means the company will repair or replace the lenses if they get accidentally scratched. 

In some cases, you can purchase an extended warranty, which will cover any damage to the frames or lenses during a predefined period. These extended warranty plans do not cover the glasses if they’re lost or stolen.


How to choose prescription glasses that fit

Eyeglass frames come in nine popular shapes — rectangular, square, round, aviator, oval, cat-eye, browline, oversized and geometric. From Warby Parker’s website, here’s a basic guide for choosing a frame design based on your face shape. Of course, these are only suggestions. As long as they fit properly, the style and color of eyeglass frames you choose is a matter of personal preference.

  • Round-shaped faces:  Rectangle glasses, square glasses, geometric glasses, cat-eye glasses, browline glasses, or full-rimmed glasses are suggested.
  • Oval-shaped faces: Just about any frame design will look good on someone with an oval-shaped face.
  • Heart-shaped shaped faces: Oval glasses, round glasses, aviator glasses or semi-rimless glasses are suggested.
  • Square-shaped faces: Round glasses, oval glasses, wire glasses, or semi-rimless glasses are suggested.
  • Triangle-shaped faces: Rectangle glasses, browline glasses or cat-eye glasses are suggested.
  • Diamond-shaped faces: Browline glasses, cat-eye glasses, round glasses, oval glasses or semi-rimless glasses are recommended.

Most eyeglass frames come in at least several sizes. If you look on the inner side of a frame’s arm, you’ll see numbers (which are measurements) engraved on it. 

When you see three numbers on the eyeglass frame’s arm, and they’re separated by dashes or spaces, the first number is the lens width, the second is the bridge width and the third is the temple length. If you have existing eyeglass frames that fit well, you can typically use the same measurements for new frames. You can also often take advantage of a company’s virtual try-on or home try-on options.

The average person will need a lens width of between 40mm and 60mm, a bridge width between 14mm and 24mm, and a temple length between 120mm and 150mm. Two other measurements you might need to consider include the frame width and lens height. Ultimately, how the frames feel while being worn and how securely fit on your face are the most important considerations.


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