The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Buying Eyeglasses Online

So you are planning to buy your eye wear online for the first-time? That’s great news! There are plenty of excellent reasons for doing this including convenience, affordability, and endless style options. While there are many benefits to buying your glasses online, it is understandable that you might feel deterred or confused by the whole process, especially when you are doing it for the first time. After all, there are several things to consider including frame size, lens prescription, and many other factors. Fortunately, we have put together this comprehensive guide to help make your online eyeglasses buying experience much smoother and easier. In this post, we will discuss everything you need to do when you buy eye wear online.

Make Sure You Have an Updated Prescription: Before you end up wasting time and money on lenses that don’t represent your prescription, first make sure the prescription you currently have is correct. If you haven’t seen your eye doctor in over a year, it is definitely time to get a routine eye exam before ordering new glasses online. By purchasing lenses with a prescription that is too strong or too weak, you will only end up hurting your eyes and doing long-term damage. So before you start doing your online shopping, make sure you have had your prescription updated in the last year.

Double Check Your Prescription When You Enter in The Info Online: Once you find the frame style you love, you will need to enter in your prescription online. And when you are doing this, you want to double, triple, and even quadruple check the numbers. Make sure you are familiar with terms like cylinder, axis, and sphere, and that you put the correct numbers in each box. Fortunately, most online eye wear retailers will have a guide on their website to help you understand how to correctly input prescription information. If you do not know what your prescription is, you can call your eye doctor and ask them to mail it to you.

Pick Frames That Match Your Lifestyle: Keep in mind what you are doing on a daily basis when you are picking out your frame style. If you lead a particularly active lifestyle or participate heavily in athletics yet don’t wear contacts, you want to pick frames that suit your level of activity. Alternatively, if you work at a desk eight hours a day staring at a computer screen or reading dense paperwork, you will want frames that are more suited for this lifestyle.

Pick Frames That Match Your Personal Style: If you’re sporty, chances are you will want some sporty frames. And if you like vintage or hipster styles, you will want modern, trendy glasses. The good news about shopping for eye wear online is that you will be able to browse through literally thousands of different style options. When you are shopping online, you are going to have a substantially larger number of options to choose from than you would if you were standing in at eye doctor’s office and looking at their smaller selection of eye wear. Keep in mind your preferences regarding fit, frame style, color, lens size, lens shape, and detail or patterns.

Don’t Forget Your Face: You want to pick eye wear that is flattering on your face, therefore it is important to keep in mind the shape and size of your face. For example, if you have a rounder facial structure, round lenses might not be the best look. However rectangular frames on a round face generally tend to be the better option. If you have an oval-shaped face, look for frame and lens styles with more vibrant colors and a thicker, bolder frame. For people with square-shaped faces, frames that are lighter in color and thinner in size tend to be best.

Know Your Coating Options And What You Want: Today, glasses are made with a variety of protective coatings and there is a strong chance you are going to want to get certain coatings for your lenses. Some retailers include a specific coating or two with the purchase of the eye wear while others require an extra fee for coatings. Two of the most important coatings would be an anti-scratch coating and an anti-reflective coating. Both are pretty self-explanatory and serve to protect your lenses and shield your eyes from annoying light glares that could distort your vision. Other less common coatings include tints and mirror coatings. Tinted lenses serve to change the color of the lenses or darken them while mirror coating helps fight the glare from harsh sunlight. This is a useful coating for people who spend a lot of time driving on bright, sunny days.

Know Your Measurements: The most important thing to do when buying your glasses online is enter in the correct lens prescription. However, knowing the measurements for your frame is equally as important. After all, if you end up buying eye wear that is too big or too small for your face, you certainly would not be able to wear those glasses and see clearly as you need to. Most online eye wear retailers will have a guide to help you figure out how to properly measure your head and face for your new glasses. If you still have your old pair of glasses, you definitely want to use that as a reference for entering in measurements for your new frame. Most frames will have your exact measurements on the inside of the frames (look at one of the arms). If not, you can use the guide on the eye wear retailer’s website to do it manually. You will need to measure the lens width, arm length, and bridge width. Without proper measurements, the arms of the frame won’t fit around your head correctly, the bridge will either be too big or too small for your noise, and lenses will sit uncomfortably on your face.

Figure Out Whether You Need Standard Lenses or Thinner Lenses: If you have a stronger prescription, you are going to want to go with thinner lenses. Why? Because when you have a stronger prescription, the lenses will become thicker and in turn heavier on your face. Fortunately, manufacturers have high index lenses that are thinner and therefore more comfortable to wear. Thinner lenses also tend to be more attractive and flattering on the face. If you have a weak prescription, you won’t have to worry about the thickness or thinness of the lenses and can stick with standard lenses.

Understand Pupillary Distance: It would not be unusual for you not to know what your pupillary distance is or what to check for which is why most online eye wear retailers will do this for you. The first thing to do if you don’t know what your pupillary distance is or how to check for it is to call your eye doctor to ask for your records. If you can’t contact your eye doctor, but you still have your old eye wear with you, see if you can send in your old glasses to the retailer so that they can check the pupillary distance for you. In general the pupillary distance for most adults will be anywhere from 60 to 66 millimeters. Finally, if you plan to figure out the pupillary distance on your own, you can follow instructions on the online retailer’s website or purchase a PD ruler to do the measurements yourself.

After-Purchase Adjustments: If after purchasing and receiving your glasses from an online retailer you find that they don’t fit correctly, you have a few different options regarding adjustments. Most online retailers will have instructions available to help you adjust your glasses on your own. You may also be able to send them back with the proper measurements to have the retailer adjust them for you. Finally, you could go to your eye doctor or an optician to get your glasses adjusted and fitted properly. Be prepared to pay a fee (usually small) for this service.

Some Final Bells and Whistles: After determining your frame style, size, color, prescription, and frame measurements, you will want to finish up by considering a few final things. Depending on the type or brand of the eye wear you choose, you could get some added features like UV protection, photochromatic lenses, or anti-fog lenses. Whether or not you get any of these features typically depends on the environment you spend most of your time in. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it would be wise to invest in some photochomatic lenses (lenses that transition from clear inside to tinted outside in sunlight) as well as UV protection to protect your eyes from UV rays. 

Looking for more advice on how to buy eye wear online or do you have a specific question you need answered? Please do not hesitate to contact us today with any questions or comments you have. You can also keep reading our other blog posts for more free resources or visit our official website today to start shopping for your eye wear!

  1. Cathyleen Requejo says:

    This information was very helpful

    • SanMartin says:

      Hi Cathyleen,

      We are glad you find our post very helpful, thank you for your time to review it.

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