Need to buy glasses online? Here are 8 things to know

Our digital devices have made online shopping more secure and convenient than ever1. But, buyers beware – not all online stores are created equal. And that’s especially true when it comes to glasses.

Here are 8 things to know before you buy glasses online.

  1. Durability
    What good are new glasses if they break instantly or the lenses scratch easily? Look for an online retailer who can offer durable frames. And make sure they offer lenses and add-ons to fit your lifestyle and protect your eyes — things like polycarbonate lenses, anti-glare and scratch-resistant treatments, and UV protection. Also, if you have children or play sports, look to see if your shop offers high-impact resistance lenses.
  2. Multifocal, progressive or high index lenses
    Fitting multifocal lenses is an intricate process. Because of this, many online retailers shy away from filling these more complex prescriptions. But some do, like, which only uses one of the nation’s top labs to carefully craft each pair of lenses. High index lenses are similar to polycarbonate, but are the thinnest lens with the highest tensile strength for maximum durability. They are recommended for prescriptions lower than -4 and higher than +3.50.
  3. Ability to apply your vision benefit
    Many online stores do not accept vision insurance, which means that somewhere along the line, you may lose out on either value or selection. Opt for a retailer that accepts your vision benefits online so you get the best of both of those worlds – and no paperwork! EyeMed members have access to several participating in-network providers, like,,, and
  4. Variety
    You’ll want a variety of frame styles to choose from, including top designer brands you can trust. In fact, depending on your personal style and activities that involve wearing prescription glasses, you may need more than one pair. If your vision plan offers discounts on additional complete pairs, you’ll want to select an online optical shop with variety as well as one that honors your discounts.
  5. Try before you buy
    Want to see what you look like in your new glasses before you buy? Some online glasses retailers have virtual try-on technology, like this tool from You can see how frames look on you from every angle before you pick your perfect pair. Some retailers will ship glasses straight to your doorstep to try out, too.
  6. Fit
    Fit is a big issue with glasses, and a hard nut to crack for many online glasses shops. Build into your budget the cost of a proper fitting by an eye care professional at a brick-and-mortar store near you. If your frames don’t fit well, they are not only uncomfortable, they may actually cause vision problems and/or headaches since you won’t be looking through the lens correctly.
  7. Shipping
    You can purchase your new prescription glasses in no time online, but would you pay for shipping? And how quickly should you expect your new glasses? In choosing your online store, definitely check out the shipping options and confirm delivery time.
  8. Return policies
    What happens if your order isn’t exactly what you were hoping for? Read the return policy before you order so you know exactly how the retailer will handle returns. For instance, how many days do you have to return the glasses? Also, do you pay to ship back the return – or do they?

However you choose to shop for your next pair of quality glasses, look carefully at what each vision provider offers so you get the most out of your purchase.

1. US Online Retail Forecast, 2012-2017, Forrester,