If You Want to Shop for Glasses Online, Bookmark These Reputable Retailers
Shopping for eyeglasses used to be something that you did in person at your optometrist's office or a large optical chain; these days, the process is much more streamlined—you don't even have to leave your home. It's easy to peruse hundreds of websites that will ship frames directly to consumers' doorsteps, an option that has become that much more in-demand in the context of the pandemic. As we all strive to live more healthfully during COVID-19, it's understandable that many of these companies' contact-free services (including virtual and at-home try-ons) are preferable. "Most online retailers have technology that allows for a virtual test, where they superimpose the glasses onto your face. Others send multiple pairs of glasses to your home, so you can try them on in person—paying only for the ones you choose to keep," notes Benjamin Bert, M.D., an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
Another major benefit of buying glasses online? You can try on an infinite number of pairs, virtually, without using up your optician's time, notes Dr. Bert. You don't have to feel embarrassed about "asking to see another pair when it's all done virtually," he says, noting that reduced costs are yet another plus. "Also, because of the lack of a storefront, many online retailers are able to charge less for their glasses."
- The Online Glasses Brand with the Best Variety: Warby Parker
- The Online Glasses Brand with the Best Virtual Try-On Service: Ace & Tate
- The Online Glasses Company with the Best Sales: EyeBuyDirect
- The Most Affordable Online Glasses Brand: Zenni Optical
- The Best Blue Light Glasses You Can Buy Online: Ambr
There are downsides, however. Ultimately, the pair you choose might not be perfectly sized to your face. "For instance, in an optical shop, the frames can be molded to fit you using special equipment. Glasses you buy online are going to come as they were manufactured," says Dr. Bert, adding that re-shaping frames from the web will cost you—if you can find an optical shop willing to do it. The other issue with shopping online is more technical."In order to have the best vision with prescription glasses, the center of the lens needs to be centered with your pupil," explains Dr. Bert. "To properly do this, measurements are made both vertically and horizontally to place the center of the lens appropriately within the frames. This is difficult to do virtually."
The best thing you can do when shopping for glasses online, then, is to make sure you're buying them from a reputable company that utilizes the most advanced technology in the first place (bonus points if they include a fitting service or adjustment with your purchase). To help you weed out the good from the bad, we curated a list of the best online eyeglass brands operating on the market today.
This is one of the best-known online retailers for eyeglasses—and for good reason. They offer a try-before-you-buy service where you can choose up to five frames to test at home, no additional cost required. Choosing frames is also incredibly user-friendly—you can filter through various features, such as the fit, style, shape, material, and color. Not sure where to begin your search? Try their online quiz, which will put you on the right track.
Shop Now: Warby Parker Glasses, from $95, warbyparker.com.
Ace & Tate
This Amsterdam-based company designs their frames in-house—from mood board to finished product—and offer quality frames at prices starting at $125. Their virtual try-on tool is state of the art: Their program scans your face in under one minute and allows you to test their entire collection, one swipe at a time.
Shop Now: Ace & Tate Glasses, from $125, aceandtate.com.
If you're on the hunt for an affordable pair of glasses, allow us to introduce you to EyeBuyDirect. The company gas some of the best-priced frames out there—however, it's worth noting that they charge an additional fee for prescription lenses. Fee or no fee, online reviews indicate that users walk away feeling like they got a great deal—and looking fresh in their new frames.
Shop Now: EyeBuyDirect Prescription Eyewear, price dependent upon frame selection, eyebuydirect.com.
This online eyeglass retailer is best known for their robust selection; they offer thousands of frames, mostly designed for female customers. They also offer a generous price spectrum, which ranges from $10 (yep!) to $46 for basic pairs. The only downside? Their return policy is less lenient than their competitors'. If your frames don't work out, they offer store credit—not a full refund (and that excludes shipping fees).
Shop Now: Zenni Optical Eyeglasses, from $10, zennioptical.com.
If you're looking for blue light protection—these rays are emitted from digital devices, the sun, and artificial light sources, too—in addition to prescription lenses, Ambr Eyewear is a brand to bookmark for both kids and adults, alike. Their custom acetate frames block these rays and are accessible to everyone, whether you need corrective vision solutions or not.
Shop Now: Ambr Blue Light Glasses, from $66, ambreyewear.com.