Your Money MattersConsumer Reports


Consumer Reports: Best ways to buy eyeglasses

Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 16:41:38-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - There’s no question you’ll get more personal attention when shopping for glasses in a brick and mortar store than you will online. But a survey of Consumer Reports readers in 2019 brings into sharp focus the big drawback at traditional retailers: price. Consumer Reports readers who bought their glasses at a store and paid out of pocket spent a median of $234 per pair. Online though, the median price was just $91. Even so, the vast majority of those surveyed, 93% bought their eyeglasses in a store.

“Our readers valued things like the skilled fitting and follow-up service you get with a real salesperson," says Karen Jaffe, Consumer Report.

Costco’s eyeglass store, where you can get personal service and a reasonable price, was among the top retailers in the most recent Consumer Reports ratings. The frame selection, however, was deemed more limited than at independent retailers or the top online stores. Three online stores, Warby Parker, Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect, joined Costco at the top of the survey with good prices, but Zenni and EyeBuyDirect did not do as well on quality.

“A tip for getting the best of both worlds is shop around for the frames you like. And then go to a discount store like Costco or Walmart for the lenses," says Jaffe.

The technicians at these discount stores often can put the lenses you’ve purchased there in the frames you’ve brought in for an additional service charge of under $40.

If you are planning on buying your glasses online, make sure when you have your eye exam that your doctor measures your pupillary distance . That’s the distance between the center of each of your pupils. Online vendors will need that to create your glasses properly.