Save Money and Buy Your Next Pair of Eyeglasses Online

My $10 frames. Retail $350.

Adasto by j.lindeberg
Adasto by j.lindeberg | Source

I've worn glasses for 22 years and I had always gone shopping for new glasses. It never occurred to me that I could buy them without trying them on. So how did I make the switch? One morning I happened to be watching the TODAY show and one of their deals of the day was for a $10 pair of eyeglasses through CoastalContacts.com. I'd never heard of them before but everyone who wears glasses knows how expensive they can be. I've spent $400 in the past on frames and lenses. One year I visited a discount eye wear store and bought a pair and got a pair for free but it still cost $275. So I was excited at the prospect of a new pair of glasses for $10. It sounded too good to be true so I had to hop online to see what the catch was. Naturally not all of the frames on the site were $10 but there was a pretty good selection at the $10 price.

The frames I chose were $10 but the price of the lens varied based on prescription. Since I'm rocking a -4.25 I had to go with one of the more expensive lenses. In the end they still only set me back $75 for both the frames and lenses. I have never bought a complete pair of glasses for so little. Well, until my latest pair. The previous online buying experience was at eyebuydirect.com. For $60 I purchased the pair of frames (shown below) and lenses with UV, Scratch, and Glare coatings. The original price for the order was $75 but after a Google search for a coupon code I was able to save $21. Add $6 for shipping.

$60 Pair of Glasses

Source

Choosing Frames

It may seem like an impossible task to fit yourself for glasses without trying them on but it's not. Your current pair of glasses will tell you everything you need to know about your next pair. Inside your frames just near the temples are some numbers printed. The Adasto has 53 followed by a square and then 16-140. It may seem like a form of hieroglyphics but those numbers give you the dimensions of your glasses in millimeters.The width of each lens is 53mm, the nose bridge is 16mm, and the distance from the temple to the end of the earpiece is 140mm.

For those who still need to see how the frames will look some sites will give you a virtual try-on. Simply upload a photo of yourself, indicate where your pupils are in the photo, and you can see how you will look in a new pair of frames. I've always purchased glasses based on appearance and how they seem to fit in the few moments I have them on in the store. Of course we don't really learn how a new pair of glasses will fit until we wear them for a few hours. Will they pinch your nose, slide down your face, or rub behind your ears, only time will tell. Now that I've learned what these useful numbers mean it has taken eyeglass buying to a completely different level. Even if the numbers are scratched off of your current pair you may be able to find their measurements online or simply grab a ruler and measure them yourself. The two online retailers I've purchased from also included lens height and frame width from temple to temple on their website.

Even if you decide not to buy your frames on-line the measurements on your current frames are a valuable tool to your eyeglass buying success. If your current pair pinches your nose then look for a pair with a wider nose bridge. For glasses that continuously slide down your nose look for a narrower bridge and or a shorter earpiece.

Example of Eyeglass Frame Measurements

Source

Prescriptions and Pupillary Distance

In the US an eye prescription is good for one year from the date it is written. After my last examination the receptionist put all of my information on a card and laminated it for me to carry in my wallet. I've never had someone do that before but I have obviously found it to be very useful and handy. When you're entering your prescription online simply enter what is shown on your eyeglass prescription. There is one measurement called the PD which is called the pupillary distance that you will have to measure yourself. It is the distance in millimeters between your pupils when looking forward. Using a millimeter ruler you can have a trustworthy friend measure the distance for you or you can do it yourself in front of a mirror. Looking straight ahead line up the ruler with one pupil and measure the distance of the other. If it is easier, alternately close each eye while you measure. Take the measurement at least 3 times just to be sure you have it correct since this distance determines how your lenses are made.

Return Policies

As with any industry policies will vary among businesses. Eyebuydirect offers a 14 day return policy whereas CoastalContacts offers a 365 day return policy. It's quite a staggering difference so be sure to read the return policy and and terms of service for any site you visit. A Google search for discount eyeglasses revealed 11 different vendors on the first page alone so your online buying options are pretty extensive. If you don't agree to the terms of one site there are many more to choose from.

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Comments 35 comments

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Wow! I never heard of this. Thanks so much for sharing this useful information and for providing specific details about the numbers that are needed to get a correct fit.

Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting and am going to bookmark this for future reference.


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

I know your dilemma. I am far-sided with 2 astigmatisms! This hub has been helpful...thank you!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I love when the Today show shares the good deals! Thanks for sharing this one I missed it!

Keep on hubbin'!!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Looks like an inexpensive alternative I should try for my next pair. Voting this Up and Useful.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Oh! You gave me a hub idea! Thank you so much! :D I wear glasses and after reading this, I'm going to try and get my next pair online. Voted up and useful.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

Hello Everyone! Thanks to you all for your votes and kind words. Buying eyeglasses on-line is simple especially when you know the dimensions you are looking for. Those of us who have worn glasses for years already have a pretty good idea which shapes suit our faces. I highly recommend buying a pair online at least once. They're an incredible steal. Thanks to all of you again for sharing your time and thoughts : )


hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

I never knew that glasses can be purchased online. Thanks for the detailed information. Will try this next time. As you said, this is definitely worth a try. Voted up and useful.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

hoteltravel, It is definitely worth a try. Thanks for voting and sharing your time. : )


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

This has come at just the right time as I've been needing new glasses, but just don't want to shell out $400! Thanks so much for all the information on how to be sure to get the correct fit - that was something that worried me! Great hub! Voted up and SHARED!


J Burgraff profile image

J Burgraff 4 years ago

What an awesome hub! I will say hands down that this is the most useful hub that I have ever read on hubpages. I've had friends order their glasses from these sites, but they have never given me all of the useful information that you have. Great instructions, great job!


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

Stephanie, I've bought 2 pairs online and I highly recommend it. My latest pair fits better than those I picked out in the store, if that makes any sense. The secret for me seems to lie in the dimensions of the frames instead of how they appear in the few seconds I normally try them on. They're such a steal you should try it at least once. Thanks for Sharing : )


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

J Burgraff, Thank you so much for the compliment. I'm happy you found this Hub so useful. We blind kids have to stick together : ) Shopping by frame dimension has opened a whole new world for me when it comes to eyeglass shopping. I can't believe salespeople have never taken this approach with me before. Thanks again for your kind words : )


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I've heard about buying glasses online. This is great. do they have bifocals? :-)


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

They do have bifocals. The frames are virtually free but the price of the lenses depends on your prescription. I'm a -4.25 so the cheapest lenses wouldn't work well and would probably be thick and heavy. On the CoastalContacts site I had to order the most expensive lens, but on eyebuydirect.com I was able to go with a their middle of the road lens. Their most expensive lens was for someone in the -9 realm. I don't wear bifocals, knock on wood, so I'm not sure of the pricing. You should write a Hub about it : )


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

If I can't see the dimensions because they are worn, can I just measure them? This helps me, I just need to get that new prescription. I wear transitions, can I get those? What about contact lenses?


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

Yes you can measure the dimensions or pull out an old pair of glasses or sunglasses. I have seen transition lenses and sites like CoastalContacts offer both glasses and contacts. I have also seen the online sites offer the same items as the traditional store. Let me know how it goes : )


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Thanks Jennifer. This really helped me. Just need to get my prescription.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

As an ophthalmic technician, I have to advise against this. The PD alone can be easily measured incorrectly by a professional, let alone your neighbor. Most patients can't tolerate more than a millimeter inaccuracy when it comes to PD. Also, it doesn't matter what frame you have now, if you buy a new frame, the lenses need to be dotted to where the pupil is on that frame, otherwise the optical center will be off and double vision will be the result. Then you have to take into account panascopic tilt, vertex distance and a whole slew of measurements that are taken by licensed opticians. It's not just throw the lenses in and go, the lenses are specifically ground to the size of the frame and the prescription at the same time. Knowing where the optical centers are allows the prescription to be placed directly in front of each pupil.

For anyone who is extremely myopic (nearsighted), this is especially a bad idea. Vertex distance (the distance from the cornea to the back of the spectacle lens) is extremely important in myopic patients and this varies from frame to frame. The standard vertex distance of 13.75 will not work for someone with a -6.50 prescription.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

Daughter of Maat, Thank you for your input. I've worn glasses for 20 years and I would guess I've only had my frames dotted 1 or 2 times. In my experience I've purchased 2 pairs of glasses online from two separate vendors with great success. Granted my prescription is only a -4.25 and not a -6.50. Thankfully they all have return policies if the new pair of glasses do not work. Thanks again for sharing your insight : )


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

You know you aren't the only one who has told me that. It's sad, licensed opticians are supposed to dot the pupils EVERY time, but many seem to take the easy way out and hope they are correct. This is why so many patients come back saying their prescription isn't correct and they end up coming back to me to have a refraction done again (the test for the prescription). I find it quite annoying when I check a prescription only to find out the optician screwed up. It's a waste of time for everyone involved.

I'm glad the online vendors have a return policy, and I'd be interested in finding out if there's a limit to how many times they'll redo a prescription. I have to say it would be quite convenient to be able to order glasses online, but it may also eventually cost traditional optical centers quite a lot of business.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

My worst eyeglass shopping experience: they put the astigmatism on the wrong lens. When I first put them on I thought I just needed to adjust to the new prescription. As I was driving home I knew something wasn't right. I forget what prompted me to flip my glasses upside down and put them on, but TA DA, I could see. : )


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

lol I've heard that story several times! It's really sad! Funny looking back on it, but sad! I had a patient one time, who went back to the optical several times and they didn't bother to check the rx in the lenses and sent her back to the doctor to have us check the rx. Sadly, I checked the prescription in the lensometer and found the prism she needed was missing completely. If the optical had actually taken the time to check the rx, it would have saved everyone so much time and energy.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

I was about 6 months pregnant and my current prescription wasn't working. I went to the eye doctor and he gave me a new prescription. In the store I could see fine but when I drove home I noticed I still couldn't read the street signs. I gave it a week to see if it was just me but it wasn't. When I went back to the store he re-checked my prescription and came up with a different prescription. I know vision changes with pregnancy but he wouldn't give me the new prescription because he didn't want to go chasing the effects of pregnancy. Finally fed up, I returned my glasses and went to another doctor. The second physician's prescription accounted for my astigmatism whereas the former didn't. TA DA I could see and I haven't had any problems since : )


BigSerious profile image

BigSerious 4 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

Have you or anyone you know ever bought bifocals online? I have bought frames before (great deals!) but had to take them somewhere for lenses and still ended up paying $280 for lenses. Great hub - happy to have the measurement info.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

Big Serious, Both of my parents wear bifocals so I'm sure it is inevitable for me, but for now I'm just very nearsighted. The lenses are usually the most expensive component in a pair of glasses for me as well. I'd say look into the return policy and give on-line glasses a try. I'm sure they have a system in place where they can offer bifocal glasses online successfully. If it works out you will save a lot of money and you can write a Hub about it : ) Let me know how it goes. I'd love to link your bifocal Hub to mine.


BigSerious profile image

BigSerious 4 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

I will certainly do that!


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

My wife and I just had our exams and my insurance pays for the frames and lens. I wear tri-focals and have used no line lens for years. the special lens cost me $90 and we do have to pay for the exam. This is a great hub.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

I hope you are able to put this information to work for you Fiddleman : )


Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

Deepak Chaturvedi 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Nice to share lol


Deb Welch 4 years ago

Thank you for this information. My next pair of prescription reading glasses will be bought on-line. I paid about $250 or more for my last pair - I love saving money if it is worth it. Useful, Awesome and Interesting Hub - Up.


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho Author

For those of us who have worn glasses for a while we know all too well how much a new pair can cost. If we can all save a little money these days then we definitely should : )


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 3 years ago from North Carolina

This is such an excellent resource for those of us with multiple children. I will check this out. Thanks!!!


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 3 years ago from Indiana

Interesting... I just heard someone say a month ago that they ordered online and thought that was kind of odd but now I know. It's also good to hear the pluses, minuses and discussion here in the comments - thanks all!


Kyricus profile image

Kyricus 3 years ago from Ohio

Wow, I never knew about this. I need to get new glasses soon, and I'll certainly look into this! Thanks.


Blake83 profile image

Blake83 2 years ago from Poughkeepsie, NY

Yeah, everyone should take this advice. I've saved a ton of money getting my contacts and glasses online the last couple of years

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