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Save Money on Eyewear this Year

by Contributor

After reflecting at the end of this year, I realized that this had been a good year for my personal finances. I was able to set up an account on Mint.com, I opened a rewards credit card, began automating my finances, and I began to save money by more actively purchasing items online – including items you may not normally think to purchase online.

How to save money buying glasses and contacts online

This past February I broke my glasses and went to the optical store to get new frames. I don’t have a lot of disposable income, so I pretty surprised when I saw that a new pair of eyeglasses would cost me $249.99

I am a college student, so I am sure you can understand that I did not have that money to spend. That said, I also needed glasses to read. After asking the store owner if there were any discounts at the store (there were none) I went online to see if I could find any and I stumbled upon several articles about purchasing glasses online.

The New York Times and several notable newspapers had written about this, but this was the first time I learned that you can purchase eyewear online for significantly less. When I looked online I discovered I could purchase the exact same pair of eyeglasses online that I had been looking at for less than half the price. According to the New York Times, a frame that costs less than $25 to make in Europe can retail for at least $150 at an optical shop in the United States.

At that point I decided to purchase my glasses online, but I didn’t know where to start. I stumbled upon the blog GlassyEyes, a blog dedicated to purchasing glasses online, and I found out everything I needed to know.

I learned that all I needed in order to buy glasses online was a prescription and a PD measurement from my eye doctor, and that the doctor was required to give this to me. Also, the customer service at some of the online stores is great; you can even call them for help finding the best frames for yourself.

I normally have my frames adjusted, and apparently you can just go to a local optical shop and they will do it for a very small fee.

Where to buy glasses, sunglasses, and contacts online

If you want to know where to start, here were some popular websites to purchase glasses:

  1. www.Eyeglasses.com: Website that sells glasses; received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  2. www.goggles4u.com: Sells prescription glasses and sunglasses online.
  3. www.EyeBuyDirect.com: Popular website for glasses. 5% off any EyeBuyDirect.com order! Code: EYEBUYPROMO

You can purchase more than just glasses online though. It turns out that the online contact industry is very large as well. You can save up to $10 per contact box if you purchase online. I have several friends that do this and they really recommend it.

Here are some popular websites to purchase contacts:

  1. www.1800contacts.com: Very well known website that sells prescription and colored contacts online; you can see some their commercials on television.
  2. www.Lens.com: Another popular website

Lastly, you can purchase sunglasses online. Looking back, I cannot believe I once spent $200 on a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses at the Sunglass hut. Here are some good online stores:

  1. www.FramesDirect.com: Largest glasses website online, they sell prescription glasses, contacts, sunglasses, and more.
  2. www.Zappos.com: They now sell sunglasses!

Purchasing eyewear online does not only lower my costs, but it is also convenient.

I hope you all had a great New Years and I hope this post was of help to you for the upcoming year!

About the author. Terry is currently a student who is interested in personal finance and saving money so he can improve his finances and help his family. He enjoys reading, learning, and sharing his findings with others.


Published or updated May 23, 2011.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 fredct

I figured you deserved a comment because its a good post. I do hope people are aware of options for vision purchases other than their local opticians/doctors, who are often (not always) a fair deal more expensive.

I’ve been buying contacts online for years and the savings are substantial. Even though my vision plan covers more if I buy through the doctor, its *still* cheaper for me to purchase online. The major two online contact vendors are very good – 800Contacts (the bigger) & VisionDirect (part of drugstore.com). I’ve actually heard some really questionable things about Lens.com by reading feedback on eopinons and elsewhere. Its not the quality as much as taking a long long time to ship and tacking on pretty-well-hidden fees. So buyer beware with them.

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2 Uncanny

Zenni Optical is by far the cheapest place to get prescription glasses or sunglasses.

Seriously. They start at $8 + $5 shipping. They’re made in China, but it takes only about 2 weeks to receive an order. I ordered mine with a friend to split shipping. Now that’s a good deal!

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