9 Reasons to Buy Your Glasses Online — and How to Get a Pair for $38
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
On a typical day, you’ll find me working from my couch wearing sweats and glasses with my 10-year-old Labrador retriever Franklin at my side.
When I got my first pair of glasses in 10th grade, I hated them — but I’ve actually grown to love them.
Glasses are way cooler now than when I was a kid. And over the years, I’ve picked up quite a few pairs so I can switch them out depending on my mood.
Because I’m all about being creative with my budget, buying glasses the old way doesn’t quite do it for me. And by “old way,” I mean going to an optometrist and spending a ton of money on pricy prescription frames.
So, to save money, I buy glasses online.
I can get way more bang for my buck and get glasses of equal or better quality. But saving money isn’t the only reason I prefer shopping for glasses online.
Let me tell you why.
1. Wider Selection
Brick-and-mortar stores have limited floor space and can only display so many frames.
This explains why stores try to showcase as many high-priced designer glasses as possible; those frames make more money. Depending on the store’s vendor relationships, it might offer only specific brands, further limiting its selection.
When you pick from a selection someone else curated, you don’t see other frames that might be more your style. But when you shop online, you can from a large range of styles, brands and frames.
If you have a style in mind — say classic tortoiseshell glasses — you might find two or three pairs in the store. Search for the same type of frames online, and you’ll find a wider selection.
I must have 10 different pairs by now. Here's one of my favorite pairs.
2. Clear Vision While Shopping
If you already wear glasses, trying on glasses in the store can be a bit tricky.
You’ve got to take them off to try on frames, so… you can’t really see what the new frames look like on your face. If you have got a strong prescription, it’s nearly impossible to get a good look at the glasses on display, much less what they look like on you.
To make matters worse, you’ll often shop for glasses right after having your eye exam, and your eyes might be dilated — making your vision even blurrier and your eyes more sensitive to light. Not ideal for any kind of shopping.
At home, you can wear your glasses while you shop for new glasses. When you want to get a good look at something, 20/20 vision sure works wonders.
3. No Pressure
The in-store experience can create anxiety and pressure.
Optometrists usually have small storefronts with just one or two salespeople on duty.
All eyes are on you as you shop. And once you’ve taken the time to try on a bunch of frames, the pressure’s on to make a purchase — even if you haven’t found something you like.
Plus, you don’t want to be that annoying guy who tries on every single frame in the place. But why shouldn’t you?
These things are going on your face. You may wear them every single day for a long time. You want to be certain you’ve made the right decision.
Shop online, and you can take as long as you need to find that perfect pair. Hours if you like — days even.
Buy when you feel ready — not because other customers are waiting and the salespeople are getting impatient because you haven’t made a decision.
4. No Sales Pitch
Optometrists don’t make money on your eye exam.
They make money selling frames and have important partners in crime. They hire expert salespeople to help you shop immediately after your exam.
So if the person helping you doesn’t understand your style or has different opinions about what looks good on you, it can be an awkward conversation.
You might feel pressured into buying glasses that aren't totally “you.”
If you already know what types of frames you like — for example, designer, retro or rimless — then it’s easy to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for online.
If you’re new to this whole “shopping for glasses” thing, you can narrow your selection by frame features, measurements or even by your personality.
5. Virtual Try-Ons
Worried about not being able to try on potential new frames?
After all, you want to see what each pair will look like on you, not a model.
Get this. Some sites offer virtual try-ons. Just upload a photo of yourself and you can see how the frames fit your face and style.
Trying to decide between a few different frames? Take a couple of screenshots and send them to friends or family who'll give you an honest opinion about what looks best.
Here's one of me playing around on GlassesUSA.
6. No Sticker Shock
Ever notice it’s often hard to find frame prices in the store? Sometimes they have no price tags at all.
This isn’t by accident.
The store hopes you’ll fall in love with a pair of frames, and by then it’s too late. Once you hear the price — even if it’s way over your budget — they’ve got you hooked, sell you a pair of pricy frames and you max out your credit card.
Prices are clearly marked online, so you know exactly how much each frames cost up front.
This pair costs less than $50…
7. Efficient Shopping
The in-store experience often goes something like this:
Go to store. Try on a bunch of frames. Make a selection. Order frames. Leave store and wait for a couple weeks until they’re ready. Go back to store to pick up frames. After wearing glasses for a few days, realize your glasses are too tight and have been giving you headaches. Go back to store to get frames adjusted.
It can be a huge hassle requiring multiple trips.
Cut out all that back-and-forth by ordering frames online. Shop from your couch and get them shipped straight to your door. It doesn’t get much easier or more convenient.
8. Generous Return Policies
Ever tried returning a pair of prescription glasses you bought from your optometrist's office?
Yeah, right. It’s usually out of the question.
That’s not the case with most online retailers. Many accept returns and exchanges within a certain window of time.
Some even send along a free return shipping label and offer a no-questions-asked return policy if you’re unhappy with your glasses for any reason.
9. Lower Prices
When you buy a pair of frames in the store, you’re also paying for lens-crafting and customizing.
The total price can run anywhere between $200 to $800.
But in most cases, when you purchase online, basic single-vision lenses are included in the price you see. That alone can help you save up to 70% on the total cost of the glasses.
There's also a visibly marked clearance section. For example, GlassesUSA's clearance selection starts at $38.
Can’t decide between a handful of frames that you like? Why not pick up a few pairs and mix things up a little? Instead of spending an arm and a leg for a pair of glasses from the store, spend even less on a few pairs.