Why should you buy discount glasses?
No one wants to shell out the equivalent of a rent payment on new eyeglasses, but we all want an affordable, quality, stylish pair. The right discount glasses can check all those boxes.
Shopping around is the best way to find a good value on glasses, says Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, owner of the personal finance site Making Sense of Cents. She wears glasses herself and knows “the cost can definitely add up quickly.”
What is the best place to buy glasses that will fit your budget, suit your tastes and hold up to the wear and tear of daily life?
If you have a complex prescription or you want an optician to help you select frames and/or adjust your fit, it may be wise to buy glasses from your eye doctor or an optical shop.
But if you have a fairly simple prescription and don’t mind trying on glasses virtually, buying online may be a good way to save time and money.
Here are six reasons you may want to consider buying your next pair of glasses online:
1. Shop a bigger selection of frames
Online retailers like EyeBuyDirect and Zenni Optical offer more frame options because they’re not limited to the number of pairs of glasses they can display on a rack or wall.
But browsing that wide online selection doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can narrow your choices quickly, filtering frames by gender, color, size, material, frame shape and special features like lightweight frames or spring hinges.
Once you find the frames that meet your criteria, you can sort your results by price, popularity or even new arrivals.
2. Save money on glasses
It’s easy to find discount glasses online. In fact, eyeglasses purchased online may cost significantly less than those sold by optical shops and eye doctors.
A few examples: EyeBuyDirect offers dozens of frames for under $10, and FramesDirect.com stocks a selection of designer frames from brands such as Burberry, Coach, Kate Spade and Prada for 40% to 50% off the retail price.
There can be a “huge difference” between prices on frames and lenses in optical shops vs. online, Schroeder-Gardner says.
RELATED READING: How to buy glasses online
3. Stack deals on top of already low prices
You’re also more likely to find coupons, deals and sales when you shop for glasses online.
For example, many online retailers offer buy-one-get-one-free deals. BOGO offers are a good way to save money when you have more than one family member who needs glasses – or you want a spare pair just in case.
You can also sign up to receive coupons and special offers via email or text and look online for discounted frames — most sites feature a sale section with prices cut by half or more.
4. Pick your glasses more quickly
It can be helpful to have an optician explain why certain frames do or don’t work for your face shape and give you an overview of your lens choices, but ordering glasses through your eye doctor can take hours.
You have similar options online, but you can control the buying process and skip over options that don’t interest you.
5. Save another trip to the eye doctor
When you order glasses from your eye doctor, you may get a call in the middle of a workday letting you know they’ve arrived.
If you can’t duck away during your lunch break, you may have to delay picking up your new glasses for a day or two.
Glasses ordered online get shipped directly to you, which may be more convenient.
6. You may get your glasses faster
When you order glasses online, they may take a week or two to arrive, which may be a little faster than ordering through your eye doctor.
When you need your new glasses as soon as possible, you can choose a faster shipping speed when you order online, including UPS Next Day Air.
How to save on glasses at an eyeglasses shop
If you prefer to go through your eye doctor or an optical shop, you can still save money on glasses.
Here are three budget-savvy tips for buying glasses in person:
1. Shop several stores: Comparison shop by visiting at least a few optical centers. Take photos of frames you like and note prices so you can easily make a decision later.
2. Ask for the discount glasses: Many optical shops and eye doctors have a rack or a tray with basic frames that cost less. They also have seasonal sales, especially around the holidays.
3. Talk money with your eye care provider: Crunch the numbers and talk openly about your budget. Opticians typically will work with you to choose frames and lenses that fit your finances.
Bottom line: If you have the foresight to plan ahead and shop around, you can get a new pair of glasses without having to choose between improving your vision and making your rent payment.
Page published in October 2019
Page updated in March 2021