If you wear glasses and you’re still trudging down to Lenscrafters every year to pick out frames and get your wallet picked, then it’s time you learned about buying cheap glasses on the internet. Online eyeglasses retailers offer a wide variety of frames, including designer frames, at astoundingly low prices. You can get the same lens materials and coatings that you get from the bricks-and-mortar optical shop. Best of all, you can make your choices without the pressure of an optician breathing down your neck and hoping to line his pocket.
And you’ll end up with a quality pair of eyeglasses that you love, for as little as 10 percent of what you’d pay your local optician.
Anyone who requires corrective lenses knows that buying eyeglasses isn’t all that different from buying a car. You approach the optical shop feeling in charge and knowing exactly what you want. Minutes after walking in the door, you are surrounded by a dizzying array of frames, with no idea how to start choosing the “right one.” Meekly, you lay yourself at the mercy of a salesperson, who suggests a series of progressively more expensive frames, all of which make you look like a drugged-out schoolmarm. Finally, you pick the ones that make you look the least ugly, sighing with relief when you’re told that they are on sale this week for 99.00. But the hard-core sales job is yet to come. The salesperson tells you that you absolutely must have lenses made from the thinnest, highest-index plastic with a variety of coatings that will prevent your lenses from scratching, glaring, and zapping your retinas with UV radiation. If you are strong, you manage to resist the salesperson’s powerful urging that you get just the slightest tint in your lenses. But, even if you do, you find yourself looking at a bill for several hundreds of dollars and reluctantly handing over your credit card, thinking “how did this happen?”
You may think that is what glasses cost, it’s necessary to shell out the big bucks, and you shouldn’t try to economize when it comes to your eyesight. But that’s not the case–that isn’t what glasses cost. The mark-up on frames and lenses in chain optical shops and optical boutiques is often several hundred times of the actual cost of the materials. When you buy a pair of eyeglasses at Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision, you’re also paying for overhead, salaries, and an obscene profit for certain players in the optical industry. But you don’t have to buy a pair of $500 glasses that you really don’t like. You will find a wide variety of great eyeglasses frames, of all styles and materials, on the web sites of online retailers. Wait, you say– something that cheap can’t be high quality. But that’s not true either– Online glasses retailers offer frames that are as stylish, and lenses that are of the same quality, as you’ll find at the local optical shop. And all you really need is a prescription, a ruler, an internet connection, and a credit card.
Things You’ll Need:
an eyeglasses prescription
a ruler that measures in millimeters
a credit card, debit card, or paypal account
a digital photograph of yourself, preferably a head shot (optional)
1 First, you will need an eyeglasses prescription. If you don’t have a recent one lying around, get one from your eye doctor the next time you go in for your regular eye exam.
2 You’ll need to figure out your pupillary distance, the distance between the mid-point of one pupil to the mid-point of the other. The pupillary distance is almost always measured in millimeters, and, for most adults, generally lies within the range of 54mm to 68mm. The measurement is usually not included on the written prescription that you get at the doctor’s office. However, your eye doctor can measure it for you, or you can measure it yourself by standing in front of a mirror and holding a ruler up to your eyes to measure the distance between the centerpoints of your pupils.
3 Take a look at some of the eyeglasses retailers on the web that have earned good reputations among their customers. These include EyeBuyDirect, 39DollarGlasses, and Goggles 4 U. Browse the inventory to find eyeglass frames that you like and that you think would look good with your coloring and face shape.
4 Many of the internet glasses retailers have applications that allow you to “try on” glasses online. Generally they work like this: If you have a digital head shot of yourself, upload it. Click on the frames that you’ve chosen as your favorites and place them on your own image, making adjustments in placement and zoom level as required.
5 Choose your frames. Make decisions about lens material–glass, standard index plastic, high-index plastic–and coatings–anti-scratch, anti-glare, and anti-UV. Copy your prescription into the boxes indicated on the check-out form.
6 Pay and await your brand new glasses. Shipping times vary with retailers. Generally, you can expect to receive your glasses within one or two weeks if your retailer is located within the United States. However, some retailers are located abroad, particularly in Hong Kong, and shipping time from outside the United States may be considerably longer.
Tips & Warnings
The top sellers of cheap internet eyeglasses include Cheap Glasses 123, EyeBuyDirect, Optical4Less, Global Eye Glasses, Zenni Optical, and Coastal Contacts. You will likely find many others if you run a Google search on “cheap online eyeglasses” or “eyeglasses on the internet.” Each online eyeglasses retailer has its strengths and weaknesses. Explore and do a little research to see what’s out there before settling on an eyeglasses seller and a particular frame.
If you find it too difficult to measure your pupillary distance in front of the mirror, then have a friend do it for you..Remember, if you get an eye exam at an outlet that also sells eyeglasses frames, you are NOT obligated to buy your glasses there. But they ARE obligated to give you a copy of your eyeglasses prescription. Don’t let them try to convince you otherwise.
To pick the eyeglasses frames that look the best on you, keep in mind your face shape and your coloring. Generally, people with square faces look best in oval or rounded frames, people with round frames look best in rectangular or angled frames, and people with oval faces look good in almost any frame shape. People with dark, gray, or platinum blond hair and “cool” skin tones generally look best in frames that are silver, black, blue, or darker shades of pink, green, and gray. People with golden-hued hair and “warm” skin tones generally look best in frames that are gold, copper, brown, tan, bronze, orange, or coral.
It’s also important to determine what size eyeglasses frame looks best on your face. In most cases, people with smaller faces and smaller features look better in smaller frames, and people with larger faces and larger features look better in larger frames. Most online eyeglasses sites give detailed measurements of the dimensions of the frames that they sell. If you have an old pair of glasses, you can measure it with a ruler (a ruler that includes millimeters is best) and compare it to the measurements of the frames that you select on the web.
Just as with any other kind of retail outlet, some internet glasses sellers are better than others. Before choosing an online eyeglasses site from which to purchase your new pair, check out reviews on blogs like Cheap Glasses at http://www.cheapglasses123.com/blog/, which also includes news about sales and discounts and a user forum.
Remember that eyeglasses prescriptions generally expire within a year. If you have a written prescription that is older than that, you will need to get a new eyeglasses exam.
If you wear contact lenses, it’s not necessarily advisable to use that prescription for your eyeglasses. The contact lens prescription will be close enough that you should be able to see fine, but, for a variety of reasons, there is usually at least a slight difference between the eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions for the same individual. All in all, it’s better to get an up-to-date prescription from your eye doctor..