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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Order Prescription Glasses Online {Week 4}

Save over $100 per year on prescription glasses with this one simple tip -- buy eyeglasses online!! Check out the top 3 online places to buy prescription glasses!

At the beginning of every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

This tip won’t work for everyone because some of you are blessed to not have to wear glasses and some of you won’t need to buy glasses this year. But for those of you who need to buy glasses or who end up needing to buy glasses, this tip will definitely save you $100+ this year.

Buy Prescription Glasses Online (Week #4)

A number of years ago, when I first started blogging here, a reader emailed me recommending I try purchasing glasses online. Truth be told, I’d never even considered ordering glasses anywhere but from the eye doctor, so I was thrilled to consider that there were other options.

I didn’t need to purchase glasses at the time, but I posted the tip because it seemed legit and I thought other people might benefit from it. To my delight, I discovered that other readers had tried ordering glasses online and they’d had good experiences, too.

I don’t know about you, but when I stumble onto an outside-the-box money-saving tip like this, it gets me so excited. And it reminds me that there are always new discoveries to be made in the world of frugality — especially in the age of the Internet.

Since I didn’t need to order glasses right then, I tucked away the tip for later. Not too long afterward, my toddler broke my glasses beyond repair — and I was ever so thankful that I knew there were options out there for saving money on prescription glasses!

Where To Order Prescription Glasses Online

While there are a number of different online sites that you can purchase prescription glasses from, three that I’m very familiar with and have purchased from personally are GlassesUSA, Zenni Optical, Coastal Contacts.

1. Zenni Optical. This is my go-to site for ordering glasses online. In fact, we’ve purchased three pairs of glasses from them so far. Not only have we always been pleased with our orders from them, but on our second order from them, there was a shipping delay so they sent out another free order — which meant we got two extra pairs of glasses for FREE! That level of customer service really left an impression on me.

Most of the glasses from Zenni Optical are under $20 total for the frames and lenses. They even have some glasses that are as low as $6.95! Shipping is just $4.95. If you need to upgrade your lenses, it will be extra. But I promise it will still be much, much less than buying prescription glasses in-store.

2. Coastal Contacts. I also recommend checking out Coastal Contacts. If you’ve never ordered from Coastal Contacts before, they offer new customer coupon codes when you sign up for their newsletter.

They also frequently offer sales and coupon codes on their site for existing customers. What I like best about Coastal Contacts is that if you receive the glasses and they don’t fit, return shipping is free.

GlassesUSA.com - 2000+ Styles - Free Shipping

3. GlassesUSA. This is another go-to site for buying eyeglasses online. They almost always have a promotion running where you can get deep discounts on prescription glasses. For example, right now they’re running a buy one, get one free sale! I recommend checking the site frequently to score HUGE savings — especially during holiday sales.

Pros & Cons of Ordering Glasses Online

As with any purchase, there are pros and cons to ordering online versus ordering in-store. The price is fantastic, but one of the downsides of ordering glasses online is that you can’t try them on ahead of time. If you wear glasses full-time or struggle to find glasses that fit your facial shape, ordering them online might be more difficult.

However, if you only wear your glasses part of the time or aren’t incredibly particular about how they look, definitely save yourself some money by ordering glasses online. In addition, I’d highly recommend ordering glasses online if you have children who are prone to go through pairs rather rapidly.

The other thing to keep in mind when ordering glasses online is that you have to do all your own measurements to submit to them. We never found it difficult to do these measurements, but I know some people have had trouble with getting them right.

All in all, our experiences of ordering glasses online have been very positive — and we’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the past four years by doing so!

Have you ordered prescription glasses online? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences — either positive or negative.

photo credit


Other posts in the 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year series

  1. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Bake Your Own Bread (Week #1)
  2. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Make Your Own Coffee at Home (Week #2)
  3. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Cable Package {Week 3}
  4. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Order Prescription Glasses Online {Week 4}
  5. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners {Week 5}
  6. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Mixes {Week 6}
  7. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become a One-Car Family {Week 7}
  8. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Surround Yourself With Frugal Friends {Week 8}
  9. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Eliminate Disposable Products {Week 9}
  10. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Cut Your Own Hair {Week 10}
  11. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Use Cloth Diapers {Week 11}
  12. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become Best Friends With Your Freezer {Week 12}
  13. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Rent Movies for FREE {Week 13}
  14. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Ask for a Discount {Week 14}
  15. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cancel Your Gym Membership {Week 15}
  16. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Get the Best Bang for Your Buck at Yard Sales {Week 16}
  17. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Grow Some Of Your Food {Week 17}
  18. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cut Back on the Soda Pop Habit {Week 18}
  19. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Buy in Bulk {Week 19}
  20. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Price-Match at Walmart {Week 20}
  21. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Landline {Week 21}
  22. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Refinance Your Mortgage {Week 22}
  23. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Follow a Local Deal Blogger {Week 23}
  24. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Coupon Database {Week 24}
  25. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Plan a Weekly Menu {Week 25}
  26. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Strategically Use Daily Deal Sites {Week 26}
  27. 52 Different Ways to Save At Least $100 Per Year: Shop at Aldi {Week 27}
  28. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Books {Week 28)
  29. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}
  30. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop With Cash {Week 30}
  31. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat Less Meat {Week 31}
  32. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Is this really a good deal? {Week 32}
  33. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}
  34. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}
  35. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get Organized {Week 35}
  36. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Have an All-Cash Christmas {Week 36}
  37. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Cut Your Fuel Costs {Week 38}
  38. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Frequent the Library {Week 39}
  39. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Simplify Birthday Parties {Week 40}
  40. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Brown Bag It {Week 41}
  41. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Snacks {Week 42}
  42. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Programmable Thermostat {Week 43}
  43. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Limit Eating Out {Week 44}
  44. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get a Bang for Your Buck on Travel Expenses {Week 45}
  45. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Don't Pay For Pre-Made Baby Food {Week 46}
  46. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat More Beans {Week 47}
  47. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Homemade Cards {Week 48}
  48. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop At More Than One Store {Week 49}
  49. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat From the Pantry {Week 50}
  50. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Stay Home More {Week 51}
  51. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Develop Contentment {Week 52}

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99 Comments

  • Wendy says:

    Be aware, too, that places like this can’t grind lenses if you have an odd prescription – extremely nearsighted or farsighted, astigmatism, specialized bifocals, etc. They also tend to have a higher tolerance for mistakes and imperfections than a good doctor-associated optical shop will, which means your lenses might not be quite the right shape. If you don’t wear your glasses much and you don’t have a weird prescription, this might be a great idea – but if you wear them a lot (like I do), it may save you a lot in medical fees later on to have a doctor ensure you’re getting the right glasses for your eyes.

    • Miriam says:

      Not necessarily, I have astigmatism in both eyes, the left one in particular, and my Zenni glasses have all checked out perfect.

    • Carollynn McMahan says:

      I was just about to post this same info. I have an extremely difficult prescription and if it is even 1 millimeter off, then my vision is not clear. Mine is so bad in fact, that my own eye doctor’s office has had to redo my lenses multiple times (at no charge to me) in order to get my vision right. So this suggestion is great for folks with very simple straightforward prescriptions only! Bummer for me! 🙁

  • denise says:

    I ordered a pair from Zennia awhile ago and unfortunately they didn’t work for me 🙁 I had the measurements done by my eye dr and typed everything in correctly but for whatever reason the glasses gave me horrific headaches within SECONDS of putting them on 🙁

    I was really bummed!

    But I know quite a few other people who had success! I think maybe they just didn’t fit me right or something! At least I wasn’t out hardly any money for trying! Their prices are great!

    • Crystal says:

      That’s a bummer! Thanks so much for letting us know about your personal experience. Were you able to get your money back?

      • denise says:

        I didn’t bother trying 🙂 I’ll donate them to a local place that takes used frames/lenses to other countries 🙂 I think it was $14 and at that time in our lives we weren’t living paycheck to paycheck so I didn’t see the need…Also, I’m hoping someone somewhere in Africa or Latin America can use them!

    • Erin says:

      I had the same problem with my glasses through Coastal…

    • Tawra Kellam says:

      We sent them back when it happened to us. They do make them wrong now and then. I’ve ordered 20 pairs from them and only have 1 problem with a set of glasses. Return them and have them remake them. If they still don’t work, return them and try ordering another pair.

  • Kristy says:

    I recently stumbled upon eyebuydirect.com. Because I have a prescription that doesn’t involve any extras (I don’t need bifocals, for example) and don’t care if they reflect light or not or are scratch-resistant or not, I got a pair I like for about $13 total, shipped. I was so excited! They’re comfortable and I like the style (it is a bit of a gamble as far as how well you will like them in person). And I don’t *have* to wear my glasses on any given day, so that makes a difference in how much risk I was willing to take with them. They were great for me. I actually have a code I can give people for 5% off but I don’t know if it’s kosher to just type it in here. (Every customer gets a “friends and family” code that rewards both the original buyer and the referred buyer.) If anyone wants to email me, I would be happy to give them my code.

  • Aida says:

    Zenni Optical is the way to go. I love them. Single lens but my PD was wide with a astigmatism. Frames and lenses = $63.00. In the past, I paid easily $200 to $350 for a pair of glasses. At this rate I can buy two and not feel guilty. Thank you December212012. You saved me a ton of bucks.

  • robyn says:

    my husband uses zenni exclusively; he wears glasses every day (hates s) and is very accident prone when it comes to his glasses. He is constantly chipping or loosing his glasses (skiing, swimming etc). after having to buy new glasses a couple times and spending several hundred dollars each time he gave zenni a try. We’d heard mixed reviews so he simply ordered four different styles and as other have mentioned some frames didn’t work, in fact three of the four he ordered were a horrible fit even thought the measurements were correct. However, the pair he did like he likes so much that every few months he orders another 2 or 3 pairs and keeps them handy so when he scratches a pair, looses them or breaks an arm off he has a new pair at his disposal. This might not work for everyone but it does for us. Also, his prescription also hasn’t changed in the last 10 years and each of the pairs he orders are under $20 with shipping calculated. So for us zenni is a fantastic option.

  • L says:

    My husband just started going to the eye doctor so we are new to this, so forgive me if this is a silly question. Are you going to your eye doctor to get your prescription? We were never given that information.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, your eye doctor can give you your prescription details. If they didn’t do so on your last visit, you should be able to call and ask if you can pick them up or have them fax/email the details to you.

  • The Prudent Homemaker says:

    We ordered a pair from Zenni Optical for my son. They have held up well (his glasses in the past did not). I went through Ebates first and even got .63 back!

    I found that the glasses were NICER than the ones from the eye doctor, too.

    My husband is looking at needing bifocals. The eye doctor told him it is hard to get bifocals correct when ordering online. I’d love to know reader’s experiences with ordering bifocals online. We’d really like to go this route.

  • grace brewer says:

    i have had 4 pairs or so from costal s. i believe my total so far is around 20 (my copay for my last pair from lenscrafters was around 50 for 1 pair.) i am nearsighted and have an fairly extreme astigmatism (very strong lenses) with no issue at all. one pair came broken but they replaced it with no questions asked.

  • Gina says:

    I have like 12 pairs of glasses between the two places. Love Zenni but their prescription only goes so far and my eyes are so bad. I buy totally fun frames because for the most part I only wear them around the house and for that cheap, if they look terrible, I’m not really hating life. It’s nice to have an extra pair or two incase something happens.

  • ruth says:

    I love coastals. I’ve ordered 2 pairs through them. I wasn’t sure about what data to put in what fields so I called & they walked me through it over the phone, very patient with me. I used a special the first time and they were free.

    I had not heard of zenni so I will be using them next to check them out.

    One negative I’ve had is that my optometrist assistant got very irked when I called & asked for my information. She said “You’re ordering glasses online aren’t you?” Wow, she was miffed. The only other thing is that when they came in, I had to run down to a local eye glass shop to have them properly fitted. I have one ear slightly lower than the other.

  • Sarah says:

    I would love to do this! My last pair of glasses cost over $600 because my nearsightedness is so bad that they needed special lenses. Can I purchase the super thin really-bad-eyes Rx on these sites? It would be a huge help if I didn’t have to spend so much every couple of years. (after every pregnancy my eyes become permanently worse. Before my first child I was 20/300, after my 2nd child I was 20/600! Hopefully we’re done having kids. LOL. 🙂

    • Emily says:

      I would love to know, too, Sarah! My glasses cost approximate $600-700 (without insurance)…we usually pay $200-300 with our insurance. My dad didn’t have vision ins. when I was younger and paid OOP for them! I have such awful eyesight. I wear s primarily (like 10-12 hrs a day), but obviously need glasses too.

      • Amanda says:

        I have a difficult RX as well. I have been using Zenni for the past few years and I have been very pleased. I am able to order the extra thin lenses (which are still very thick b/c of my RX). We have saved a lot of money. My glasses cost about $400 at the eye doctor and about $60 with Zenni.

        Please note that I had to wait a long time for my glasses. It took 3 or 4 weeks to receive my glasses. They sent several apology/ update emails to keep me posted. The thin lenses simply take a long time. I was happy with the customer service. I would encourage you to check out their website and email them with any questions. For an online company, they are very supportive toward their customers.

      • Alice says:

        I have a very strong prescription (-9 to -10) and get the 1.74 lenses. I used glassesusa.com a couple of years ago to buy my first pair of glasses from the internet. My glasses were made in Israel (they no longer use this site). They have been the best glasses and the best fit that I have ever had. They cost a bit more, around $125ish for the 1.74 lenses, but that was compared to $400 from a US brick and mortar store. When I saw a new opthomologist after a move, he raved about my glasses and how thin they were even with my strong prescription. I never told him they were from the internet. The blog, Glassyeyes,com, has some good basic info on buying glassess off the internet.

  • Carrie in NC says:

    I’ve ordered 3 pairs online: 2 from glassesshop.com and 1 from coastal.com. I paid less than $20 for each pair including shipping. Take a quick trip to a LensCrafters or similar to try on glasses. Look on the inside arm for the size of the frames that fit you (or ask an associate). If you do not know your pupillary distance (PD), ask during your next eye exam or google for tips to measure it yourself. I measured it myself and the first time I got it just a little off. I had headaches with those glasses and was not able to use them. My second self-measurement was accurate and I had no further problems. My only complaint is that shipping usually takes 3-4 weeks from time of order.

  • Robyn S. says:

    This is a great tip! My husband wears s, do you know of any websites that sell these at a discounted price?

    • JWilly says:

      I purchased a pair from eyebuydirect two years ago. Under normal conditions I wore them only at night. I tore one of my last pair of s so was wearing them a lot as I am very nearsighted. My eye doctor checked the glasses yesterday and said the prescriptions were way off and one lens was designed for astygmatism which I have never had.

      Yes, they had great prices (they even called me at home to upgrade my lens bc they would be too thick otherwise ) but I will probably never order online again. I would rather keep what eye sight I have left and pay more for a pair of eyeglasses.

    • Sharon Schulze says:

      Robyn, you can definitely save a lot of $$ by looking around on line. Every time I’m ready to order my s, I simply Google the type I wear (i.e., Bausch & Lomb Soflens Multifocal) and a number of sites will come up. Generally I don’t order from the lowest price site; instead I use that information to order from 1-800 Contacts, as they will price match (and beat the lowest price by 2%, iirc). If the site you’re matching charges a fee or for shipping, they will, too. Information for how to order this way is on their website. I started doing this because I wasn’t always sure about the reliability, etc. of some of the sites, but it’s likely there wouldn’t be a problem–I just like ordering from a known entity 🙂 . I’ve saved a ton this way!

    • jenn says:

      Coastal s is one.

      I bought s in December and went to Ebates first. I took the top 2-3 for cash back and looked up the price and then Google’s for coupon codes. I ended up getting 4 boxes for $119 shipped $9 back through Ebates. One box for my left eye is $70 at my optometrist so this was a great deal!

    • Elizabeth says:

      I buy my s through walgreens.com. They have free shipping and always have a promotion running, usually 15% – 20% off. It’s always listed right on their lens page of the website. Most recently I used their January promotion code for 25% off my s order. The prices are much better than ordering the s through my eye doctor’s office. The shipping is fast and I’ve been using them for several years with no mistakes on my orders so far.

  • Samuel says:

    One of the cons you mentioned was not being able to try them on. Another online retailer, Glasses.com, offers FREE in-home-try-ons for up to 5 frames at a time. They ship them to you free, you keep them for up to a week, then send them back free. That way you can test them out, get opinions/feedback, and at no cost. They have a great selection and lots of brands covering all price points. I watched a youtube video the other day of someone documenting their experience with this – worth looking into.

    • Crystal says:

      Thank you so much for the recommendation!

    • Deanne says:

      FYI about Zinni. You can download a picture of yourself onto the site and try the glasses on that way. Just did this with my sister this weekend as she bought a pair of glasses with her eye Dr. and hated them so now she is going with Zinni to get another pair.

  • Karen says:

    My husband gets his glasses from http://www.39dollarglasses.com. He has been very pleased with their service. They often send coupons to make the order even cheaper. He was even able to get a pair of nice looking prescription sunglasses through them.

  • Martina says:

    we orderd my son a pair of glasses with the first pair free deal on coastal.com, as he lost his very expensive pair we got from a store..yeah not happy about the lost pair that was over 400 dollars. He still loves them and has not lost them ( they are Transformer ones lol). Lesson learned i never will spend more than 20 dollars on a pair from him.

  • deborah says:

    I’ve ordered one pair of glasses online, thanks to MSM, and they’ve been good. I prefer to wear s, but my s have been bothering me and I’ve ended up wearing my glasses a lot. I do sometimes wonder if I could’ve done something differently for the lenses. It seems like they smear a lot and are hard to keep clean. maybe it’s just me not having worn glasses full time for a while.

    I have an eye dr. appointment for my son and I won’t be surprised if he ends up with glasses. I had been thinking about ordering online and was unsure about trying it for first time glasses. Would love any input and suggestions on kids glasses!

  • Bevy says:

    I have used Coastal Contacts several times and love them! I had to return a pair b/c f their error, didn’t like the next 2 pairs I picked out, and then found a pair I loved. All that returning and I never had a problem with customer service or paid anything. Took a little time and this was the second pair in my order, so the wait wasn’t that big of a deal. I got 2 nam ebrand pairs with everything in a lighter lens and it was $120. At the eye docs office, it was $300 for 2 pairs at the cheapest.

  • SSR says:

    Other readers have already mentioned why it isn’t a good idea to buy glasses online, but PLEASE do not buy s online! The lenses are not stored at appropriate temperatures, and some people have discomfort or worse from wearing these s. They also do not verify your Rx, so if you enter it wrong, you get the wrong lenses. You only get two eyes– why would you do things like this to save two hundred dollars? To me, my sight is precious, and that means getting high quality care for them, and making sure I’m seeing well with high quality eyewear. In fact, most doctors will do their best to match online prices for lenses and give you a discount on eye glasses if you are a patient.

    • Crystal says:

      Every time I’ve ordered online, they’ve verified with my eye doctor that my prescription is accurate. In fact, they’ve cancelled my order before because my prescription had expired (they typically expire every year).

      • Kathleen says:

        I have had them same experience Crystal! I always order mine online!

        • The Coupon "Hih" says:

          I order s online as well and like Crystal have had orders cancelled because my script was not up to date at the Optometrist. My eye doctor actually encouages buying the s online especially when I’m buyingthe same perscription strengt and brand that I have before.

          • Leah Mason says:

            Ok, true story. Years ago, I would get my eye exams done at the Wal-Mart eye center. Then I found out about 1-800 s. I told my Dr. I was going to order my s from there. He told me he wouldn’t order for his dog from there (I don’t know if he had anything against 1-800 s or just ordering s on line in general). Fast forward a few years. That same office now orders your s from 1-800 s! Ha! They must have some kind of contract.

    • Elizabeth says:

      My eye doctor (affiliated with Sears Optical) was willing to price match the discount I found at Walgreens.com. However, frankly, I prefer ordering myself because it’s a hassle to have to drive down to the eye doctor with the printout from walgreens.com required for the price match, then have to drive down again to pick up the lenses when they arrive. It’s faster and more convenient if I just order from Walgreens.com myself. I have never had irritation or trouble with the lenses I received from walgreens.com. I don’t know if they verify my Rx; I will look into that next time. I’d also be more interested to learn about how they store s and what the correct temperatures are. Thanks for the info.

  • Julie @Logger's Wife says:

    I have my current pair and my sunglasses from Zenni. First time I have ever been able to have prescription sunglasses! I never could afford them before and had to use clip-ons (which I hated). I wear my glasses from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed and even put them on if the baby cries in the middle of the night. If I don’t, I can’t see a darn thing.

    One lens has lost some coating but it took it over a year and a half to do that. For $20 instead of $200, I’m okay with replacing every few years.

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve used coastal s for glasses and been very happy. Excellent pair of glasses . I would absolutely use them again.
    I have a basic prescription so all I paid was shipping ($14 for insured fed ex shipping). I priced a pair at the optometrist’s office (I mostly wear s, but the kids had scratched my pair of glasses and I was curious) and they were over $200 and the frames were not as nice looking.
    If you already have a pair of glasses the dimension numbers you need are on the inside of the frames which is helpful.

  • Linda says:

    I ordered a pair from Coastal last summer. Cost me $70 instead of $250+ I liked the fact that you can return with free shipping for any reason – even if you just don’t like them. But to me the lenses looked a little more plastic-y. Maybe this is because I have a stronger prescription but they just didn’t look as nice with rimless/thinner frames. I ended up getting a thicker frame and they look good. Have gotten quite a few compliments actually.

  • Sasha says:

    I’ve used Zenni Optical for a few years now and love it! I wear glasses all the time and can’t wear s so comfortable glasses are important. I have found that if I measure a current pair of glasses or sunglasses that I like I can then match those measurements with glasses on the site. I’ve changed colors and shapes with different orders, but the height and width is pretty much the same as that’s what fits my face. My husband ordered one pair that had really big lenses, but that’s because he didn’t look at the height measurement of the lenses. You can even upload a photo to “try them on”. I was never able to afford prescription sunglasses before Zenni, so I think it’s a great deal. And if you happen not to like a pair at least you only spent $20 instead of $200!

  • lynda says:

    I have 3 serious eye conditions that require changing my glasses basically every time I see my ophthalmologist — two times a year. Even with vision insurance, we can’t afford to do that. The last two times I have ordered eyeglasses online through one company. You simply input the prescription data, doublecheck it, pick out your glasses and the options. You have to pay attention to the PD, the sizes of the glasses and other sizes. It isn’t difficult. Each time I have gotten glasses in at least as good quality as the local major eyeglasses store. The frames may not be the most stylish — maybe they are. I have picked out frames that cost less than $45. Each time the total cost of the frames and lenses (no line progressives and all the extras) was less than $100.

  • Linda Kerr says:

    I had a wonderful experience with CoastalContacts. They have an app when you are ordering to help you pick a frame that is right for your face. You can down load a pic of yourself and try on different frames to see how they will look on you. I got a great pair of Vera Wang glasses for only the shipping cost of about $10 ! They even came with a hard shell case, cleaning cloth and a tiny screw driver set to diy if they should lose a screw! Fantastic deal!! I was totally satisfied with Coastal and will use them again next time I need glasses!

  • Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper) says:

    I don’t know if this has already been mentioned, but it is absolutely critical to have your eye doctor measure all the details you need to order the glasses. I found out about Coastal Contacts after my last exam and tried to use their tool to get the measurement between my pupils, that did not work out well. The glasses themselves were very well made. I’ve also found that sometimes it is worth the time to check with local businesses. When I needed to buy my very petite 16 year old glasses, we struggled to find a good fit. Adult sizes are often too wide but children’s glasses are too small. Not only did we find a great fit at the eye doctor’s business, but we got a better quality lens and still spent less than Walmart.

  • Katy @ Purposely Frugal says:

    Thank you for this tip! I’ll have to keep it in mind next time I need a new pair!

  • Jill says:

    I have ordered from Coastal Contacts before. I had recently just spent hundreds of dollars on a new pair from the eye doctor (even though I used a Groupon for what I thought was a deal), but then found out about Coastal’s first pair free for new buyers. I thought it would be a great way to get a back up pair. They even have designer brand names for super cheap. I was able to get a free pair of black cat-eye glasses by Cynthia Rowley! It turned out I loved my basic free pair more than my expensive glasses and wore them all the time. Then one day my toddler got into my purse and I haven’t been able to find those free glasses since. =( At least now I know when it is time to order new glasses that there are other options. I don’t need any specialties or anything fancy, so ordering from these online companies works for me!

  • Jessica W says:

    I wear glasses all day every day so I knew I wanted the quality of an in store pair, BUT found Zenni Optical to be a great option for the prescription sunglasses I needed when driving and out in thevsun. You can choose the color and level of tint you want and put the lenses in most of their frames and it was so cheap I was so excited. I’ve had my current pair for 2 years and they have held up amazingly!

  • Nicole says:

    I ordered glasses with Coastal Contact. The glasses came and they were the wrong prescription! I called them up and they apologized and had my replacements sent to me on next day delivery. Now that was customer service! I will definitely order glasses from them again!
    Nicole

  • Erin says:

    Normally, I agree with your posts or want to try them, Crystal…NOT this one. I ordered glasses online from one of the two companies you have listed above, and they are horrible. I even sent them back to have them “fixed”and they sent me a second pair, which were still horrible! They ended up in the back of my bathroom cabinet, never to be worn. Waste of money. For s, I’m sure they are ok, since most s are boxed; for glasses, I say BEWARE!!

    • Amy says:

      Actually I have heard even buying s online is not good because they don’t store them at right temperatures. I have had a friend that has had a lot of problems with her s that she purchased online.

  • Beth says:

    Another option if you want to be able to try the glasses on is America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses. They have 300 locations nationwide and their usual deal is $69.99 for two pairs of glasses and an eye exam. They also have a sale from time to time to get the two pairs and the eye exam for $49.99. Just be sure to turn down all the “extras” they offer, including insurance. I count the 2nd pair as my “insurance.” All my kids have gotten glasses there and we’ve been very happy with them. Their website is twopair.com and you can schedule an appointment online (at our location anyway).

  • Cathy says:

    We’ve ordered probably about 16-18 pairs now between Zenni and eyebuydirect.com (3 glasses wearers in our family) and saved a ton of money. I don’t think the quality is as good…my current pair have scratched very easily even with paying extra for the scratch guard. However, they have been a blessing during times when money is tight. Plus, they are inexpensive enough to replace each year. Also, I’ve had good experiences for the most part with size and fit, but my latest pair haven’t fit correctly. My husband just got a new job through which we get vision insurance, so I’ll be heading to a local place to get some that fit well for about $50 out of pocket.

  • Samantha D says:

    What about insurance? We have vision insurance that covers a good portion of our glasses…do online companies accept insurance?

  • Jake says:

    Although there is an ASSUMED benefit in cost, one study found these surprising statistics:

    More than one in every five pairs of eyeglasses sold online was not delivered as ordered, with features added or omitted.

    In more than one in four (28.6 percent) of the eyeglasses, one or both lenses were out of tolerance with at least one important parameter of an optical prescription.

    In almost a quarter (22.7 percent), one or both lenses failed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) impact-resistance requirement.

    About one in every 16 pairs of eyeglasses sold online failed tests for both adherence to prescription specifications and safety

    Overall, some 44.8 percent of spectacles failed to meet either prescriptions specifications or impact-resistance requirements.

    If price is the upmost concern, speak with your optometrist about this. They should have options to suit your budget limits available. As a patient, keeping the glasses “in house” at your private practice optometrist has many built in benefits. Your measurements are obtained by trained professionals, the glasses are personally analyzed within the private practitioner’s office for quality assurance, any issues that arise can be addressed personally with the office as opposed to a website, you are able to personally try on frames and obtain expert advice on lens options and coatings, and all this occurs while supporting the local business that often provides funds for local events such as children’s sport team sponsorships as well as examinations and materials for those in need.

    PLEASE consider looking at more than just price when it comes to your vision.

    • Miriam says:

      I’d love to see that study.

      • Sue in NC says:

        I was going to post a link, but I’m not sure it is allowed. I googled “study online glasses” and looked at the sightnation article (AOA Study Cites Safety and Compliance Issues for Rx Eyeglasses) which provided a link to the study. There is also a Canadian study at the opto.ca website. I am pretty leery of buying glasses online because I wear progressive (no line multi focal) glasses and I worry they would not be right. Also, I always need to have the frames adjusted to fit my face and I really prefer being able to go in and have that done, rather than trying to do it myself as hubby broke a pair trying to do that.

        That said, I had a very bad problem with a pair I bought at a new place, regular bifocals to use with the computer at a new job, and the top of the lines were not even straight. I bought that kind on the recommendation of the person in the store and they were perfectly useless for what I needed. I got them to replace them with intermediate distance single lenses after I took them to my optometrist to check the prescription and he called them and pretty much gave them hell for giving me the wrong type of glasses and not doing basic quality control on what they did give me. It makes me wonder what the results of a study of glasses obtained from bricks and mortar stores would find.

      • Jake says:

        I was unable to post the actual study due to it being a PDF, but if you are able to, it’s located here: http://www.optometryjaoa.com/article/S1529-1839(11)00406-4/abstract

  • Stephanie says:

    After paying 200 bucks for a pair at Target (with insurance and they were meh) I thought I could afford to pay 20 bucks to see if zenni optical worked. I am so impressed and kick myself for ever buying them anywhere else! I got 2 pairs for 40 bucks and used a promo code for free shipping. LOVE these!

    • Katie says:

      I didn’t want to buy from Zenni at first because they are all “Made in China” and I wanted to support glasses made in the USA and our local economy. So I checked out a few different upscale glasses places (including optometrists’ offices) and guess what – they are *ALL* made in China!

      So I gave up, ordered 3 pairs from Zenni, and have been happy ever since. (One time one of my plastic pairs wore off its plastic coating, but – eh, it was $6, so I called it a good 8-month run. Other 3 pairs holding strong for 2 years . I’m a repeat customer who recommends Zenni to many friends and family now!)

  • Anne says:

    I got my last pair of glasses at Lenscrafters, and even with insurance they cost over $300, and I don’t have any unusual prescription needs. They are nice glasses, but I picked up a free pair at Coastal, and was planning on getting some Rx sunglasses there, but was having trouble justifying the $130+ to get them (although the coupon code makes it $85 before shipping). I went to Zenni and got a pair I really like (cat-eye!) with the features I preferred (plain and simple brown tint, nothing fancy) for $25 AFTER shipping. Woohoo! $25 I can definitely be more comfortable with.

    • Sissy Sweet says:

      I went and got an eye exam. When she measured me for the glasses I wanted it came to $375….I neatly fainted. So I asked for a copy of my exam and the sheet she had done the measurements on. Then I ordered a pair from Zenni, an they ost me $56! I have been so pleased with them.

    • Miranda Grimm says:

      I ordered my daughter a pair through Coastal Contacts but didn’t really understand how the sizing went. They are a bit too wide for her face, but considering I paid less than twenty bucks for them- they truly make a GREAT back up pair. They are Barbie brand and are super adorable!

  • Karen says:

    Thanks for posting this. I don’t wear glasses, but recently we used Zennioptical for my husband. We received the glasses and the fit was awful, after trying unsuccessfully to get them to fit right at some local eyeglass places – I finally ed Zenni. They were amazing. Their customer service is great! They helped us figure out where we had gone wrong when we ordered (explaining sizing and such), paid for the return and helped us pick out replacement glasses that worked out perfect. He ended up buying a pair of glasses and prescription sunglasses for some ridiculously low price. They are very nice looking – he got a pair that looked roughly like the expensive pair he had previously from a local store.

  • Katherine says:

    This is an area where I’d rather support local small business (my eye doctor, who is an awesome man as well as doctor) than save money. My s are inexpensive although they are toric lenses (for astigmatism) and ordered through my eye doctor and a single set of six pairs lasts me a year. As far as glasses, now that my prescription has stabilized, I no longer need to replace yearly. Next time I need to upgrade, I will probably just put new lenses in my old frames since I hardly ever wear them. Sorry, but I don’t see any real benefit to doing this.

    • Lana says:

      I agree with you. Our optometrist is a young man with a family and the lady who fits the glasses in his office is actually our neighbor. But, we do have vision insurance right now.

  • Val says:

    I too have ordered glasses online. I was intrigued by the free pair from Coastal Contacts, but as I went to check out the additional cost for lenses was going to be $70+ because I have horrible vision. I mentioned this to a friend of mine, and she said that’s why she used Zenni, and being I completely fell “in love” with a pair I’d found on Coastal I went to Zenni’s site and found the pair I was looking for for less than $15, with the expensive lenses! Plus, they were having a BOGO half-off sale, so was time to order. I whipped out RX from the doctor as I wear glasses all day, every day, and placed my order. I was completely excited to get them until I put them on. Couldn’t see out of one pair, and had a headache after the wearing the second pair for an hour. Sent both pairs back in, had to remind them after several weeks they hadn’t credited me for the shipping, because only one pair was “incorrect” (which they then promptly did). Took the replacement of the incorrect pair to my eye doctor’s office were they checked them for free, and said the PD was off by 4, and glasses they order are not “allowed” to be off by more than 1. Will be sending the “correct” ones back to Zenni, again, and taking the originally “correct” glasses to the doctor’s office for testing too to see if they can “fix them” or if I’ll be sending them back, also. They did offer me half my money back for one pair, but I guess we will see after I send them back yet again.

  • Shelly says:

    We have had really good luck with Zenni Optical. We have ordered two pairs of glasses for my husband and he really likes them. I also ordered our daughters eyeglasses for vision therapy and they worked out well too. I am sorry to read some have had problems with them.

  • ancientmother says:

    My brother and sister(s) are eye doctors and I recently asked them their opinions on buying glasses online. They felt there is a 50/50 chance in getting glasses that work for you. Upon reading the comments here this is what I am reading. They learned the lenses are flawed about 50% of the time. In addition, the accuracy of the measurement of the focal point of the eye through the lenses can be inaccurate. That being said, it varies from person-to-person with what variances you can tolerate. If it works for you, that is wonderful! On another note, I asked them why there is such a difference in prices between places like Pearl Vision and a private office. For one, the actual grinding of the lenses is different. The optical discount stores use technology that is at least 40, yes, 40 years behind today’s best technology. Perhaps the glasses purchased online are similar to those from the discount stores, but without the overhead costs can be sold for much less $.

  • Amanda K says:

    I purchased a pair of glasses through Coastal, using their code. I had just gotten glasses from my eye doc and they were my usual wire rim frames. Shortly after that I ordered a pair of “fun” glasses from coastal, trying out a frame I hadn’t ever considered (black cat eyes) just for fun, and it turns out I absolutely love them! So even for such a cheap price (Ipaid less than $20, no extra frills) I got a pair I absolutely love and have had no problems with them.

  • Kelli @Taste & See says:

    Oh man. I’m all about saving money, but I have two kids who have glasses, and places like these do NOT provide a consistently good product. Two big issues: They aren’t adjusted to fit your child’s face, and even worse, if there is something wrong, a child won’t always tell you – sometimes they think it’s just because their prescription is new. I tried to save some money on glasses for one of my kids, and went to a chain store (so there’s even a human personally making them), and the glasses they gave us had one lens tilted at a 90 degree angle. Had I not gotten the glasses checked relatively soon, that could have caused serious, long-term damage to his eyes.

    Another big problem I’ve heard of with online places is that they often don’t get the field of vision done correctly for your eyes, which means that you aren’t looking out of the right place naturally in your glasses.

    I think this option can work for some people, especially if they don’t wear glasses all the time, but if you try this with your kids, please have your optometrist check them after you get them to make sure the prescription and field of vision are done correctly!

  • Rachel says:

    I got 2 pairs of glasses from zenni for $27 and that included shipping. I love them and am so happy that I was able to save that money

  • Amanda White says:

    I just recently looked into these sites to order sunglasses for my children. We are already spending over $1000 a year between everyday glasses and exams for our 2 and 4 year old, and so when they needed sunglasses too I was trying to find a less expensive option. I was initially excited at the cute lenses I could find for their small faces but once I inputted their prescriptions the prices kept going up, extra for scratch resistance, extra for ultra thin lenses, and lots of extra $ for the ultra thin polycarbonate lenses that are necessary for small kids with strong prescriptions. In the end the glasses were only going to be about $30 cheaper than what my local eye glass store could do, locally I get a 1 year warranty on the frames included in the price and a 1 time in a year lens replacement if they get scratched. Plus unlimited adjustments and I’m supporting a local business and its employees.

    Maybe for older children and definitely for adults who aren’t as prone to breaking things this would be a fabulous deal, but I just wanted to give my findings for other parents of small children in glasses and encourage them to find a local shop, get to know them and don’t be afraid to give them your budget and ask for better prices, they usually have some wiggle room and will work hard to earn loyal customers, especially if you are going to have children in glasses for a long time, they know it will be a good investment in their business to help you 🙂

  • dina says:

    Our son started wearing glasses when he was 3. Our insurance covers frames and lenses through our eye doctor. However once swimming lessons came around and warm weather for pool time we realized he couldn’t see at all while in the pool, lake, ocean etc. We talked to our dr and she said prescription swim goggles would be over $200 for him due to lenses. She gave us his perscription and we found A Site For Sport Eyes http://www.sporteyes.com/
    We were able to order goggles, prescription lenses, and case for $42. the best thing about them is as his prescription changes we can just order new lenses and swap out old ones.

  • Maria Butler says:

    There is also Firmoo.com We have had good experiences with them. First pair is free also.

  • Layna says:

    I wear glasses everyday, and keep a pair for a minimum of 3 years, so to me, I see my eyes and health as something I am willing to invest in. I am not willing to suffer daily for an incorrect pair of cheap glasses, although I know others who have had success buying online.

    • Holli says:

      I have ordered at least 10 pairs from Zenni, and I have been very satisfied with them! I first ordered from them after spending over $400.00 on a pair of no line bifocals at Pearl. I kept telling them that I couldn’t see anything out of them, and I was told I just needed to get used to having bifocals. Finally, I insisted on seeing the doctor again, and she said the entire prescription was wrong. While Pearl offered to make me a new pair, I decided to take my prescription and try Zenni. I got three pair including sunglasses for $120.00, and they were all great!! I will be a Zenni buyer for life!

      • Susan says:

        Just remember, nearly 1/3 (29%) of glasses ordered online failed impact testing. So even if they get your RX right, you have no way of testing if the glasses are safe unless you break them.

  • Danielle says:

    I have a friend who is a missionary in Ethiopia, and he turned us on to Zenni a few years ago. We have had nothing but success with them. For those who feel that their prescriptions are too “fussy” for a mail-order service, I recommend that you give it a shot. I have atrocious vision in one eye and terrible astigmatism in the other. I thought I’d go ahead and buy a $6.95 pair anyway. That way, if they didn’t work out, I wasn’t out a ton of money. If they did, I’d benefit greatly. They worked perfectly, and now we order all of our glasses from them. Our health flexible spending account covers them as well!

  • lisa says:

    LOOOVE zenni optical and coastal s..i’ve bought over 10 pairs of glasses through them— coastal is better than zenni in my opinion though–the quality seems better, but zenni is still good. i would say for glassses to wear all the time–buy from coastal..for glasses to keep at home or not to wear all the time–buy from zenni–although, i’ve bought many glasses for my daughter from zenni and they are so nice…it seems like the kid’s glasses on zenni are better than the adults glasses. just my opinion though.also…there’s something called the pupilatory distance…they give you directions how to measure it–make sure you follow them perfectly so that you have the best fit.

  • Amber says:

    I am in the market for a new pair,after 4 years it’s time too. I need to have an eye exam done first. Then I Will be checking out buying a pair online. Thanks December212012.

  • Gabby says:

    I love Zenni Optical.. I’ve ordered my last 8 pais from them, usually getting a few at a time to try different styles & have found my perfect fit. Also when getting your prescript it helps by having the doctor give you perfect sizing & letting them know your ordering online. They will try & talk you out of it. I personally have only bought one that I didn’t care for, they were slightly to big for my face. My last order was $48 for three pairs!!

  • Kerrie says:

    Oh, WOW! A penny saved is a penny earned! We really need this kind of savings right now. Thank you for this post. 🙂

  • Vicki Rohde says:

    I have bought several glasses from Coastal and have always been completely satisfied. I even had a pair that just did not look good on me and they took them back with free shipping and sent me new ones.

  • Diane says:

    My family of 5 has used Zenni Optical for the last 5 or so years and we have only had ONE issue with a pair of glasses. We ed Zenni (it was a broken nosepiece) and they instantly sent us another pair at no cost. They have gotten all 5 of our prescriptions perfect each time. My husband wears bifocals, first time ever. They got his no-line glasses correct the first time. Also, our oldest son has very light-sensitive eyes, so we get his with the transitions-type lenses (they fade to sunglasses outside). We just ordered 3 pair a month ago (husband’s bifocals, oldest son’s, and youngest son’s). Total price was less than $150 for all 3, and we got them in less than 2 weeks!

    Tip if you order online: Try on different pair at your regular eye doctor’s, take pictures of them, get measurements of the frame width and height. Then you will be able to find exactly what you’re looking for online. Plus, Zenni has a link to upload a picture of your face and you can “try on” different pair.

  • Esther says:

    If you order from Zenni, what do you do if you need a slight adjustment of your frames (eg. need the ear piece or nose pads adjusted)? Can you just take them to a walk-in place (like LensCrafters) and will they adjust them for you?

    • Holli says:

      Esther I have used Walmart and other walk-in places to do slight adjustments. I don’t tell them I bought them on line. I just tell them I didn’t buy them here, but I ask them if they could adjust them, and they have always done it.

  • DixyAnn says:

    I have tried getting my husband glasses from online companies before and they don’t offer a script strong enough. Fortunately my husbands script hasn’t changed in many years and we only need to get him new glasses every 4-5 years. With the high deducible health savings plan, it doesn’t seem too bad.

  • Jenna says:

    I got the first pair free from coastal.com. They were super cheap because I only had to pay for shipping but they didn’t fit right. I used there photo try on and they looked great and I did all the measurements but they were too small on my face in person. Additionally they sat slightly crooked on my face after wearing them a few times. If you wear glasses just for fun it may be a good option but if you care a lot about the quality and fit or have higher visual demands (like needing progressives) I wouldn’t recommend getting them online.

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