Buying glasses online has changed all that. Now, you can simply enter your prescription details and browse hundreds or even thousands of frame options to suit your style. Once you decide on a pair, they’re shipped straight to your door.
Still, not every online glasses site is the same. If you’re thinking about buying eyeglasses online, here are 10 things to look for when choosing an online glasses site.
1. Frame Selection
The first thing to look for is whether an online glasses site has a wide selection of frames to choose from. Some sites might have just a handful of custom frames made in-house, while others will feature hundreds of different frames from a wide variety of brands. In general, the wider the selection, the better your chances of finding a pair of eyeglasses you love.
In addition, look for tools to help you filter through options. Having a choice of hundreds of frames is great, but only if you can quickly home in on the subset of glasses that actually appeal to you.
2. Price Range
One of the advantages of buying glasses online is that they’re often cheaper than at a traditional store. Still, be sure to check the price range of the site you’re exploring. Some online glasses sites have frames that start at under $10, while other sites’ cheapest frames are over $100.
Keep in mind that the prices you see might be just the prices of the frames and won’t include lenses. If this is the case, make sure to check how much extra the lenses will cost.
3. Virtual Try-ons
The whole point of sifting through eyeglasses is to find a pair that looks good on you. So, it’s a good idea to choose an online glasses site that allows you to see how the inventory looks on you.
Thankfully, most online eyeglass sellers offer virtual try-ons. Just activate your webcam, and your chosen glasses will be projected onto the screen over your face. You won’t get a feel for the frames like you might in-store, but these virtual visualization tools are just as good as looking in the mirror.
4. Types of Vision Issues Covered
Another important thing to check is what type of vision issues a glasses site will work with. If you have a mild case of nearsightedness or farsightedness, this might not be an issue. But if you have astigmatism, for example, you’ll need specialized lenses that not every online seller offers.
The same is true if you need multifocal, progressive, or high-index lenses. Many glasses sites can craft these lenses upon request, but that’s not always the case. So, it’s a good idea to check before you spend time looking for frames.
5. Add-on Lens Options
Many sites also offer add-on options for your lenses that can make your glasses more versatile. For example, you may be able to request lenses that are coated with a blue light filter or a protective UV filter. Other options include scratch-resistant coatings, anti-reflective coatings, and oleophobic coatings that make your lenses more resistant to fingerprints.
If you’re interested in any of these add-on coatings, see how much they cost. Some glasses sites add a scratch-resistant coating and a UV filter to every lens for free, while others charge for them.
If you wear your eyeglasses frequently, you’re likely to put them to hard use. So, make sure that you choose a company that’s known for making durable frames and lenses.
One important thing to consider, too, is whether the frame and lenses come with a warranty. Look carefully at what types of damages are covered under the warranty and how long the policy covers your eyeglasses.
7. Vision Insurance
If you have vision insurance or another vision benefit, you’ll want to make sure from the get-go that a glasses site accepts it. Most online glasses sites won’t bill your insurance, so you have to pay upfront and then submit a claim for reimbursement.
The catch is that some glasses sites will be in-network for your insurance provider and some will be out-of-network. If you’re not sure whether you can be reimbursed for a purchase at a particular site, contact the customer service team or your insurance provider.
8. Sizing Help
Sizing eyeglasses can be tricky, especially when you’re purchasing online. Different sites go about helping you figure out what size you need in different ways.
For example, some ask you to measure the distance between your eyes or the distance from your eyes to your ears. Others do this automatically by having you hold a credit card to your forehead while your camera grabs a photo.
Any of these sizing methods work well. The key thing is that your chosen retailer helps you figure out what measurements you need instead of leaving you to figure it out yourself.
9. Shipping Options
Most online glasses sites will ship anywhere in the continental US. Still, it’s a good idea to check how much shipping will cost, whether the costs depend on where you live, and how long it will take to receive your glasses.
Some glasses sites offer free or reduced-cost shipping if your order total is over a certain amount. When you look at pricing, think about whether your order is likely to clear this bar.
10. Return Policy
While the goal is to get a pair of eyeglasses you love, it’s important to have the option to return a pair that doesn’t work out. Check whether a site offers a return policy and how long you have after receiving your glasses to send them back.
In addition, check if you get a full refund when you return your glasses or just store credit. You should also look at whether you’re responsible for paying return shipping or the shop covers this cost.