SITES FOR SORE EYES
With the cost of new frames and lenses often reaching well into the triple digits, the prospect of buying prescription eyeglasses leaves many wearers quaking. Enter online providers, which have proliferated in recent years and promise to deliver the goods at a fraction of the bricks-and-mortar cost. The sites featured here boast starting prices as low as $6. Some also claim thousands of satisfied customers who attest to the quality of the product, ease of ordering, and hefty savings. Still, even the best glasses websites garner their share of complaints about delivery delays, inaccurate lenses, flimsy frames, and obstructionist customer service. Eyeglass wearers with simple prescriptions are less likely to encounter problems than those with strong prescriptions or complex lens requirements. Prices rise quickly with better-quality lenses (thinner and lighter), add-ons such as special protective coatings and tints, and expedited shipping.
Price: starting at $6.95
Pros: Low prices for high-quality glasses. Price includes single-vision 1.5-index lenses with UV and anti-scratch coatings. Wide selection for the entire family. Case and cleaning cloth included. Good customer service. Contact via chat, email, and phone. User-friendly website. Virtual try-on. Discounts for newsletter sign-up.
Cons: 30-day return window for 50-percent refund or full store credit. Slower-than-average shipping times. $4.95 shipping fee.
Takeaway: A top choice for budget eyewear, Zenni Optical wins the support of thousands of fervent fans in online reviews.
Price: starting at $39
Pros: High-quality glasses at fair prices. Price includes single-vision 1.59-index polycarbonate lenses with UV protection. Case and cleaning cloth included. Unusually quick turnaround on orders. 30-day window for returns with refund or 90 days for exchange/store credit. Good customer service. Virtual try-on or print/cut paper frame.
Cons: $4.95 shipping fee. Customer pays shipping on returns.
Takeaway: Hundreds of satisfied customers signal that 39DollarGlasses is a safe bet for online eyewear purchases.
Price: starting at $35
Pros: Good-quality brand-name and in-house frames. Price includes single-vision 1.59-index polycarbonate lenses with UV and anti-scratch coatings. Free shipping on new orders and returns. Faster-than-average shipping times. Extra-long 365-day window for no-questions-asked returns. Discounts for joining email list.
Cons: No virtual try-on.
Takeaway: Coastal is a reliable source for low-priced brand-name eyeglasses.
Price: starting at $95
Pros: Proprietary frames. At-home try-on for up to five frames. Price includes polycarbonate lenses with UV, anti-scratch, and anti-reflective coatings. 30-day satisfaction guarantee; one-year no-scratch guarantee. Free shipping both ways. Easy-to-use website. Contact via email, phone, and chat. Will call doctor for prescription.
Cons: Comparatively high starting price. No bifocals.
Takeaway: The darling in low-cost eyeglasses, Warby Parker nonetheless takes heat from some customers for indifferent service and ill-fitting and poor-quality frames.
Price: starting at $6.95
Pros: Low prices for stylish frames. Price includes single-vision 1.57-index lenses with UV and anti-scratch coatings. Buy-one-get-one on select frames. Commendable customer service. Contact via chat, email, and phone. Easy ordering process. Virtual try-on.
Cons: $5.95 shipping fee. Stingy return policy.
Takeaway: Despite inconsistent frame and lens quality, affordable prices and a wide selection keep Goggles4U on our radar.
Price: starting at $19.95
Pros: Price includes single-vision 1.5-index lenses with scratch-resistant coating. Case and cleaning cloth provided. Discounts aplenty (first pair free). Straightforward website with good help section. Virtual try-on.
Cons: Stingy return policy. $4.95 shipping on orders under $49. Hefty deductions with returns.
Takeaway: GlassesShop customers fall into two camps: satisfied and disgruntled. Other online vendors may be a safer bet.
Price: starting at $6
Pros: Generic frames and one premium in-house line. Low prices for good quality. Free shipping for new-customer orders over $15. Credit for inviting friends. Virtual try-on. Good tips and buying guide. Contact via email, chat, and phone.
Cons: $6.95 for basic 1.5-index single-vision lenses with anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings. Site pushes pricier lenses. $5.95 shipping for orders under $99. 14-day window for no-questions-asked exchange or return.
Takeaway: EyeBuyDirect offers decent value on eyewear and garners both praise and criticism from reviewers for customer service and product quality.
Price: starting at $29
Pros: Price includes single-vision 1.56-index lenses. 30-day window for returns.
Cons: $8 shipping fee for single pair (two-plus pairs ship free). Customer pays return shipping. Limited access to customer service.
Takeaway: With few compelling reasons to shop at Optical4Less and just a small number of customer reviews, mostly trending negative, this vendor is easy to pass by.
Price: starting at $10
Pros: Lens replacement is a strong suit. Free at-home try-on for orders over $75. Extensive selection of name brands. Cloth and case provided. Discount for email sign up. Eyeglasses wizard helps narrow choices. Useful information about lens types. 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Cons: No virtual try-on. Customer pays shipping for returns plus fee for lens removal. $19.95 for single-vision "value-brand" lenses. $4.95 shipping on orders under $50.
Takeaway: There are only a small number of online reviews for LensesRx, but most report positive experiences, good communication with company representatives, and attention to detail.
Price: starting at $38
Pros: Well-known brand names. Price includes single-vision 1.5-index lenses with anti-scratch coating. Very user-friendly website; calls out potential errors in prescription input. 24/7 support. Virtual try-on. Discount on first order. Free standard shipping. Free shipping on returns within two weeks. Discounts for providing email address.
Cons: No kids' frames.
Takeaway: Customers appreciate the affordable prices for attractive, high-quality eyewear. GlassesUSA seems concerned about feedback, as representatives respond to customer reviews online.
BEST BUY EYEGLASSES
Price: starting at $6
Pros: Many designer frames. Price includes standard 1.5-index single-vision lenses. 24/7 support. Free shipping and returns. Discounts readily available; email specials.
Cons: 50-percent assessment for prescription lenses on returns within 30-day no-questions-asked window. No kids' frames.
Takeaway: Best Buy Eyeglasses claims very few customer reviews. While some users seem satisfied, others report problems of one type or another.
Price: starting at $42.50
Pros: Designer brands. Discount on first order with email address. Limited-time specials. Extensive FAQ and guides for selecting frame. Free shipping on all orders. Easy-to-use website.
Cons: 30-day window for free exchange minus 50 percent of lens price if different lenses needed. Customer pays return shipping. $4.95 fee to track order. No virtual try-on. No lens prices provided without an account.
Takeaway: Hundreds of satisfied FramesDirect.com customers extol the product selection and reliability, although a small minority gripe about poor quality and customer service.
Price: starting at $29
Pros: Frames designed in-house. Price includes single-vision 1.5-index lenses with UV, anti-reflective, and scratch-resistant coatings. Cleaning cloth and case provided. Guide for choosing frames. Virtual try-on. Free shipping. 90-day, no-questions-asked return window for full credit or refund minus 25 percent.
Cons: Customer pays shipping on returns. Email support only.
Takeaway: Generally solid reviews for Global Eyeglasses note good customer service, fair prices, and quick shipping.
Price: starting at $18
Pros: Name brands and one proprietary line. Helpful lens wizard and loads of useful consumer information. Virtual try-on or home try-on with three or more frames. 30-day window for full refund on frames and inaccurate lens replacement. Many lens options.
Cons: Standard single-vision lenses cost $49. Free shipping only on orders over $55. Customer pays return shipping.
Takeaway: An online vendor with two stores in Connecticut, Eyeglasses.com scores with a majority of reviewers for email updates and good service but is dismissed by others for lens inaccuracies and poor service.
Price: starting at $46.95
Pros: Large selection of brand names. Price includes single-vision 1.5-index lenses with UV, anti-scratch, and anti-reflective coatings. Virtual try-on. 100-day window for full refund or exchange. Each pair matched with a donation to charity. Student and referral discounts. Free shipping. Order tracking.
Cons: Lens availability limited to single-vision distance prescriptions. Customer pays shipping on replacements/exchanges.
Takeaway: Solid customer reviews for SmartBuyGlasses commend the product quality, customer service, and speedy shipping.
Price: starting at $99
Pros: Upscale brands. Many insurance plans accepted. 3D virtual try-on. Free 2-day shipping. 30-day window for returns with full refund and free shipping. Case and cleaning cloth included. Partnership with LensCrafters for post-shipping adjustments. Contact via email, chat, and phone.
Cons: $35 for standard single-vision 1.5-index lenses; free with frames costing $160 and up. No bifocals or trifocals. No color tints. High frame prices.
Takeaway: Limited lens options and average customer ratings for Glasses.com might deter consumers, especially those with complicated prescriptions.
Price: starting at $19.95
Pros: Price includes single-vision 1.5-index lenses. Case and cleaning cloth provided. Virtual try-on. Contact via chat, email, and phone. Will call doctor for prescription.
Cons: $5.95 shipping, or $11.95 with order tracking. Two-week return window for refund minus shipping charge and 25 percent handling fee.
Takeaway: The miniscule number of consumer reviews for Marvel Optics are not encouraging. Customers gripe about product quality and customer service.
Price: starting at $19
Pros: Price includes standard single-vision 1.5-index lens. Cleaning cloth and case included; also screwdriver and screws with select frames. Order tracking. Virtual try-on. Discount for new customers. Buy-one-get-one and half-off sales.
Cons: Unclear return policies. $5.95 standard shipping for orders below $39. Poorly written website.
Takeaway: Most Firmoo customers seem satisfied with the product quality and service, but others report the usual array of problems.