Eyeglasses

Cheap glasses: Busting 10 myths

woman with eyeglasses holding up a piggy bank with money
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Not sure whether ordering cheap eyeglasses is a great way to save money or a risky move that could harm the health of your eyes? 

There’s plenty of misinformation about saving money on eyewear, so we’re here to clear up 10 myths about cheap glasses:

Myth #1: Cheap eyeglasses will fall apart 

Truth: Higher price doesn’t always mean better quality. 

When you plunk down $250 for a pair of designer frames that cost only a few dollars to make, you’re paying a big mark-up for that brand name as well as the costs of running a brick-and-mortar shop.

Online retailers can offer low-cost glasses, without skimping on quality, by selling their own frame designs and cutting out the middleman.

Myth #2: Inexpensive eyeglasses lack style

Truth: Some fashionistas actually prefer cheap glasses. 

You can choose from a wider selection of frame styles when buying online. You can snag the latest trendy frames and even pick up multiple pairs of glasses in different colors and shapes. 

You also can afford to have fun with cheap glasses by trying out a new frame style, like aviators  or cat-eye glasses , or experimenting with readers in bold colors  and fun patterns.

Myth #3: You have limited lens options

Truth: You don’t need to buy expensive glasses to get a lens upgrade. 

Online retailers offer an array of high-quality lenses, including ultrathin lenses, progressive no-line lenses and photochromic adaptive lenses that darken when you step into the sunlight. 

Online eyeglass shops also have lens enhancements such as UV protection and anti-reflective coating

Many eyeglasses websites also offer digital screen protection lenses that reduce eye strain by filtering blue light from computers and smartphone screens.

Myth #4: Cheap eyeglasses are uncomfortable

Truth: Many inexpensive glasses are designed with comfort in mind. 

For example, you can buy a pair of glasses for less than $50 with lightweight frames and spring hinges, features designed for maximum comfort and a good fit. 

It’s smart to read reviews from other customers to see which styles get high marks for comfort. 

You can also check your current frame size to make sure you pick new glasses that are the right size for your face.

Myth #5: You can’t adjust cheap glasses bought online

Truth: Here’s a money-saving trick: Order a pair of affordable glasses online, then pop into your eye doctor’s office to ask for an adjustment. 

Many opticians will be happy to adjust your glasses for free. For example, Laingsburg Eye Care in Michigan offers free adjustments. 

Or you can stop into a vision center in a Costco, Walmart or another big-box store.

Myth #6: Low-cost eyeglasses will ruin your eyes

Truth: It’s simply a myth that glasses of any kind can hurt your eyes. The wrong prescription, though, can make it hard to see clearly.

That’s why it’s important to get a comprehensive eye exam and buy from a reputable retailer. Wearing the wrong prescription can make your world look blurry and even cause headaches. 

But glasses alone cannot change your eyes, weaken your eye muscles or make your vision worse.

NEED AN EYE EXAM? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an appointment.

Myth #7: Cheap glasses are fakes or knockoffs

Truth: Some consumer advocates have warned people to steer clear of cheap glasses from questionable companies. 

Fly-by-night businesses do sell inferior products online, and that's why it’s so important to buy glasses from a reputable company. 

How can you protect yourself?

Check reviews and trusted sources before you decide where to buy glasses online. 

Myth #8: Shipping costs cancel out savings on glasses

Truth: You may have to pay shipping when you buy cheap glasses online, but the cost should be pretty low. 

And after a certain amount, you may pay nothing for shipping. 

Myth #9: You may get stuck with the wrong prescription

Truth: A reputable seller will get the prescription right and require you to provide your pupillary distance (PD) to make sure the lenses on the glasses line up correctly with your eyes. 

If you have problems with your new glasses or suspect they may be the wrong prescription, go to the eye doctor who did your eye exam to get your glasses checked. 

If the prescription is wrong, a good retailer will stand by the product and remake your glasses in the correct prescription.

Myth #10: You can’t return cheap glasses

Truth: Worried you’ll get stuck with glasses you hate? Return policies vary, so it’s a good idea to check the details before purchasing discount glasses online

Note that you may have a certain time frame in which to return your glasses.

Ready to shop for glasses?

Now that we’ve dispelled some of the myths about cheap glasses, you should be able to confidently buy your next pair for less.

IS YOUR PRESCRIPTION UP TO DATE? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an eye exam.

Page updated August 2019

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