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This post was most recently updated on October 28th, 2020
There was once a day and age where the only place that you were able to purchase prescription glasses was at your local optical retail location or your local private optometrist office. Today, there are dozens of online optical retailers to choose from, but which place is the cheapest place to buy eyeglasses online?
While there are plenty of different optical retailers online, not all of them have prices that are any different then if you were to just walk into your local optical retail location. Afterall one of the main reasons why you are seeking to purchase your eyeglasses online in the first place is to save money, no?
Cheapest Place To Buy Eyeglasses Online
Down below you will find some the cheapest but reputable online prescription eyeglass retailers out there. With many online retailers offering in-house designed frames, it is definitely worth shopping around to check out what each one has to offer.
Cheapest Place Overall | Zenni Optical
When it comes to cheap inexpensive glasses, Zenni has definitely made themselves a powerhouse in that regard. With glasses starting at a complete pair with lenses with $6.95. There are dozens of frames to choose from within that price range, with the next price range going up to $9,95 which is still very inexpensive.
Zenni Optical has a 30-day no questions asked return policy. They will also replace broken frames within 30 days at no charge. Coatings on lenses with anti-reflective, and photochromic lenses are covered for a year.
DOES ZENNI OPTICAL ACCEPT INSURANCE?
Zenni is an out-of-network provider and does not bill directly with any vision insurance providers. If you have vision insurance you may purchase your glasses from Zenni, and request an invoice to submit to your vision insurance provider for reimbursement.
FSA or HSA cards that are affiliated with Visa or MasterCard may be used on Zenni’s website to purchase prescription glasses just as you would a regular credit card.
Cheapest Place That Accepts Vision Insurance | Warby Parker
Warby Parker is one of my current favorite online optical retailers. They offer this amazing home try-on program where you are able to select 5 frames, and Warby Parker ships these frames to you to try on at home. The best thing about it is that they offer this service at no cost to you! Although they are one of the newer online optical retailers they have caught the industry by storm. They offer a complete pair with anti-reflective coating for $95 and a very reasonable $30 upgrade to 1.67 High-Index lenses.
Warby Parker offers a 30-day no questions asked refund policy. They do not offer a warranty on the frames, however, the lenses are covered from scratches for 12 months.
Warby Parker also reimburses you for any eyeglass adjustments that you get within the first 30 days if the location they go to charges for the adjustment. They will reimburse you up to $50.
DOES WARBY PARKER ACCEPT INSURANCE?
They do! Warby Parker is a provider for many vision insurance providers including Cigna, Humana, Anthem BlueCross, NVA, Aetna, Spectera, EyeMed, VSP, and United Healthcare. You can visit here to select your provider.
If your insurance provider is not listed, you are still able to request an invoice to submit to your insurance provider for reimbursement. Warby Parker also accepts any HSA and FSA cards that are affiliated with Visa or MasterCard.
Cheapest Place for Blue Light Protection | EyeBuyDirect
EyeBuyDirect.com is a longtime online eyeglasses retailer with about 15 years in the industry. They have served over a million customers worldwide since they began. They are my pick for the cheapest place for blue light protection lenses, which start at $24 for their in-house brand lenses. For the complete pair, it comes out to roughly $35, which is actually slightly higher than Zenni Optical’s blue light protection combination. The main difference is that the Zenni lenses are standard plastic lenses, while the EyeBuyDirect pair will be polycarbonate lenses. Therefore EyeBuyDirect offers better value here.
EyeBuyDirect offers a 14-day no questions asked refund policy, along with a 365-day product guarantee that covers any manufacturer defects that you may encounter. During the 365-day period, they will offer you a one-time replacement.
DOES EYEBUYDIRECT ACCEPT INSURANCE?
EyeBuyDirect is an out-of-network provider, which means they do not directly bill with your insurance. However, you may request a copy of your invoice to submit to your vision insurance provider for reimbursement.
If you have an FSA or HSA card that is affiliated with Visa or MasterCard, you are able to use it to purchase your prescription glasses just as you would a regular credit card.
Cheapest Place for Prescription Sunglasses | 39DollarGlasses.com
39DollarGlasses.com is a powerhouse in the online optical retail industry, offering you inexpensive and very affordable eyeglasses. You are able to get prescription sunglasses from here just for an additional $9.95. These are tinted non-polarized sunglass lenses in standard plastic lenses, but if you want the thinner polycarbonate lenses it is still only an additional $19.95.
39DollarGlasses.com offers a 30-days no questions asked full refund (without shipping), and a 90-day full exchange or store credit.
DOES 39DOLLARGLASSES.COM ACCEPT INSURANCE?
39DollarGlasses.com is an out-of-network provider and does not directly bill with your insurance. You may, however, request an invoice to submit to your vision insurance provider for reimbursement.
If you have an FSA or HSA card that is affiliated with Visa or MasterCard you are able to use that to purchase your prescription eyeglasses online just as you would a regular credit card.
Cheapest Place with Designer Frames | SmartBuyGlasses
SmartBuyGlasses has a massive selection of frames for you to pick from. Among these frames are many designer frames from brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, Versace, Burberry, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Vogue, Tom Ford, Spy, Fendi, Armani Exchange, and many more. They are constantly updating their frame styles to go along with fashion trends, and seasons. They offer frames in many ranges of shapes and styles for you to choose from.
This is where SmartBuyGlasses outshine a lot of their competitors. They offer you a 24-month warranty against any manufacturer defects. That is the best warranty you will find out there, along with a 100-day time period for a full refund no questions asked for any reason if you are not happy with your glasses.
DOES SMARTBUYGLASSES ACCEPT INSURANCE?
SmartBuyGlasses is an out-of-network provider and does not directly bill with any vision insurance, however, you are able to request an invoice if you want to submit to your vision insurance for reimbursement.
If you have an HSA or FSA card that is affiliated with Visa or MasterCard, you are able to use them make purchases on SmartBuyGlasses for your prescription glasses just as you would a normal credit card.
Cheapest Place with Glass Lenses | Eyeglasses.com
Eyeglasses.com is another company that has been around in the online optical industry for quite some time. They are all about providing you with the best service as possible when it comes to your prescription glasses. They are also one of the few companies where you are able to purchase glass lenses. Although there aren’t too many people out there that still use glass lenses, glass lenses still offer the best scratch-resistant coat out there on the market today. You can purchase glass lenses here starting at $119.
Eyeglasses.com offers a 30-day no questions asked refund policy. After 30 days, your glasses are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty for any defects.
DOES EYEGLASSES.COM ACCEPT INSURANCE?
Eyeglasses.com is an out-of-network provider, therefore, they do not directly bill with any vision insurance providers. You have to request an invoice from them to submit to your vision insurance provider for reimbursement.
They also do not state on their website if they accept HSA or FSA cards, but there is instruction for you to submit your invoice to your plan administrator for reimbursement.
Cheapest Place for Photochromic Lenses | GlassesUSA
GlassesUSA is another major online optical retailer, that mainly operates and focuses on North America, but they do serve many other countries across the globe. If you are looking for photochromic lenses, GlassesUSA offers in-house photochromic lenses that you could purchase for an additional $59.
GlassesUSA offers a 14-day no questions asked refund policy. The frames themselves come with a 1-year warranty that covers all manufacturer defects. The lenses are covered for 90 days for manufacturer defects.
Alternatively, you are able to purchase an extended warranty that covers accidental damage, as well as prescription changes for an additional $24
DOES GLASSESUSA ACCEPT INSURANCE?
GlassesUSA is an out-of-network provider and they do not directly bill with any vision insurance providers. You are able to request an invoice to turn into your vision insurance provider for reimbursement.
For anyone that has FSA or HSA cards that are affiliated with Visa or MasterCard, you are able to purchase your prescription eyeglasses from GlassesUSA just as you would a normal credit card.
Things To Have Ready Before Ordering Your Glasses Online
If you have already made it this far chances are you are looking to make the leap and purchase your prescription glasses online. There are a few things that you should be somewhat familiar with before you make your purchase. If you are seasoned eyeglass wearer you some of these things may sound familiar but it never hurts to get a refresher.
- Understanding Frame Measurements – This is a big one when it comes to ordering your glasses online. You need to have at least a general idea of what frames fit your head. This is important because you do not want to get a frame that is too small, or alternatively, a frame that is too big doesn’t work well either. You can check here for an illustration and a more in detail explanation on how to understand your frame measurements.
- Pupillary Distance (PD) Measurement – This is another important one, it is good to have this measurement ready or at least understand how to get this measurement. You could either get this measurement from your doctor’s office that did your eye exam or alternatively you could just have someone take the measurement for you. Take a look at the video below from Zenni Optical on how to measure your PD.
- Have Your Prescription – Some of the online optical retailers will ask you to upload a copy of your prescription. There are some that will even call your doctors office to get your prescription for you, that might take some time though so if you want to wait you could do that. Otherwise, you will need to have it ready to send in. Also, make sure your prescription is still current. Glasses prescriptions are usually valid for 2 years unless otherwise noted by the doctor. When you get an eye exam your prescription isn’t the only thing that your eye doctor looks for, there are hidden health concerns that could be discovered so it is recommended to get routine eye exams.
What Kind of Lenses Should You Get?
Although most people are worried about how their frames look when they are shopping for prescription glasses. The lenses are the most important aspect of your eyeglasses after all the lens is what you look through. Depending on which online retailer you decide to make your prescription glasses purchase from they might offer different types of lenses from different makers.
Let’s take a look at all the different lens options that you have when it comes to glasses so you have an idea of what you may need when you are making your purchase.
- Standard Plastic (1.50 Index) – Standard plastic lenses are lightweight lenses that are good for mild prescriptions below +/- 2.00. Although plastic lenses come with a hard scratch-resistant coating, they are still fairly vulnerable to scratches. Plastic lenses are also vulnerable to chipping and cracking as well.
- Polycarbonate (1.57-1.59 Index) – Polycarbonate lenses come in a variety of options and good for prescriptions up to +/- 4.00. You are also able to get aspheric polycarbonate lenses to reduce the thickness and weight of the lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are also impact-resistant, so they will not chip or crack as easily as standard plastic or glass lenses.
- High-Index (1.61-1.74 Index) – High-Index is the thinnest and lightest lenses available on the market today, and good for prescriptions up to +10.00/-20.00. These lenses give you a more durable lens than polycarbonate, along with superior optical clarity. These are recommended for anyone with higher prescriptions to help reduce the thickness of the lenses.
- Anti-Reflective Coating – Anti-Reflective coating helps to reduce glare and reflections on your lenses. This helps more light get through into your eyes making you see better with less surface reflection. You can read about my detailed test of anti-reflective coating here.
- UV Coating – UV coating helps protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays from the sun. Believe it or not, your eyes could get sunburnt. As far as UV coating goes for prescription glasses, you only need to worry about adding it if you purchase standard plastic lenses or glass lenses. Polycarbonate and High-Index lenses come with UV protection built-in.
- Non-Polarized Sunglasses – When it comes to prescription sunglasses one of the options is non-polarized lenses. These are dark tinted lenses with UV coating. These are recommended for people such as pilots who are recommended to not wear polarized sunglasses due to their cockpit instruments emitting polarized light.
- Polarized Sunglasses – Polarized sunglasses work by filtering out horizontal lightwaves. These horizontal light waves reflect off of horizontal flat surfaces such as bodies of water, the ground, or snow. Polarized lenses filter out that glare giving you better visual clarity, and reduces eye fatigue.
- Blue Light Protection – More and more optical retailers online and in-store are offering lenses that protect your eyes from HEV blue light. Recent studies have shown that blue light could cause the retinal molecule to become toxic. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers emit blue light, and with these devices being more a part of our daily lives it is good to protect your eyes from the blue light.
- Photochromic – Photochromic, or commonly known by the brand name Transitions are lenses that are UV sensitive and get dark when you are outside exposed to UV rays. Although there are some lenses now that get semi-dark when you are in the car, keep in mind most photochromic lenses do not get dark while you are driving. Modern cars come with UV protection in your front windshield.
There you have it, some great options to choose from for purchasing your prescription glasses, and all of the common lens options and features that you may encounter while you are purchasing your glasses. All of these retailers offer many in-house made frames that are very inexpensive but are current with the latest trends. The best part about it is that you could purchase your glasses for a fraction of the cost that it would cost you in a retail store or private optometrist office.
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