Best Places to Buy Glasses, by Mary Hunt

There are several ways to buy prescription glasses, including local opticians, independent optometrists, optical services at big-box retailers, and online-only sellers. Whichever option you choose, the good news is that prescription glasses don’t have to cost hundreds of dollars.

There are two ways to buy prescription glasses: in person or online. To use an online provider, you will first need to see an eye doctor for a routine exam. It’s surprisingly easy to upload your prescription to buy glasses online.

There are a number of things to consider before deciding where to buy glasses, such as frame quality, lens accuracy, customer service, total price including shipping, return and return policies. reimbursement and accessibility. Using these criteria and my research, here are eight of the best places to order glasses.


Costco Optical is definitely worth visiting if you’re more comfortable ordering frames in person, which is the traditional way, and you’re a Costco member. Costco Optical is by far my #1 choice for in-store optical services. This is a great place to get a quality eye exam and comprehensive optical services.

Costco Optical’s customer service is extraordinary, much like you would find in the offices of an independent Doctor of Optometry. The big difference is not just how much money you save at Costco, but also the top-notch service after the sale. If you’re not satisfied, Costco will refund you, unless state law prohibits it.

At Costco Optical, an eye exam costs an average of $79. Glasses, including frames and lenses, start at $120.

BEST GLASSES ONLINE is an industry disruptor when it comes to buying eyewear. The online-only store has the absolute cheapest prices on plastic frames and includes the cost of single vision plastic lenses in those prices – starting at $6.95. Progressive lenses are surprisingly affordable.

You can actually try on frames using the virtual try-on tool (it’s so simple how it works). With its great prices and customer service, Zenni is the best place to buy glasses online.

I have been a customer of Zenni Optical for several years and always find it to be the best place to buy prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. Several times I saw my Costco eye doctor for a routine exam, then went, prescription in hand, to Zenni Optical to select and purchase the glasses. It’s easy.

At Zenni, you’ll find a wide range of frame styles and lens options available, and it’s easy to place an order through their website. You can expect your glasses to ship for $4.95. They usually take three to five business days to arrive.

I should note that while in the past Zenni has not been up to par with their customer service, the company has really stepped it up in recent years. I have never had a problem. In fact, once when I needed a return when the frames weren’t fitting well, Zenni replaced my purchase promptly with no questions asked. Zenni’s customer service is excellent.


Costco Optical and Zenni Optical aren’t the only great places to buy prescription glasses. However, due to lack of space here and for your convenience, I have compiled details of six additional best sources for buying eyeglasses at


Cheap prices from online retailers can be very appealing. Remember that before ordering from a site like Zenni Optical, you must have an exam and an updated prescription from an ophthalmologist. Once you have this in hand, the online provider will walk you through the steps to submit your prescription.

You will also need to know your pupillary distance, which is the space between the centers of your pupils, measured in millimeters. Some frames will not work with certain pupillary distances because the center of the lenses will either be too wide or too narrow. You need a perfect fit.

If your pupillary distance is already noted on your prescription, you are good to go. Otherwise, many doctors will provide this information upon request.

Under the Federal Trade Commission’s eyewear rule, physicians must:

— Give you a prescription for glasses at the end of your examination.

— Do not charge extra or sign a waiver in exchange for the prescription.

— Do not require that you buy your glasses from the ophthalmologist to obtain your prescription,

In some states, your doctor is also required to give you your pupillary distance. You can still request it even if it is not included in your prescription. If all else fails and you have a doctor who just isn’t cooperating, you can follow Zenni Optical’s guide on their website on how to measure your pupillary distance at home.

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments to, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living”.

Photo credit: Sophkins at Pixabay

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