How Buying Glasses (and Sunglasses!) Online Can Have You Looking Good on the Cheap

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gone are the days when prescription eyeglasses were just an (often looked-down-on) necessity. Now this sight-saver can be economical, flattering, and fun. Save major money by buying online, all while embracing glasses (and sunglasses!) as new hot fashion items.


Buying glasses online saves you on average about 75% over traditional retail store prices ($29 versus $200-$300 per pair). That is a major price difference considering that the same labs that make the $200-$300 doctor’s office glasses are the labs that make the online glasses (it’s true!). Though you may not have considered buying glasses online before, don’t be daunted—it’s actually quite easy once you know how to do it. Simply go to a site online equipped with the knowledge below. Once you have these three essentials, ordering is as easy as a mouse click.

Know Your Frame—Look inside an existing frame, usually on the temple, for a series of numbers like 50-18-140. These are the lens width, bridge size, and temple length, respectively. Then, you can search for a frame according to style, with the measurements to know how the glasses will fit. These measurements are in millimeters, so they only need to be close, not exact. When you find the frames you love, it’s time to personalize the lenses.

Know Your Prescription—Have your glasses prescription ready (yes, this is different than your contact prescription). Simply ask your eye doctor for it at your next visit, or have your doctor fax it to you. Your eyeglasses prescription includes many numbers and parts. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this. Understanding is just a mouse click away.

Know Your Pupillary Distance (PD)—This is the distance between your pupils. Ask your eye doctor for this measurement. You can also take it yourself. Having your PD ensures your lenses will align to your eyes properly.


Glasses can make or break your look—so buy with yourself in mind. Make sure to get the right frame, the right style, and even the right color to match your coloring and wardrobe.

First, consider your face shape. The basic rule of buying frames is to accentuate your positive facial features while drawing attention away from the negative. How this translates is pretty simple: If you have a round face, you want to draw attention away from the roundness by getting a contrasting pair of glasses—say a square frame. If you have a square face, you’d want to do the opposite and go with a rounded frame. Long faces benefit from wide frames, and short faces benefit from frames that seem to “stretch” the face, like cat-eyed frames.

Second, consider all the details that go into making a pair of glasses that you will like. What style do you typically wear—are you commonly wearing more vibrant, modern clothes, or are you a business professional? This influences whether you want to get that cute zebra-print frame that will really pop or perhaps a more traditional, less obtrusive wire-frame.

Last, consider your coloring. Are you warm or cool? If you don’t know, check out this article for simple ways to tell. Taking a look at your wardrobe can also steer you toward a frame you will love wearing.


You don’t wear the same clothes every day (though your toddler may want to!)—why wear the same glasses? You can actually use glasses as an economical but very powerful (and visual, haha) accessory. Because you can get high-quality glasses for cheap online, you can have the freedom to own multiple pairs of glasses and sunglasses to match according to outfit, mood, weather—whatever—and still have money saved that you would have spent on one retail store pair.


Now that you know how to economize, personalize, and accessorize with your glasses—get to it. An attractive new look is just a pair of glasses away.
By Jocelyn Gibbons

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