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Save Money and Buy Your Next Pair of Eyeglasses Online

Updated on February 11, 2012

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 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 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


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


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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