How To Buy Cheap Eyeglasses Online

by Millie Kay G. on 2011-07-1517

Since I’ve hit the point where I would either need longer arms or glasses to read small print, I’m just about ready to visit the optometrist. However, having paid hundreds for glasses for my family, I’d rather find something less expensive than what you’d typically pick up at the specialty clinics. Have you checked their inventory lately? Every time I replace my eyeglasses or pick up eye wear for someone in the family, it’s always a mild shock to see just how costly they can be for something so seemingly small. Well, there is one avenue you can take to soften the pain of buying spectacles. So I opted to investigate online stores that supplied cheaper eyeglasses. There are a variety of resources available, with frames that can range from practical to stylish.

You may be swayed to check out a few TV commercials for inexpensive eye exams. But sometimes, those commercials mention that frames are available at a good price. Unfortunately, the family members I’ve accompanied to these places always seem to bypass the advertised frames for pricey designer frames. There can be a little bait and switch that goes on with these commercials, so rather than feel pressured to buy a pair of glasses on the spot, I’ve decided to inspect some choices elsewhere, where it’s a little easier to manage the shopping process.

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Tips For Shopping For Eyeglasses Online

So what’s the online shopping experience like when you’re looking for eyeglasses? Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you go this route.

1. Have your prescription ready and confirm your measurements.
When you’ve entered your prescription for your order, it’s crucial that you double check the numbers you’ve selected. For example, I’ve learned that there’s a difference between entering a positive and a negative number — and one wrong entry can result in imperfect glasses. In addition to the prescription, it’s important to know your pupillary distance (PD). This is the distance between your pupils which you’ll need to measure in millimeters; it’s best if you can get this measurement during your eye exam. The vendor you pick may have a detailed tutorial for taking your own measurement. And if you already have glasses, it’s useful to have them around to help you select your frames.

2. Go over the eyeglass retailer’s return policy.
Before you complete your order, you should go over the return policy. This way, you’ll know about restocking fees and what isn’t covered by the return policy ahead of time. It doesn’t hurt to check out reviews and news of your prospective vendor, either. It’s pretty important to check out the reputation of online merchants given that there are many unscrupulous ones that troll the web and victimize customers. Back in 2010, the New York Times shared the story of one online eyeglasses seller who generated a lot of complaints. You may remember them — it was the site called DecorMyEyes. We wrote about them here.

Where To Get Eyeglasses & Frames For Low Prices

So allow us to present a few reputable sites where you can buy cheap eyeglasses. We’ve talked about how you can actually save money on eyeglasses by shopping at Costco, even if you don’t have a Costco membership! But you can compare merchandise by checking out these other resources as well. The following retailers often feature sales and discounts quite prominently on their sites.

EyeBuyDirect.comOver at EyeBuyDirect, there are glasses in different price ranges for men and women. You can look at eyeglasses ranging in price from $6.95 to $49.95. Hundreds of frames are offered, from plastic and titanium to designer frames. You can also sort glasses to show full-rim, semi-rim, or rimless selections. You can also sort your search to find bifocals, trifocals, or progressive eyeglasses. You’ll find a range of shapes too: rectangle, oval, square, wayfarer, or round. If you already know your preferred dimensions, you can also search by size. You can specify by total width (narrow, medium, or wide), lens width, and temple length (short, medium, or long).

You’ll find sunglasses for sale here as well. What’s nice is that they’ve got a deal of the week and a coupon section. However, if you need glasses for your kids, you’ll need to check elsewhere.

They’ll take credit cards as a payment option. You can also pay with PayPal, Amazon Payments, and Google Checkout. It can take about seven days to two weeks for your order to arrive, depending on which shipping option you want.

39DollarGlasses.comAnother source for cheap eyeglasses online is 39DollarGlasses. I am not sure why they are called 39 Dollar Glasses since their glasses all have different pricing — nevertheless, the prices appear reasonable. Like, 39DollarGlasses has lots of choices for men and women. But unlike EyeBuyDirect, they actually sell eyeglasses for children. They’ve added the nice touch of giving their products fun names like Chipmunk, Panda, and Princess. You can choose from a variety of different colored frames. One set of Chipmunk glasses I looked at only came out to $44. For orders over $99, the shipping is free. It can take a few days for them to make your glasses, and it may take longer if your order needs customization. Here’s also something that may not have been immediately apparent, but once you become a customer, you are automatically eligible to receive customers rewards. It’s basically a cash back type program where 4% of your purchases are applied to your account so that you can use this to fund future purchases. By the way, the rewards are transferable!

At the prices may seem higher, but you’ll find the popular designers here. Brands like Prada, Ralph Lauren, DKNY and Vogue are represented among the designer eyeglasses. I found several Vogue eye wear items that were as low as $68. You can also buy contact lenses here and enjoy military discounts. You can use one of their guide tools to help you make your selection. And finally, look for promo codes on the site that give you discounts like 10% off a single pair or buy one, get one for 30%. In my opinion, they’ve got one of the cleaner sites around, which can lead to a better user shopping experience.

One more place to check out is It’s another site with lots of designer eyeglasses at a discount. You can view videos to help you pick your lens type and material too. You’re restricted to glasses, sunglasses, lenses and accessories, where the inventory caters to adults. But if you’re interested in purchasing contact lenses, you’ll need to check out their related site called While BestBuyEyeglasses sports some selections in the sunglasses and shades department, you are offered additional options through yet another one of their sister sites, called

If you’ve never worn glasses before, you might want to spend some time browsing some of the merchandise at your doctor’s office when you get your eye exam. That way, you can get an idea of how different types of frames look and feel before filling your prescription. For many of us, glasses are a daily necessity, but they don’t have to cost you hundreds of dollars a pair. For more on getting a great deal on glasses, you can check this article on Slate.

Created January 4, 2010. Updated July 15, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael January 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm

The last two times I needed new glasses I got an exam done at Sam’s Club ($50) and then bought them at Three years ago I bought the $8 pair, but last year I splurged and got a $10 pair AND prescription sunglasses.

I looked at the sites listed above too (Goggles4U, etc.) and what it came down to was who had the cheapest frames that I liked well enough to wear in public, and which would pass the wife acceptance factor.

They’ve been great for me so far…

Mike January 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I ordered several pairs of glasses from Goggles4U and am really happy with them. The only issue is that they don’t have designer frames.

More recently, I bought a pair of Rayban Rx eyeglasses from Amazon and had the lenses installed at a local eyeglass shop for an additional $100! The lenses would have been only $40 if I had bought them online.

Why didn’t you post this 1 month earlier!! Great post.

annk January 5, 2010 at 10:50 am does a great job of letting readers know about discounts and promotions from these online merchants. I’ve had great luck with, and

Goran Web Design January 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

One usually does not pay too much attentionto eyeglasses because medical aid covers the expense, but with more and more people unable to afford medical cover it is gratifying to see that there is such big savings to be had by going direct. It is actually quite scary when you realise just what huge markups are being made, and how the system has been abused in the past.

nm January 10, 2010 at 8:50 am

I’ve had good luck with zenni optical / 19 dollar eye glasses online. I’ve been using them since 2005. They have an extensive selection of frames. My lenses are not fancy so I got 3 pairs (different designs) for $60 shipped.

EyeOptix January 14, 2010 at 11:15 am

Investing extra time and energy on the web can definitely help you find the best deals and steals on eyeglasses. Here’s another great resource I came across: – a discount site for designer sunglasses, eyeglasses, frames and lenses.

Eric January 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I’ve bookmarked this page bc I knew I was getting new glasses soon. Too bad the glasses I liked in my optometrist’s office (ByWP brand) isn’t sold in any of those online resellers. I could only find them on eBay and they were slightly more expensive there. I guess I can stick to the old fashion way then 🙂

Villas in Italy February 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I looked at the sites listed above too (Goggles4U, etc.) and what it came down to was who had the cheapest frames that I liked well enough to wear in public, and which would pass the wife acceptance factor.

Villas in Italy February 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

It is actually quite scary when you realize just what huge markups are being made, and how the system has been abused in the past.

Charles August 21, 2010 at 5:18 am

With the ridiculous prices optical shops are charging, more and more people are shopping online for their eye care products. The same frames are now found online at a fraction of the cost and the prescription is the same regardless of where it is purchased. I have been very happy purchasing online. Thanks for the great info.

Stephanie December 10, 2010 at 9:50 am

I have purchased from, not mentioned above. I have been very happy with my frames and the customer service. Reading glasses at very good prices!

Charlie December 13, 2010 at 9:55 am

With all the stuff that has come down recently on, I’d be EXTRA careful about where to get glasses. That thug who runs was reported to threaten customers and now is in custody for fraud. See here.

Dan March 29, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Contrary to your tip, you can’t buy glasses at Costco without a membership. I called and asked. You can get an exam, but not the glasses.

Silicon Valley Blogger March 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm


That’s interesting. This could mean one of two things:

(1) Costco has changed its policy on purchasing glasses.
(2) It depends which Costco sells the eyeglasses.

What I mean be the #2: sometimes, these chains have different policies depending on the store or establishment. This is, for instance, the case with Bed Bath and Beyond. Apparently Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons are handled differently, depending on which branch or location you visit. So which is it?

Would certainly be curious to know what the story is with Costco here.

Joy August 31, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Thank you for this post. I HATE filling my eyeglass/contact prescriptions because of how much it costs. This looks like it will save me quite a bit of money. I’m bookmarking this for future reference as we speak. P.S. I can see why included you on their list of Top 10 Personal Fiance Blogs ( This is really practical, helpful stuff.

Unhappy customer October 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

I ordered designer glasses from Been waiting for the glasses almost for a month now… Anyone else have experience with this company?

Silicon Valley Blogger October 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

@Unhappy customer,
I have not heard of but a lot of these online eyeglasses sites tend to have customer service issues, it seems. While using online services tends to be cheaper, you’ll need to also ensure that they are reliable and reputable. What did they say when you contacted them?

If you order glasses/contacts from your local optical shop, you at least have the chance to visit a physical establishment if you need to complain. So do be careful about whom you do business with (esp. online).

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