Eyeglasses can be pretty expensive, and most people have multiple pairs.
You might have your primary pair of glasses, a backup pair, and maybe even a prescription pair of sunglasses.
If you’re going to be investing that kind of money, you’ll want to be confident that you’re getting the best product at the best price, and we want to help you do that.
So we’ve put together an overview of some of the top online retailers selling eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses, followed by a comprehensive buyers guide telling you exactly what you should look for when shopping for your pair of glasses.
First, let’s take a look at some of the top online retailers for eyeglasses.
Eyeconic sells eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses designed for men, women, and children. They have a large selection, offering 29 different brands of eyeglass frames, and 25 different brands of contact lenses.
To make choosing the right eyeglasses as easy as possible, this site features a virtual try on tool.
They will walk you through the process that involves shooting a short, 5 second video of yourself with your Web Cam, and taking a photo of yourself while holding a plastic card, such as a credit card, to your forehead so they can ensure accurate sizing.
It only takes about 30 seconds to complete the process and then you’ll be able to see what their various frame options look like on your own face.
Eyeconic.com also has a price matching policy. They say that if you are able to find a lower price for the same items within 30 days of your purchase, they will refund you the difference.
They also run specials and promotions on a regular basis and they will provide you with coupon codes to make sure you’re getting a great deal.
And of course if you’re unhappy with your purchase for any reason, you can contact them within 30 days of the original shipping date for a refund or an exchange.
One thing that really sets Eyeconic apart from the other eyeglass retailers online is that they are the only site where you can buy eye wear or contact lenses with your VPS Vision Care Insurance – in network.
If you have a different vision insurance provider, they will also let you shop in their site and then submit a reimbursement form provided by your insurance provider.
If you don’t have insurance, they will even help you find an affordable individual vision plan.
Smart Buy Glasses offers some of the best prices online, with huge discounts on name brand products.
Like Eyeconic, they have a best price guarantee, but the difference is at Eyeconic they have a 30 day price matching policy whereas Smart Buy Glasses gives you 14 days from the date of purchase to show them where you found the same item at a better price.
Of course the prices on SBG are so good that you’re not likely to ever find the same item at a better price on some other website.
This site sells eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses for men, women, and children. They sell over 80,000 different products from 180 different designer brands.
SBG has some interesting tools on their site to help you find the perfect pair of glasses. For example, there is a style finder tool that asks you a series of questions.
Are you a man or a woman? Do you want sunglasses, sports glasses, or eyeglasses? Do you want full rimmed, semi-rimless, or rimless? They ask you about the materials you would like whether it’s plastic, metal, or titanium.
They will also ask you about the frame shapes and colors you like and then you will be presented with numerous options based on your preferences.
When you’re shopping at www.smartbuyglasses.com you can buy with confidence. While many sites have a 30 day return policy, SBG has a 100 day return policy. They also have a 24 month warranty that covers any manufacturer’s defects.
They have the best warranty and return policy in the business.
One drawback about SBG is that it may take a little bit longer to receive your glasses than it would if you purchase from some other website. Some websites offer really fast, two-day shipping.
With Smart Buy Glasses, you’ll have to allow 5 to 11 working days for delivery. It’s not a terribly long time, but it is a little longer than some other websites.
The shipping taking a little longer may be a drawback, but when you consider that this company offers extremely low prices, a price match guarantee, and the best warranties and return policies, a slightly longer shipping time may be a compromise you would be willing to make.
We were also able to find a number of customer reviews for this site and the reviews were outstanding. With nearly 3000 reviews online, this site received an average customer rating of 8.9 out of 10 stars.
Customers are saying that they were able to get great prices on name brand eye wear. Several customers said that they did a lot of research and SBG offers the best prices.
One customer said that they purchased a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses from this site for about $120 and they said that is about $60 off the regular retail price.
Other customers said that they looked at identical glasses at their local optometrist and www.smartbuyglasses.com offered what they were looking for at half the price.
A number of customers also said that this company has fantastic customer service that is quick to respond and very helpful.
With a huge selection, the best warranty and return policy, great prices, and positive reviews from satisfied customers, you may want to make SBG the first place you look when you start shopping for eye wear.
GlassesShop is an American owned company that has been online since 2004. In that time, they have delivered over a million pairs of eyeglasses.
On their website they say that their goals are to provide the highest quality products at affordable prices and to give their customers the best possible customer experience.
Like the other two websites mentioned earlier, www.glassesshop.com says that they have a best price guarantee, but aside from just seeing that they have such a guarantee on their website, it’s hard to find any information about how the guarantee actually works.
Eyeonic has a 30 day price match guarantee, at Smart Buy Glasses it is 14 days, but we couldn’t find details about the policy on Glasses Shop.
This site does run a number of different promotions and you can find various discounts and coupon codes on their website.
They also offer 50% off of the first frame for new customers. They also state that anyone who follows them on Facebook, twitter, or their official blog will be notified about any new promotions they have.
The return policy on this website can be a little bit confusing. They say that they offer a risk-free shopping experience with a 90 day return policy.
On one part of their website they say that they do their best to make sure all of the frames and lenses are produced to perfection, but if for some reason you’re not completely satisfied with your glasses, you are entitled to a one time, no questions asked return for a refund.
One time? What if you order another pair of glasses that you also have issues with?
On another part of their website they say the glasses must be returned in their unworn, original condition and in their original case within 14 days of receipt of your order.
So which is it? 90 days, 14 days, or is it 90 days one time and 14 days for every other time you want to return something? Like I said, it is a bit confusing.
One area where www.glassesshop.com really shines is with their shipping policy. Shipping is free for orders over $49 and costs just $4.95 for anything under $49. Their standard shipping is 7 to 15 working days.
They also offer expedited shipping where you can get your order in just 2 to 5 working days. The cost for expedited shipping is $19.95 for any orders under $149.
Orders over $149 are shipped with expedited shipping for free.
There are a few things about Glasses Shop that concern us. The return policy is unclear, and there’s really no information about their best price guarantee.
The other thing that concerns us is that we found some customer reviews online and the reviews were not terribly positive. We were only able to find a total of nine customer reviews but these nine reviews resulted in an average rating of just 3.8 out of 10 stars.
Nearly all of the negative reviews came from people talking about this company having poor customer service. One customer said that the order process was very misleading.
They wanted transition glasses and ordered permanent tinted by mistake. They called customer service to get an exchange, but they don’t actually do exchanges.
Their refund policy also states that there is a 50% restocking fee for glasses, so you better double and triple check your order before you hit the buy button.
There were some positive reviews online, but even one of the customers who left a positive review for the product, left a negative review for the service.
They said that when they received their first pair of glasses they loved them, and still do. They said that the prescription was perfect and the specifications were flawless.
They also said that the website was easy to navigate. Their issue was with customer service.
This person said that when they had a question about their order, the customer service personnel didn’t seem to have any clue what was going on with it.
This customer also said that they feel the people running this website have no integrity. The customer left a review on the company website saying wonderful things about the product but stating their issues with the website not updating correctly and the lackluster customer service.
This customer left a 4 star review and when they checked it later, they saw that their review was a 5 star rating and some of their original review was edited out. That’s pretty shady.
We were not able to find a lot of customer reviews online but most of the reviews that we did find were from unhappy customers.
Because of that, we would recommend shopping at one of the other sites mentioned on this page.
Sites that are more straightforward with their price matching policies and offer better return and exchange policies.
Warby Parker is a bit different than the other sites we’ve looked at so far.
This site doesn’t sell thousands of different products from dozens, or even hundreds of different manufacturers. They actually sell their own brand of eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Having said that, there are still dozens of styles to choose from.
In addition to their many different styles, they also have different materials you can choose for your frames.
Some frames use a cellulose acetate that is produced by an Italian, family-owned company that has been in business for over 150 years.
This frame material is able to retain its shape, sheen, and rich hues and patterns over long periods of time. Their cellulose acetate frames are also very sturdy and durable.
They also offer titanium frames sourced from Japan. These frames use an ion plating technique for exceptional strength, color richness, and a flawless finish.
These frames are also sturdy and durable and they include a custom nose pad that alleviates pressure and gives you an anti-slip fit.
Finally, they offer “mixed materials” frames. These frames use both cellulose acetate along with durable, lightweight, and hypoallergenic stainless steel or titanium accents.
One other thing that sets www.warbyparker.com apart from other eye wear retailers online is that they have a “home try on” service.
They will actually let you select five frames that will be shipped to you for free.
You have five days to try these frames to see which one you like best. If you like one of the frames, you can purchase it online and they will send you a fresh new pair.
And once your five days are up, you can place the frames back in the box with a prepaid return label. Being able to try on glasses at home certainly takes some of the uncertainty out of purchasing glasses online.
Warby Parker also has dozens of retail locations across the United States and two locations in Canada. If there is a location near you, you can go into a physical store to shop for glasses.
If there is not a location near you, you can shop online and take advantage of that unique “home try on” service.
It took a little bit of digging to find information on their shipping and return policies. You can find this information if you click on the FAQ section of their website.
They offer free shipping to anyone in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands as well as military APO/DPO/FPO addresses.
The estimated delivery time for single vision prescriptions is 7 to 10 business days and it is 10 to 12 business days for progressive prescriptions. They do offer expedited shipping for an extra $30 if you need your order quickly.
They have a 30 day, no questions asked return or exchange policy on all of their eye wear. They say that if you aren’t satisfied, they can set you up with a full refund or exchange within 30 days of receipt.
They also offer free returns. There is no 50% restocking fee like there is for Glasses Shop.
Eyeglasses Buyers Guide
So we have taken a closer look at four of the top online retailers for eyeglasses.
Now, we’re going to give you a fairly comprehensive buyers guide so you’ll be able to get the best glasses at the best price and do so in an efficient manner.
Make Sure You Have a Recent Prescription
If you haven’t had a recent visit to your eye doctor, you may want to consider paying them a visit before you start shopping for eyeglasses.
An optical prescription will typically expire somewhere between one and two years after the date of your last exam.
If you start shopping for eye wear without a recent prescription, you may end up wasting money on an expensive pair of eyeglasses that won’t give you the best results.
What Type of Lenses Do You Need?
If you are nearsighted or farsighted, it’s likely that single vision lenses are what you will need. Single vision lenses provide one type of correction.
Multifocal lenses have two or more different types of corrections. It’s important to know which type of lenses you need before you start shopping.
Choosing a Frame That Suits Your Face
When you’re shopping for eyeglasses, it’s not just to improve your vision. You also want them to look good so you want to find frames that complement the shape of your face. People’s faces can be categorized into a few general face shapes.
If you have a round face you’ll want to look for frames that are wider than they are tall. In this case, rectangular frames may be a good option.
If you have a square face, you may want to look for a pair of eyeglasses with a softer, rounder frame to balance out your angular features.
With a heart or diamond shaped face that is typically characterized by broad cheekbones, a larger for head, and a narrow chin, you’ll want to look for frames that have similar angles. Frames that are wider at the top than they are at the bottom.
If you have an oval shaped face, you’ll be able to wear just about any type of glasses.
Choosing Frames That Fit Your Personal Style
There’s more to consider than just the shape of your face. In addition to the shape of the frames, you’ll want to keep colors in mind.
Are you looking for frames that are suitable for business professionals? Would you want something that is better suited for playing sports?
Think about when and where you will be wearing your glasses and choose a frame shape and color that will be suitable for those situations.
Options for Frame Styles
There are many different types of frames available but most frames will fall into three categories; rimmed, semi-rimless, and rimless.
Rimmed glasses are the most common. They will have some type of material that goes all the way around the lenses. The material may be plastic, metal, or a combination of different materials.
Rimmed glasses are very durable because the lenses have more protection. If you have a strong prescription with thick lenses, rimmed glasses may also be a good option because the rims will help hide the thickness of the lenses.
Semi-rimmed glasses will have some type of material, plastic, metal or a combination, around the top part of the lenses, with the bottoms of the lenses exposed.
Because the lenses don’t have as much support as they would with a fully rimmed frame, it’s a good idea to get trivex or polycarbonate lenses that are strong and durable.
Rimless glasses are increasingly popular because they are lightweight and many people find them athletically pleasing.
This type of frame has no metal or plastic material surrounding the lenses. The nose bridge and temples will usually be drilled and mounted directly to the lenses with screws, bolts, or grommets.
Because of that, the lenses used with rimless glasses must be very durable, made of trivex or polycarbonate.
The Sizing of Eyeglass Frames
Sizes of eyeglass frames usually include three measurements in millimeters. For example, a pair of eyeglasses might measure 54-15-140.
In this example, the first measurement would be 54 mm and is a measurement of the horizontal width of one lens at its widest point.
The second measurement of 15 mm is a measurement of the width of the nose bridge, which is the metal or plastic piece connecting the two lenses.
The third measurement of 140 mm is a measurement of the entire length of one temple, which is the piece extending from the front of the eyeglass frame to behind your ear.
It’s important to remember that you may be able to fit into frames with slightly differing measurements. The style of frame will also have to be taken into consideration.
Two different styles of frames may fit differently even if they have the exact same measurements.
Lens Coating Options
After you’ve picked your frames and lenses, you’ll still have another choice to make. What type of lens add-ons are you interested in.
Lenses can use an antireflective coating that will help reduce eye fatigue and improve the clarity of your vision.
Your lenses can also be coated with a UV coating to help protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.
These coating options may come with your purchase or may require an additional fee depending on the retailer.
Do Some Comparison Shopping
If you’re interested in a particular brand that is only sold by one company, comparison shopping isn’t really an option.
However, many retailers sell eyeglasses of a number of different makes and models. If there is a particular style that you like, search around for that make and model to see who’s offering the best price.
A lot of online retailers have a “best price” or a “price match” guarantee. This is a good thing because you may find glasses at a better price on one site, but another site may have a better warranty, return policy, customer service rating etc.
Shop around and find the glasses you like best, then make sure you’re getting the best price, fastest shipping, best warranty etc.
Some Pros and Cons of Shopping Online Versus Off-Line
If you’re shopping off-line, at a physical retail location, you’ll be able to try on a number of different frames to see which styles and colors you like best. You’ll also be able to talk to an optician so you can get expert advice if you have any questions or concerns.
Shopping for glasses at a physical retail location may also be easier for people who have complicated prescriptions.
Shopping online does have its benefits. You will usually have a much wider selection because a website can show you hundreds, or even thousands of different options and it’s just not possible to have that many different choices on display at a physical retail location.
Shopping online can also save you a lot of money. Online retailers can manufacture their frames before customizing them to your prescription. An online retailer cuts out the middleman and can pass that savings on to you.
Shopping for glasses online is also a lot more convenient. It takes a lot less time and effort to sit down in front of your computer than it does to drive to a physical retail location.
Many online retailers have also found creative ways to get around some of the drawbacks of shopping online.
For example, you may not be able to try on every pair of glasses that you would like to, but a you may be able to take a photo or video of your face and try on glasses virtually.
You may not be able to talk to an optician about your prescription or frame options, but some websites have online chat features so you will be able to ask questions in real time.
Ultimately, you will have to decide whether shopping online is the right choice.
But many websites these days are offering speedy shipping at no charge and excellent return policies which takes a lot of the risk out of buying online.