Tips for Buying Affordable and High-Quality Women's Glasses and Frames

While glasses can be great fashion accessories, they also serve an essential function—allowing you to see clearly. But glasses can be expensive, especially if you have a high prescription. With online retailers gaining popularity and even venerable brick-and-mortar opticians embracing web shopping, buying glasses is easier than ever. But where should you look? It depends on your needs and preferences. Consider a local optical shop or optometrist’s office if you’re looking for great frames and personal service.

Look for Discounts

One of the best ways to save money on women’s glasses and frames is to look for discounts. Many online retailers have coupon codes you can use at checkout, and some offer buy-one-get-one specials or BOGO. You can also shop for prices at different online retailers and compare the selections. Another way to save is by taking advantage of retailers’ online offerings that carry your preferred brand.

Take Advantage of Your Vision Insurance Benefits

Many employers offer vision insurance as part of their benefits packages, and you can also buy it on your own. Whether your employer offers it or not, it’s worth taking advantage of. Most vision insurance plans cover a pair of glasses and an annual eye exam. The best online retailers make it easy to use your vision coverage with streamlined shopping and ordering processes and an array of frames.

If you don’t have vision insurance, look for an online retailer that accepts HSA or FSA funds to save even more. Check out their return and exchange policy; many retailers will let you try on your new frames and then send them back within a specific period if they don’t work out. If you have vision insurance, ask your doctor for your prescription and PD (pupillary distance) measurement.

A PD is a measurement that determines the diameter of your eyes, and you’ll need it to find the correct frame size for you. Most brick-and-mortar opticians are reluctant to share this information with non-customers, but you can get the measure using a ruler or by marking your current glasses.

Shop Online

Unlike going to a brick-and-mortar store, where you’re often sifted through countless frames that aren’t quite what you’re looking for, online retailers stock a wide range of styles. Many also allow you to upload a photo and “try on” different frames to see how they look. This service can save you the hassle of wasting money on frames that don’t suit your face shape or style.

Another perk of shopping online is that you can get a better idea of the quality of your glasses by reading reviews from other customers. It’s a good idea to check out reviews on the retailer’s website and review websites. Once you’ve found the frames you love, it’s time to choose lenses. Depending on your prescription, you can upgrade to thinner, lighter, or more impact-resistant lenses for a small additional cost.

Be sure to select a lens type that’s best for you, and consider what you’ll be doing with your glasses (e.g., reading in bed, playing sports, etc.). Once you’ve finished, double-check your order and payment information. Most online glasses vendors offer a generous return policy. You can even use funds from your FSA or HSA account to cover the cost of your new eyeglasses.

Know Your Face Shape

Knowing your face shape is essential, as this can help you determine what styles and colors of frames suit you best. The most common face shapes are oval, round, heart-shaped, and diamond-shaped. For example, a heart-shaped face typically has high cheekbones and a narrow chin like the point of a heart. Round faces have wide jaws and rounded cheeks.

Angular or square frames work best for these faces, as they add structure to the curves of a round face. When shopping online for glasses and frames, some sites will allow you to upload a picture of yourself to see how the frames look on your face. They will then let you zoom in to see how they look and make any necessary adjustments.

Some even recommend which frames look best with your face shape and style preferences. Awareness of your face shape when shopping for glasses is essential because poorly fitting frames can cause headaches and discomfort. It is a good idea to take your measurements at home and submit them with your order. You may be eligible to cover these costs if you have vision insurance. 

Know Your Eyeglasses Needs

If you plan to buy a new pair of glasses online, it pays to know your prescription needs. Suppose you have a complicated prescription, especially one that includes bifocals or progressive lenses. In that case, it’s best to go to an optician for a proper in-person fitting before ordering a pair online. There’s always the possibility that your prescription has changed since you last got glasses, so it’s essential to get a professional in-person fit.

Another consideration when choosing frames is how you’ll be using them. For example, if you work in front of a computer screen all day, you might need a pair with anti-reflective coatings to reduce halos around lights and help you see better on your monitor. Other add-ons, like polarized lenses that can reduce glare and enhance contrast or tinted lenses that darken in sunlight but are clear indoors, can also improve your experience with glasses.

Once you’ve nailed down the style, size, and add-ons that meet your vision needs, you can shop for frames. Look for retailers offering a wide selection of frame sizes and styles, and read reviews to find out what other customers have liked. Also, consider whether the retailer offers a home try-on kit or a two-month return window, which can save you money.