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This post was most recently updated on November 7th, 2019
For the longest time growing up, I had no idea that prescription sunglasses existed. I always just thought that I was just an unlucky person that was never going to be able to wear sunglasses until my parents let me wear contact lenses, or resort to those big sunglasses that fit over your prescription glasses.
Little did I know that you were able to get your prescription in sunglass lenses. My prescription sunglasses became a lifesaver on those early morning drives to school where the sun just rising and coming right through your front windshield and blinding you. I always purchased my prescription sunglasses with polarized prescription lenses to get the best protection from the glare reflecting off of flat surfaces, but you don’t have to get your prescription sunglass lenses polarized though, the non-polarized lenses work just fine and still give you 100% UV protection if you are on a budget.
Prescription sunglass lenses are available in basically any type of lenses that you need including bifocals and progressive lenses. You can even find Trifocal sunglass lenses available if you need them.
The main issue that I had with purchasing prescription sunglasses was the cost of them at my doctors’ office, and that is the cost of them on top of the regular clear glasses I already get. I didn’t want to pay another couple of hundred dollars for my prescription sunglasses because after all they were primarily going to be used only whenever I was driving, or spending an extended period of time outdoors. Since I was on a budget I decided to take a look at the internet to see if I could find cheap prescription sunglasses online
Cheap Prescription Sunglasses Online
With the internet there was definitely no shortage of options for me to look through, I took a look at some of the most reputable retailers online to see what each one had to offer when it came to prescription sunglasses.
Ultimately which retailer you will end up going with will depend on which frame you are going to end up wanting. Not every retailer carries designer brands, and many retailers carry in-house designed frames that are unique to just them. Therefore unless you know exactly which sunglass frames you want already, you might have to shop around. Below you will find some of the retailers that I went through, and what they each had to offer for prescription sunglass lenses.
SmartBuyGlasses is one of my favorite online retailers to buy designer eyewear from. They have a huge selection of authentic designer eyewear for you to choose from. I like what SmartBuyGlasses has to offer when it comes to prescription sunglasses. If you purchase a pair of frames you can get free color matched prescription lenses with those frames. Granted those lenses aren’t polarized and they’re standard plastic, but they’re are free.
If you need polarized lenses, they do have those available and you can upgrade to them for $148. That along with SmartBuyGlasses 24-month warranty from manufacturers’ defects and you have yourself a great deal. The warranty from SmartBuyGlasses is great for sunglasses because, in my experience, coatings on sunglass lenses have a tendency to start peeling especially if you use them a lot.
Coastal is another longtime online eyewear retailer that I like and is great to find prescription sunglasses at. Coastal carries a nice selection of in-house as well as designer eyewear for you to pick from. As far as prescription sunglasses, if you decide to go with non-polarized lenses it would cost you $50 for your lenses, if you want polarized lenses it will cost $85 if you want standard lenses and $130 if you want thinner lenses.
Coastal offers a 1-year warranty for any manufacturing defects on the frames, lenses, and coatings.
You can’t think about cheap prescription eyewear online without at least giving Zenni Optical a look. Zenni does not carry any designer eyewear however, they have a very large selection of in-house designed frames for you to select from. As far as their sunglass lenses go if you want to get lenses that are non-polarized with only a tint, it will only cost you $4.95. If you want polarized polycarbonate lenses those run about $72.
The one thing I love about Zenni is the value that they can provide you, but the one thing I don’t like is that they only offer you a 30-day warranty for your glasses and anything over 30 days you have to repurchase.
EyeBuyDirect is another one of those websites that at least deserves a look peek at least to see what they have to offer. Generally, you can usually find a great deal on frames as well as lenses at EyeBuyDirect. They do not carry any designer brands but they design and manufacture all of their frames in-house. As far as the lenses go you can get non-polarized tinted lenses at EyeBuyDirect for Free, and polarized lenses can be purchased for $30.
EyeBuyDirect offers a reasonable 1-year product guarantee on their glasses, which gives you a one-time replacement pair within that year. This only covers manufacturing defects and does not cover damage that is a result of accidents or improper care.
GlassesUSA is another online retailer that I like to take a look at. With all of these retailers that carry in-house designed frames, it is always good to take a look because you never know where you will find a frame that you might like. Just like the previous two retailers GlassesUSA only carries in-house designed frames and does not carry any designer eyewear. They have a new neat home try-on program in which you can pick 2 frames can they will put your prescription in it for you to try for 14-days. You only pay if you decide to keep the glasses. For sunglasses if you decide to go with non-polarized lenses you can get them for $59, if you want to go with polarized lenses then it is an additional $89 so that makes it $148 for polarized lenses.
GlassesUSA offers a 1-year warranty on their frames that covers any manufacturer defects and a 90-day warranty for the lenses. They do offer an extended warranty that you can purchase to add an additional year of coverage which covers prescription changes as well as accidental damage.
Warby Parker has to be one of my favorite online retailers out there right now. When they came onto the scene they disrupted the market with their home try-on program allowing people to try on frames before making their purchase, solving a huge problem in buying glasses online and many other retailers have followed in their footsteps also offering in-home try-on programs. Their frames are made of high-quality plastics and do not feel cheap. You can read my full review on Warby Parker’s home try-on program here. If you are looking for prescription sunglasses with Warby Parker they only have one option which is a polarized polycarbonate sunglass lenses which you can get for an additional $80, which brings the total with frames to $175 which isn’t a bad deal since the price of the frame is included in it. They do not offer a non-polarized option.
Warby Parker offers a 1-year warranty on their frames and lenses. It covers any manufacturing defects for the frames and scratches on the lenses.
I recently discovered Liingo Eyewear and while they are a fairly new online retailer they are definitely a reputable one as their parent company is 1800Contacts. They also have an in-home try-on program but they actually send you the glasses with your prescription in them so you can get the full effect of trying out your glasses. They don’t exactly have the biggest selection when it comes to prescription sunglasses but they do have some. Their prescription sunglasses come in one option with polycarbonate polarized lenses including the frame for a simple price of $179, kind of similar to how Warby Parker’s pricing is.
Liingo offers a 60-day guarantee on your eyewear regardless of whatever happens to them. If you scratch them or your dog chews on them they will replace it within the 60 days for free.
Polarized vs Non-Polarized Sunglasses
People often ask me what the difference is between polarized and non-polarized sunglass lenses. Often times mainly to avoid the price difference that you pay for the upgrade for polarized lenses, but cost aside polarized lenses can have many benefits.
Whenever lightwaves get through our atmosphere they can either be absorbed, scattered, or reflected. Some of these light waves reflect in vertical directions and other lightwaves reflect in a horizontal direction. Horizontal lightwaves are the ones that reflect off of flat horizontal surfaces such as large bodies of water, the ground, the hood of cars, even sand. Horizontally reflected light produces a harsh and strong glare that could potentially obscure your vision and be very dangerous.
Polarized lenses work by filtering out all of the horizontally reflected light, and effectively reducing the harsh glare. Lenses that are non-polarized and only tinted with a UV coating gives you the protection from the UV, and the tinted lens makes dealing with the glare more comfortable but they do not block out the glare. So you still have to deal with the glare, even if it is not as intense.
If you are still confused about polarized lenses check out this video from FOX9 explaining how polarized lenses work.
With the reduction in glare the polarized lenses will provide you with reduced eyestrain, and better clarity giving you clearer and sharper vision. They are also great for anyone who likes to enjoy boating or fishing since the polarization removes the glare from the surface of the water, allowing you to see under the surface.
Most of the time whenever I am helping someone out with a pair of prescription sunglasses I recommend them to go with polarized lenses, with the exception of anyone that works with anything that emits polarized light such as LCD screens. Individuals such as pilots are not recommended to wear polarized sunglasses as the polarization can make it difficult for pilots to read their instrument panels.
Having a pair of prescription sunglasses can be very beneficial. If you are like me and hate carrying around multiple pairs of glasses then you can always just leave your prescription sunglasses in the car. (NOTE: If you live somewhere where your car will be exposed to extreme temperatures such as heat or cold then I definitely don’t recommend keeping your prescription sunglasses in the car as extreme temperatures can damage your lenses.) I always find that if I am out somewhere that I will need my sunglasses, they are already ready in the car for me to take along with me.
Where do you currently purchase your prescription sunglasses? I would love to hear from you, drop a comment below! As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave it below and I will get back to you.