According to The Vision Council of America, approximately 164 million Americans wear eyeglasses. Additionally, the average consumer reports spending nearly $130 for their frames, and almost 40% of wearers have two or more pairs of glasses.
Considering how expensive glasses are and the fact that they’re a necessity, it’s unsurprising it’s a $131 billion industry in the United States.
Thankfully, there are ways to save money on contact lenses and glasses if you know where and how to shop. Like many industries, online retailers make it easier to find high-quality prescription glasses at affordable prices. Plus, there are affordable in-store eyewear options if you know where to look.
Where to Buy Affordable Eyeglasses
Thanks to these retailers, there’s no longer a reason to pay full price for your next frame upgrade or new pair of glasses.
1. Glasses USA
- Pros: Large clearance section; free shipping; student discount; extensive vision insurance network
- Cons: Eyewear that isn’t on clearance isn’t as affordable as other options; expensive progressive lenses
- Verdict: Check Glasses USA for sales before buying from other online eyewear stores, but stick to their clearance section for savings
Glasses USA is one of the most affordable ways to buy eyeglasses online. Glasses USA also carries contact lenses and sunglasses, but prescription eyewear is where this website shines. If you shop on clearance, you can get frames up to 60% off and 25% off prescription lenses.
Glasses USA carries a range of brands and frame styles for adults and kids, including designer name-brand glasses like Ray-Ban, Coach, Oakley, and Givenchy.
You can also buy blue-light-blocking glasses for any prescription for $29 extra. These glasses have lenses that filter emissions from electronic devices, reducing eyestrain.
Once you select a frame style, you can use a virtual mirror to see how the glasses suit your face shape. This feature requires uploading a photo or using your webcam. If you’re happy with the frame, choose your new lens type and submit your prescription before ordering. You can provide your prescription manually or upload a photo.
Frames start at $19 on clearance. Regular frames start at $39 but can range to several hundred dollars for designer pairs. Lens pricing varies depending on their type, although some lenses are included with the frame price:
- Single Vision: Included in frame pricing
- Near Vision: Included in frame pricing
- Progressive: $169
- Bifocal: $99
- Nonprescription: Included in frame pricing
You can also upgrade your lens package if you want to add coatings for scratch resistance, ultraviolet (UV) protection, and antireflection. It costs approximately $10 to $30 more to upgrade bifocal lenses to the thinnest, highest-quality lenses. Upgrading progressive lenses costs an additional $20 to $60.
Finally, you can upgrade to transition lenses for $149 or buy prescription sunglass lenses with a color tint for an additional $29 or mirrored tint for $49.
Glasses USA works with numerous vision insurance providers, including United Healthcare, Cigna, Davis Vision, Aetna, and Humana. You can also refer friends to Glasses USA for a free Amazon gift card ($10), and the person you refer gets 10% off their first order.
For shipping, U.S. and Canadian orders are free. Most prescriptions take three to four business days to process. If you don’t like your glasses, you can return them for free within 14 days of arrival. This return policy makes Glasses USA a risk-free way to buy eyeglasses online.
- Pros: $6.95 eyewear is one of the cheapest options
- Cons: No free shipping; no complete refund policy; doesn’t accept vision insurance
- Verdict: Shop at Zenni if you aren’t picky about your frame options and want to keep costs as low as possible
With prices starting at $6.95 for single-vision prescription glasses, it’s hard to find a more affordable solution for eyewear than Zenni Optical.
Like Glasses USA, Zenni Optical carries various frame styles for adults and kids. In fact, there are thousands of frame designs. Plus, unlike many online glasses retailers, Zenni Optical also manufactures their own eyeglasses.
That cuts out intermediaries and the need to hold massive amounts of inventory, which is why Zenni Optical is so affordable. Once you find a design that appeals to you, you can also complete a virtual try-on to confirm you like the fit.
You must provide your pupillary distance (PD) to order glasses. However, measuring your PD is easy if your eye doctor hasn’t already done so. If you’ve never worn glasses before, you can also use the sizing chart to find the right fit. To finalize an order, enter your prescription information and confirm.
Prices include the frame, basic thin and single-vision prescription lenses, anti-scratch coating, and UV protection. You can add blue-light-blocking lenses to almost any Zenni frame starting at $16.95. Progressive lenses start at $27.95, and bifocals start at $17. You can also add a sunglass tint for $4.95.
Zenni Optical doesn’t accept insurance. However, if you have vision insurance, check with your provider to see if they will reimburse your total purchase from Zenni Optical or cover vision expenses up to a certain amount.
Standard U.S. shipping costs $4.95, and orders take 14 to 21 days to arrive. Zenni Optical also ships internationally. You have 30 days from receiving your glasses to make a return for a 50% refund or one-time 100% store credit reimbursement. If there is a manufacturing error or damage, you receive a full refund under the 30-day warranty.
If you’re looking for designer glasses or an extensive list of name brands, this website isn’t for you. However, if you want to buy cheap glasses online, it’s hard to beat a starting price of $6.95 for frames and low prices on both progressive and bifocal lenses.
- Pros: Some of the cheapest eyewear available; free shipping; student and veteran discounts; loyalty program
- Cons: No free shipping unless you spend $99 or more; doesn’t accept vision insurance
- Verdict: Shop at EyeBuyDirect if you’re a student or veteran or can make use of their loyalty program bonuses
EyeBuyDirect is another affordable option to buy eyeglasses online. It’s a worthwhile option if you’re shopping for higher-end brands on a budget.
EyeBuyDirect only sells three brands: Ray-Ban, Oakley, and their exclusive brand RFLKT. However, there’s still plenty of frame variety to choose from for adults and kids. Additionally, if you shop for sales, you can find eyeglasses for up to 50% off.
If the sales section is still too pricey, EyeBuyDirect also sells cheap glasses that rival Zenni Optical’s $6.95 pairs. This category has a range of eyeglass frames between $6 and $15, and standard lenses cost $6.95. Bifocal lenses are $29, and progressive lenses are $49. There’s also a range of customization options, like lens tinting and blue-light blocking, but you can keep costs down if you stick with the basics. Blue-light-blocking lenses start at $19, tinting starts at $4.95, and transition lenses start at $35.95.
You also have options for coating upgrades. Standard lenses come with anti-scratch and antireflective coatings. However, there are three other lens options available:
- Value Lenses: Up to 20% thinner than standard lenses; adds UV protection; $30.95 more
- Advanced Lenses: Up to 25% thinner than value lenses; adds UV protection; $45.90 more
- Premium Lenses: Up to 25% thinner than value lenses; adds UV blocking, anti-smudge, and dust- and water-repellent coatings; $79.90 more
Upgrading to thinner lenses with different coatings can increase the cost quite significantly.
However, EyeBuyDirect keeps prices low by shipping directly from their manufacturers to your door. If you join the free loyalty program by spending at least $99 within a year, you also unlock:
- A buy-one, get-one offer
- Free U.S. shipping
- 15% off purchases with unlimited uses
- 30% off a sunglasses purchase
- 20% off a single purchase
- A free eyeglasses case
- Early access to new collections
Like Zenni Optical, EyeBuyDirect doesn’t accept insurance, so check with your vision care provider before shopping to see if they can reimburse you.
Regular U.S. shipping costs $5.95 unless your order is $99 or more. EyeBuyDirect also ships internationally starting from $19. You have 14 days to make a return for a replacement or refund. Your glasses are also covered for one year if there are evident defects in material and build.
If you don’t mind the lack of brands and want incredibly affordable eyeglasses, EyeBuyDirect is one of the best websites to shop.
4. Warby Parker
- Pros: Free shipping; high-quality eyewear at a reasonable price; extensive vision insurance network
- Cons: Not the cheapest eyewear option
- Verdict: Shop at Warby Parker if you want eyewear with a designer feel that’s still affordable, especially if you have insurance, and to utilize their free at-home try-on service
Unlike online eyeglass retailers, Warby Parker sells both online and in dozens of retail locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Warby Parker isn’t the cheapest option for eyewear. But if you’re looking for designer quality and affordability, Warby Parker is still a contender.
Prescription eyeglasses start at $95 for adults, and this price includes single-vision lenses. Progressive lenses are an additional $200. Lenses are scratch-resistant, antireflective, and have UV protection. You can upgrade to blue-light-protective lenses for $50 or add transition lenses for $100.
Warby Parker also carries prescription sunglasses that start at $175 for single-vision lenses. Sunglasses with progressive lenses cost $375.
Orders have free shipping and returns, and you can also book an eye exam, including a contact lens fitting, for $75.
Warby Parker is certainly more expensive than websites like EyeBuyDirect. However, if you see how Warby Parker glasses are made, the price makes sense. Every frame is hand-assembled and polished and uses premium materials. If you’re not satisfied with your pair, you have 30 days to return them for a full refund or exchange. You also have a one-year no-scratch guarantee for all eyewear.
But Warby Parker goes beyond virtual try-ons that the other websites use. Simply complete a short home try-on quiz, pick five frames you’re considering, and get them shipped to your home. When you find the right fit, finish your purchase online and ship the frames back to Warby Parker for free. Warby Parker ships to customers in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
If you want to buy quality eyeglasses while on a budget, Warby Parker is an excellent choice. The prices won’t compete with the cheapest eyeglass options, but with Warby Parker, you get what you pay for.
Additionally, Warby Parker partners with 10 vision insurance providers, so your purchase might be eligible for coverage.
- Pros: Free shipping; a range of 10% discounts; benefits for certain vision insurance providers
- Cons: Limited clearance section and expensive lens upgrades
- Verdict: If you have vision insurance with Eyeconic partners or want to take advantage of a 10%-off bonus, shop at Eyeconic
If you prefer certain name-brand eyewear or want variety, Eyeconic offers more choice than most online eyewear retailers. In fact, Eyeconic carries nearly 50 brands for adults and kids, including Cole Haan, Columbia, Jones New York, Kate Spade, Oakley, and Saint Laurent.
Frames start at around $120 unless you find a sale. This price includes single-vision lenses with scratch-resistant coating and UV protection. Progressive lenses add approximately $60 to $70 to the price, depending on your frames. Unfortunately, prescription sunglasses don’t include free prescription lenses, and the cheapest pair of single-vision-lens sunglasses starts at $168.
If you want an antireflective coating and impact-resistant lenses, you can also upgrade to the gold lens package for $80. The platinum lens package is $120 extra and includes Eyeconic’s thinnest lenses. Finally, you can upgrade to blue-light-protective lenses for $84 or transition lenses for $70.
If you shop on clearance, you can usually find pairs from designer brands for between $100 and $150. Clearance inventory isn’t where Eyeconic shines, and the selection is admittedly limited. However, where Eyeconic differs from the competition is in their eyewear discounts. Current discounts include:
- 10% off your first order after signing up for Eyeconic’s newsletter
- 10% off for students, teachers, military members, first responders, and seniors
- Free frame adjustment at participating in-network doctors
- 20% off on eyewear for VSP, MetLife, and Cigna members
- $40 or more in credits for VSP, MetLife, and Cigna members for connecting their vision insurance to their Eyeconic account
Eyeconic also states that VSP, MetLife, and Cigna members can save up to $220 on eyewear and contacts. Vision insurance is the best way to save money on eyewear at many retailers, but Eyeconic promotes these savings across their website.
If you have vision insurance with a different provider, you can complete an out-of-network claim form and still benefit from coverage. Note that an out-of-network claim doesn’t guarantee a discount or up to $220 in savings if your provider doesn’t have the same arrangement with Eyeconic.
Standard ground shipping is free. Currently, Eyeconic only ships within the U.S.
Eyeconic isn’t the cheapest way to buy eyeglasses online if you don’t have vision insurance. However, between their 10% discount and vision insurance promotions, it’s an excellent option for VSP-, MetLife-, and Cigna-covered individuals looking specifically for designer eyewear.
6. Costco Optical
- Pros: In-store optometrists; free shipping on orders of $75 or more; accepts most vision insurance plans
- Cons: Not the cheapest eyewear option; requires an annual Costco membership
- Verdict: Shop at Costco Optical if you already have a Costco membership and prefer buying eyewear in person or need to see an optometrist
For many households, shopping at Costco is an easy solution to save money by buying in bulk without sacrificing on quality. Warehouse stores generally charge a lower markup than regular retailers, which is why a warehouse membership is often worth it.
Costco isn’t as cheap as online retailers like Zenni Optical. According to Clark.com, the price of an entry-level pair of single-vision glasses at Costco is approximately $126. However, when you consider the quality of service and availability of Costco, it’s easy to see why Costco Optical is a popular choice for those who prefer shopping for eyewear in person.
You can also shop online at Costco Optical. However, you need an up-to-date prescription, and the risk of buying the wrong frame is higher than shopping in the store. At Costco, you have trained opticians to assist you at every step, from your eye exam to finding the right frame.
Costco accepts most vision insurance plans. You can shop for a range of brand-name and designer frames, like Oakley and Balmain. Costco also carries Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses, which are antireflective and provide higher-definition vision at any distance.
If you don’t shop at Costco and would only use your membership for optical purchases, the cost probably isn’t worth it. However, when you consider the quality of service and multiple ways to save money at Costco, their optical center is an affordable option for members.
7. Sam’s Club Optical
- Pros: Free shipping; 20% off eyewear with plus membership; in-store optometrists
- Cons: Requires an annual Sam’s Club membership
- Verdict: Shop at Sam’s Club if you already have a membership there and don’t have vision insurance to take advantage of a 20% discount
Sam’s Club is an affordable way to buy everything from electronics and furniture to office supplies, groceries, and sporting goods. A basic membership only costs $45 per year. You can also buy the plus membership for $100 and earn 2% cash back on select purchases, enjoy free shipping, and get free select prescriptions.
But the plus membership also provides 20% off a pair of prescription eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses at regular price. Unfortunately, the offer doesn’t apply if you use vision insurance.
The optical center is also more affordable than Costco’s. Designer frames with nonglare, single-vision lenses start as low as $59. According to Consumer Reports, you can find basic progressive lenses at Sam’s Club for as low as $79. You can also change your lenses and frames to suit your needs. Lens options like Pentax are similar to Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses, and options like UV protection and adaptive lenses are available.
You can’t purchase prescription eyewear online with Sam’s Club. However, like Costco, Sam’s Club has on-site optometrists, so you can schedule an eye exam. Sam’s Club generally accepts popular vision insurance plans but states that you should contact your local Sam’s Club to check eligible providers.
If you want to save money on everyday purchases alongside eyewear, signing up for a Sam’s Club membership is undoubtedly worth the money.
- Pros: 4% cash-back rewards program; extensive vision insurance network
- Cons: No free shipping unless you spend $99
- Verdict: Shop at 39DollarGlasses during a sale period or if your household can take advantage of the EyeBucks rewards program with multiple purchases
If you want a happy medium between $6.95 eyeglasses from Zenni Optical and more expensive in-store brands, 39DollarGlasses is for you.
As the name suggests, 39DollarGlasses carries a variety of prescription glasses for $39. Prescription sunglasses are only $48.95. All eyewear purchases include single-vision lenses, and regular bifocals and progressive lenses cost $80.
You can also add lens customizations like HD light and thin or polarized lenses. For single-vision glasses, it’s possible to stay at $39 if you don’t add customizations. Otherwise, expect to pay at least $100 to $150 for a pair of prescription eyewear. Blue-light-protective lenses are also available for an extra $50.
You can save more money by joining the EyeBucks rewards program. Once you make a purchase, you’re automatically enrolled. This loyalty program pays 4% of eyeglasses purchases in cash-back account credits, and credits don’t expire.
Shipping is free if you spend more than $99. Otherwise, regular shipping costs $4.95, and most orders arrive within two weeks. The company also ships internationally. For returns, you have 90 days to seek in-store credit after delivery. If you want a refund, you only have 30 days, and shipping charges are nonrefundable.
The company occasionally offers coupon codes and seasonal bonuses, so remember to visit their website when shopping around for a new pair of eyewear. The company also partners with 10 vision insurance providers, including Aetna, EyeMed, Humana, and Avesis.
- Pros: Free shipping; affordable starting frames
- Cons: Fewer options for lens coating customization; no blue-light protection for progressive lenses
- Verdict: DiscountGlasses.com has a competitive clearance section, although there are fewer frame options on sale than websites like Glasses USA
DiscountGlasses.com is another affordable online eyewear retailer that carries over 1,000 designs for adults and kids. Plus, with frames starting at $13.96 on clearance and $20 for non-clearance frames, DiscountGlasses.com has an affordable entry point for eyewear.
Pricing includes single-vision lenses. You can upgrade to thin or ultra-thin lenses for an extra $19.99 or $49.99. Basic progressive lenses cost an additional $59.99, meaning you can find progressive lens eyewear starting at approximately $79.99 if you buy the cheapest non-clearance frames. Thin and ultra-thin progressive lens upgrades cost $20.99 and $50.99.
There are also several upgrades available for your lenses:
- Blue-Light Protection: Only available for single-vision lenses for $19 extra
- Transition Lenses: Available for single-vision and progressive lenses for $79.99 extra
- Sun Tint: Turn eyeglasses into sunglasses with UV protection for $5
- Antireflective Coating: Costs an additional $20
DiscountGlasses.com also carries prescription sunglasses starting at $27.96 on clearance and $39.95 for non-clearance frames. Lenses start at an extra $9.99, although you can upgrade to thin and ultra-thin lenses for $30 and $49 extra. Adding polarized lenses costs an additional $10.
DiscountGlasses.com states they are an out-of-network provider for most insurance plans, including Davis Vision, EyeMed, Spectra/United Healthcare, and VSP. If you shop at DiscountGlasses.com, check with your current vision care provider to see if you have coverage.
Standard U.S. shipping is free with DiscountGlasses.com, regardless of your order total, which is a plus. There’s also a 365-day return policy under which you can return eyewear for store credit or a replacement pair if you’re unsatisfied with your eyewear.
Unless you get laser eye surgery, spending money on eyeglasses or contacts is an inevitable part of your annual budget.
Vision care is expensive. However, you don’t have to pay full price for eyewear or let expensive designer frames drain your bank account. If you shop for deals and understand your health insurance coverage, it’s easy to buy discount eyeglasses that are both stylish and affordable.
Just remember to schedule regular eye exams to ensure your prescription is up to date. The cost of an eye exam is worth ensuring your prescription actually helps your vision, and you can make up the cost by never overpaying for eyewear again.