We explore what the various online outlets for glasses offer and how exactly their services work.
Today, the best and cheapest way to get your glasses is actually directly through your computer. Although you’ll still need to visit an optometrist to get a prescription if you need one, now you can save money and access a wider range of styles by ordering your glasses online. Many of today’s online eyeglass sites have virtual fitting tools that let you see how you look before you even order; others have generous return policies that allow you to spend some time with the frames, decide if you like them, and send them back free of charge if you’re unhappy with the look or fit. This takes a lot of the uncertainty out of online eyeglasses shopping, and helps to ensure you’ll get a pair you’re happy with. Here are the main things to look for when you shop for eyeglasses online.
Comparing the pricing when you buy eyeglasses online can be tricky. Some stores include both frames and prescription lenses in their pricing, but others price frames and lenses separately.
Finding the lowest price also depends on what you want to buy. For example, if you’re just looking for basic low-cost frames with single-vision lenses and not extras like special tinting or coatings, you could be looking at paying as little as $6.95 from Zenni Optical.
But, for that price, you’ll be getting very simple lenses and basic frames. It’s perfect if you’re worried about losing or breaking your glasses or want a spare pair to take on a trip, but if you want a range of designer styles you’ll be paying higher prices. Still, we’re not talking anything like what you’d pay in the store.
One more question to consider when you compare pricing at different online eyeglass stores is whether or not your insurance is accepted. Glasses.com stands out for accepting plans from most providers and working with many local optometrists. Although the initial price of eyeglasses might be higher, once you factor in your insurance benefits you could find that you get cheaper glasses than anywhere else.
When you shop for glasses online, you want to be able to order more than just reading glasses. Progressive lenses, bifocals, and multi-focals are available from most outlets, such as Eyeglasses.com. Most online eyeglass stores sell sunglasses, but stores like Glasses.com and Oakley also sell ski goggles and safety glasses and goggles with prescription lenses.
When you buy online, you should also check out what special tinting and coatings you can have added to your glasses. Blue, red and brown tinting, photo chromatic lenses, and ultra-violet protective coatings are among those on offer from e-retailers like Zenni Optical, and Felix Gray. Glasses.com includes several add-ons like scratch-resistance and anti-reflective lenses.
Those who spend lots of time staring at a computer may want to consider lenses that combat digital eye strain. Felix Gray’s blue-light filtering glasses harness special lens technology to reduce screen-induced headaches and eye strain. Despite their practical use, these lenses come in trendy, modern frames that don’t compromise on style.
It almost goes without saying that any online glasses shop offers sunglasses as well as prescription lenses.
The biggest concern when buying glasses online is wondering what they’ll look like if you can’t try them on. Well, online eyeglass stores have come up with two different solutions to this problem. Most stores now offer virtual try-on. This means that you can upload a photo of yourself and then click on the page to see what you’d look like wearing the frames you’re considering. Eyeconic and Lensabl both take this approach.
The other approach is to let you order frames to try on at home for free. That's just how Liingo works. It allows you to choose up to 5 pairs of frames to wear at home for 5 days. You can ask your friends’ opinions and see how they feel on your face before choosing the pair you like best or sending them all back and trying different ones. There’s no charge for either shipping or returns.
Eyeglasses.com and FelixGray actually use a little bit of both solutions. Both sites offer virtual try-on, but then once you receive your glasses you have 30 days to try them on at home and send them back for free, so that you can be sure that you really like them.
Shipping is one cost that you don’t have to pay when you get your eyeglasses in-store. In some cases, shipping costs almost as much as the glasses do. But then again, many online eyeglass stores like Glasses.com solve this issue by offering free shipping.
Shipping times are also a concern, although you’d usually need to wait a couple of days before your glasses are ready when you order in a brick-and-mortar store, as well. You can usually pay more for expedited shipping to get your glasses as soon as the next working day.
When you buy eyeglasses online, you want to know that it’s easy to return them if you don’t like them when you get the real thing. Both Liingo and Glasses.com offer free shipping and 60 days to return your purchase if you don’t totally love it. Eyeconic has a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee for their glasses.
One last advantage to buying eyeglasses online is that you can choose from a far greater range of styles than your local optometrist carries. Both Eyeglasses.com and Glasses.com are great sources of high fashion eyeglasses for men and particularly for women. The sites have hundreds of designer and non-designer styles for both adults and children.
Buying eyeglasses online gives you access to more styles, a bigger range of extras like coatings and tinting, and most of all, lower prices for your eyewear. With many online eyeglasses stores offering free shipping and returns with no strings attached, you really have nothing to lose by giving it a try.