Have you ever bought glasses online?

Alternet has an interesting article about what a ripoff the brick & mortar eyeglass sellers are and how online vendors are coming onto the scene.

I’ve known about online glasses for a while but have always been nervous about picking out frames from a web site without trying them on. And I’m not shy about trying something on in a store and then getting it cheaper online, but I’ve never been able to find a glasses-store frame from an online dealer (probably because of exclusivity of “designer” labels).

Have any of you ever bought a pair of glasses online without knowing how the frame would look on you? If so, any tips?

I have. For some reason, the regular, clear prescription lenses haven’t been quite right, but the sunglasses have been perfect. I’ve had the best luck with one of the cheaper sites, Zenni Optical, but you can find reviews and coupons for many more shops than that at the Glassy Eyes blog, which I believe is one of the foremost authorities on discount eyewear.

Some of the snazzier sites let you upload a photo of yourself to use with their virtual eyeglass modeling thingy, so you can at least get some sense of how they’d look on you. But the main thing, I think, is that if you can find a provider you’re satisfied with, the cost is cheap enough that you can order several frames and switch them to suit your mood.

I’ve bought a number of pairs from Zenni. Pleased with the results. First pair I bought was a botch, but they’re cheap enough that I was able to learn and order more pairs and still feel good about the whole thing.

One thing you need to know that may not be on your prescription is pupillary distance. But you should be able to ask your eye doc to measure and write this down next time you get an exam.

BTW, I’m not 100% convinced that the overall “feel” (how well I can see out of them) of these glasses (I think I’m wearing Zenni now) is as good as the expensive ones I got at the shop attached to my eye doc. Hard to say…

I have bought 4 pairs from Zenni after seeing recommendations here in another thread. All 4 of those put together were cheaper than my last pair of glasses from my eye doctor’s affiliated store. Overall, I have been quite pleased with them, but you should definitely get your pupilary distance from you doctor, as their instructions for measuring it yourself are imprecise at best. The first pair I got (I bought 1, then 3 later on) was a little weird because my PD was off slightly.

Yes, I use zenni optical also. They’re fine glasses, but not up to the $500+ standard, obviously.

Jerri, I buy almost all my designer frames through the internet discounter http://mbstores.com. The frames come with a blank clear lens, and a guide for your optometrist to drill and cut your real lens to fit the frames. They are mostly older or discontinued lines, but that just means you get them for much cheaper.

I bought an inexpensive pair a few years back as “backup” to my contacts. They’ve worked out reasonably well, though they ended up not being as inexpensive as was advertised, supposedly due to power of the lenses I needed. There are only two issues. The first is that you need to tell them what the distance between the pupils of your eyes is so they can center the lenses correctly. Second, at least in my case, is that I had to do some bending (metal frames) to make them actually sit straight on my face. Those are both the kinds of things that get taken care of in the retail location when you buy glasses there.

That all said, Walmart sells glasses pretty cheap and have some sort of replacement warranty included with theirs now, so I might go that route the next time I need a pair.

Jerri, just go to brick and mortar stores, try on all their glasses, write down the make and model of the ones you like, and get it online. My wife saved more than a hundred dollars that way.

We have very limited eye insurance that pays for 1/2 the exam, and the first $50 of the glasses frame. Will insurance still work for on-line stuff? We’ve always gone to RX Optical and they did that for us. I’m very disappointed with the quality of stuff from them. I’ve had 2 pair over the years where the cuts of the glasses didn’t match up quite right with the shape and holes of the rims. Also they fall apart (one lens falls out). The staff is nice, but always say “that’s as close to a fit as you can expect”.
My current glasses are black metal and the paint is peeling off and it seems like there’s a permanent smudge in the lens. We’ve been going to RX Optical for 15 years and I don’t want to go back, despite the fact the people are nice.


Just thought I’d check and see if anyone here has used Warby Parker. They seem to mostly have vintage/hipster-type designs, but $95 for frames + lenses is a really damn good deal.

I’m a terrible sunglasses snob, you really should learn your measurements as if you were buying a shirt online. Get the total width, lens/frame width, height at the bottom and top, and distance between the lenses, plus stem length. You’ll find a range that fits you, then you can shop by color and features rather than sweating fit and general “works with my head shape.”


I used to work with Ira. I guess his blog is popular enough that I don’t need to link it in this thread.

I’ve bought glasses online, and I’ve bought my kid prescription sunglasses online. People are right - PD is extremely important and you really don’t want to get it wrong.

If you’re a CostCo memeber, they’ll take measurements, adjust glasses, etc, even if the glasses weren’t bought there.

Arise, thread!

So I got my latest eye exam, and despite being fully functional (well, functional) without glasses for the past few years, my eyesight is around 20/100, and the optometrist suggests I really should get glasses.

However, the optometrist informs me that it is important that, as I spend a large amount of time on the computer, I get anti-reflection lenses.

Where can I get some reasonably-priced glasses? My insurance doesn’t seem to cover them at all, and the internet places I’ve looked at will put me out at least a hundred dollars, which is, oh, half the price of getting a pair at the Hour Eyes.

I bought 3 pairs from them and while it takes a while to get the glasses they are perfect and cheap.

For the past 4 years I (and my wife and daughter) have exclusively used 39dollarglasses.com.

I have never had an issue with the quality and the I have to say I am really impressed with the lenses they use and I have crappy vision. They have all the options and extras (and it may add a bit to the base price).

One fun thing is that if you buy a regular pair, you will get an offer a check out to get the same pair as sunglasses and free shipping. I always do that. I found this place after a 300.00 bill at LensCrafters convinced me that I needed some sort of special bs…

20/100 sounds pretty bad.

I had my first eye test in years recently just to get a new prescription since my old glasses were falling apart. With my prescription I got myself a pair of glasses off of Zenni. Total bill came to $14 and the glasses are awesome. They’re a little cheaper than my old glasses, more plastic than metal, but they cost literally a tenth the price of the old glasses and look smart as hell.

I’m thinking I might go back to Zenni to see if I can’t find some glasses with fitted sunglasses for use this summer, since I haven’t really bothered with sunglasses in years.

The awesome thing awesome thing about zenni is that you can tint the lenses in any fram you want to make them sunglasses. Totally awesome.

Hmmm…I might need to look at Zenni now.