Buying Prescription Glasses Online: Debunking The Four Biggest Fears

Dear Len Penzo and Readers,

This article is sent with two main goals:

  1. To ease your fears of buying glasses online; and possibly more importantly,
  2. To reassure you that guest authors who write about online eyeglasses are not deceptive.

Here’s hoping I can restore some faith in both buying online and in guest authors.

New = Scary?

If you’re like most people, buying eyeglasses online is a new concept that you may be hesitant to try because of some overriding fears. I am here to reassure you that buying online is not only financially smart, it is easy, safe, and even guaranteed to impress.

So bring your fears to the table and let me at them.   I’ve listed the main fears of buying glasses online below and taken the sting out of each.

Here’s hoping you find the confidence to shop online next time you’re in the market for prescription eyeglasses.

Fear #1:   Ordering glasses online is too complicated.

No worries!   There is a vast array of resources to help you buy glasses online, but here are the basics:

  1. Get your prescription and your pupillary distance (PD) from your eye doctor.
    • Eye doctors are legally required to give you your prescription for free, but you do have to ask for it.
    • As for your PD, while most will give it to you, your doctor may charge a fee or even refuse, because they know that with both your prescription and your PD, you’re equipped to buy online. If you don’t get your PD from your eye doctor, you can always measure it yourself.
  2. Figure out what kind of glasses you want (and will look good on you).
    • Consider your face shape, personal style, lifestyle and all those little details that add up to a pair of glasses that you will love and actually want to wear. Here’s a great little article (written by yours truly) about finding your perfect glasses frame. It has all the in-depth tips you need to figure out which kind of glasses you really want.
  3. Find your glasses.
    • One of the beautiful things about shopping online is the nearly limitless inventory. You can find glasses as traditional or as modern as you’d like, as well as everything in-between. Just figure out what you want and then find it. Simple as that.
  4. Order the glasses!
    • I don’t really think this one needs a bullet-point, but it looked lonely without one. You know how to buy online. Just do that. But this time, it’s for prescription eyeglasses, instead of the typical books or DVDs or sweaters.

Fear #2: The glasses will be poor quality or even the wrong prescription.

Everyone who is familiar with the Internet knows there are reputable sites that are trustworthy and then there are the hack sites that don’t really use English or even make sense. You can tell the difference, right?

If you want quality glasses, be sure to go through a quality site. There are several reputable sites out there, and they sell the same quality of frames and lenses you find at typical optical retailers.

How can online retailers be so much cheaper?   Well, they can save on overhead costs such as sales staff, maintain expensive inventory and renting a retail location.   Also, like in many other businesses, they can sell cheaper because they do more volume.   While a typical optical retail location might sell one or two pairs per day, online sellers sell upwards of one-thousand pairs.

One major consideration in choosing between online retailers is that quality may be affected by the location of the labs. Some companies use labs located in Hong Kong and other locations overseas, whereas others are U.S.-based.   This can affect both quality and the time it takes to get your order.

Fear #3: The glasses won’t look good on me.

First off, let me say this: here at Just Eyewear, we have a return rate of less than two percent; most people love their glasses from their first go.   Still, I do concede that receiving unflattering glasses is a legitimate fear, as buying glasses online means you can’t physically try on the glasses.   However, resources are provided by glasses retailers to help you out.

As I already mentioned, you can check out tips for choosing a frame that looks good on you (using such factors as face shape, coloring, etc.). These tips will steer you toward a flattering pair of glasses.

If all else fails and you end up not liking your glasses, rest assured that return policies for online glasses retailers are often 100% satisfaction guaranteed. You can return glasses even if you simply don’t like them.

Online retailers want you to purchase from them and know that you’re taking a chance when you buy glasses without trying them on, so they provide lenient guarantee policies to help you feel safer making the purchase jump.

Fear #4: The glasses won’t fit right.

When you order glasses online, come ready with your frame size to ensure your glasses fit properly.   Simply find an old glasses frame that fits well and look inside the frame, usually on the temple, for a series of numbers, such as 50-18-140.   These are the lens width, bridge size, and temple length.   Then, you can use these measurements to find glasses that will fit.

As a note, the numbers are in millimeters, so they only need to be close, not exact. The lens width should be within 3-4mm, the bridge within 1-2mm, and the temple within 5mm.

Fear Not and Pocket the Savings

Buying glasses online may be unfamiliar territory but that’s no reason to not give it a shot.

After all, consider the outcome: saving hundreds of dollars on a pair of same-quality glasses simply from buying online instead of at the retailer. Think of what you can do with your savings what you can buy… what you can save for what you can invest.

Prescription eyeglasses may be a necessity, but they don’t have to create a financial burden, particularly if you buy online.

Special for Len Penzo dot Com readers! Use the checkout code LENPENZO to save 5% on your entire Just Eyewear order.

About the Author

Jocelyn Gibbons has a background in both creative and technical writing. She is currently the creative marketing director for Just Eyewear, an online prescription eyeglasses retailer.


  1. 1

    Jill says

    Great tips! I’m somebody who has feared buying glasses online but now I think I’ll give it a go! Thanks for those.

  2. 2

    Greg Patterson says

    Len, I totally agree. The one thing to note, for some like me, the vision insurance company and a major glasses retailer are one in the same. As a result, I have yet to find an online retailer that can beat the savings I get from buying in one of their stores (my recent pair of D&G frames and lenses cost me $42 out of pocked) But when I did not have vision coverage, I loved buying glasses and contacts online.

    • 3


      @Greg: Thanks for the info. By the way, I buy my contacts on-line and I love it! Much cheaper than going direct through my eye doctor, which I used to do many moons ago.

  3. 4


    I recently bought new glasses at zennioptical, too, and I like them plenty well. They’re the correct prescription, fit my head, and let me see clearly, plus they have clip on sunglasses, all for under $20 shipped.

    I did a mystery shop for an optician so I got the doctor’s visit for free.

    Compare this to four years ago when I got my last glasses and paid $100 for the office visit and $130 for glasses with clip on sunglasses, and I made out like a bandit! A bandit who can read street signs, even!

    • 5


      Wow! That’s awesome. My eye doctor visits run between $75 and $100. The last time I went though I didn’t get my money’s worth because the doctor gave up on trying to give me a glaucoma test – you know the one where they puff that air into your eyeball? I just couldn’t keep my eyeball still long enough for her to get a good reading. It’s kind of like asking you to hold still for a firing squad.

  4. 9


    I bought my last pair of glasses from for $8. They fit great and are the right prescription. I’ve never bought a pair of glasses in a store and I never will.

  5. 10


    I don’t wear glasses, but my wife does. Our insurance pays a set amount and we cover the rest. Next time we will compare buying on-line before automatically paying our eye doctor.

    And…I agree with Jocelyn. Even though we were told this was a guest post, I still thought I was reading Len’s writing. Well done!

  6. 13

    Carol L. Hill says

    As a Purchasing Agent, I purchase glasses for employees through the mail all the time; but had never purchased any for myself. I always thought, “how on earth can you select glasses out of a catalog?” But since the company was paying for them, employees took advantage of the service (safety glasses required for the job).

    When I received a buy one, get one free offer from, I thought I’d give it a try for my personal glasses (I’m not as vain as I used to be, my glasses didn’t have to be perfect). What an AMAZING experience. I ordered two pairs of glasses – one for me and one for my daughter – that’s right, the buy one, get one free offer did NOT have all kinds of restrictions and limitations, I could buy one pair for myself and get a totally different pair from an UNLIMITED selection absolutely FREE – and with a different prescription than the first pair!! Both pair with shipping and everything cost me $131. My prescription is very strong and usually my lenses alone cost more than $131.

    The TRULY amazing part is still to come; a month or two after I received my glasses, my new puppy apparently got mad at me for leaving him home alone, unattended too long and chewed up and destroyed my new glasses. The frames were demolished, but the lenses were fine except for one small scratch. I wrote to EyeBuyDirect and explained that I loved my new glasses but that they had met with a tragic fate and asked if it was at all possible that I could purchase replacement frames and reuse my lenses. Now, keep in mind, I DID tell them that my dog ate me glasses. Their response? Send pictures of the glasses (what was left of them) and they’d get back to me. I AM NOT LYING when I say, they replaced my glasses ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! They even used new lenses!

    I think you can confidently say, I am a true believer in who will definitely be a returning customer!

    -One Very Satisfied Customer! :)

    • 14

      Cynical Viewer says

      WOW, that web-site must be AMAZING! Great PRICES and great SERVICE!! I’m going to head right on over there. Oh hang on, you’re probably a shill for the web-site and have written a fake review. Never mind.

  7. 16

    Chris says

    I am a big fan of Visio-Rx personally. I like that they have an online P.D Meter and the glasses just seemed to be a bit more stylish. Buying glasses online beats going to the Brick and Mortar and being charged an arm and a leg.

  8. 17


    At, a California-based online glasses store, they sell great glasses starting from just $6, also provide free lenses and free shipping.

  9. 18

    James Wellington Wentworth says

    Google Luxottica, the 6th largest monopoly in the WORLD! This is why they won’t give you the PD, They virtually own the top 150 brands in glasses and all the vision and optic stores you have to buy them from.

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