What to look for, eye health, and more

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Both prescription and nonprescription glasses are available for purchase online, often providing more cost-effective and convenient buying options.

Prescription glasses are available at many online and traditional retailers. To purchase prescription glasses online, a person needs a current prescription from a licensed doctor.

This article discusses how to purchase glasses from an online retailer and the factors to consider.

Prescription glasses are available at many online and traditional retailers, but not all retailers operate in the same way.

To purchase prescription glasses online, a person needs a current prescription from a licensed eye doctor. In some cases, this is the only information necessary to place an order.

If a person wants to change their glasses but does not need to change their prescription, some companies, such as Liingo Eyewear, can read a person’s current pair of glasses to determine their prescription.

However, in most cases, individuals will need a copy of their current prescription, or they should ask their optometrist to provide a copy. Many companies will allow a person to purchase their glasses first and send in a copy of their prescription later.

Online retailers often have a large selection of frames and lenses. Frames come in several different styles and color options and offer lens choices that include:

  • extra scratch resistance and durability
  • blue light filtering
  • the option to make them into sunglasses
  • lighter weight options

Payment options and costs

Once a person selects frames and lenses, they can often pay the full cost up front or split the payments evenly over several months. Companies differ, and terms and conditions for repayment options will vary.

Some insurance plans will cover some or all of the costs associated with frames and lenses. A person may wish to check their policy or contact their insurer to confirm coverage.

If an individual’s insurance does not cover costs, a health savings account (HSA) may.

According to HealthCare.gov, an HSA is a tax-free savings account offered by banks and insurers that allows a person to pay for eligible medical expenses, such as lenses and contacts, with its funds.

A person may consider several factors when buying glasses online. We list at some of them below.

Company reputation

Reviews shown on a company website can often favor the best received.

To get a good sense of a brand’s reputation, a person can look to third-party reviews on other websites, where usually at least one independent reviewer has tried the company’s products.

A person can check independent reviews, such as Better Business Bureau (BBB), that list relevant reviews, recent complaints, the business rating, and accreditation.


Some companies advise a person can use their insurance to purchase their glasses. If an individual has an optical benefit through their insurer, they must usually pay upfront and submit a reimbursement claim.

However, an insurer may class an eyewear company as out-of-network, which could lead to higher costs.

Liingo Eyewear, for example, state they are an out-of-network healthcare provider on many insurance plans, but not all companies are clear on their insurance stance.

Individuals can contact their insurance company to confirm coverage.

Meeting needs

Companies offering glasses can typically fill most prescriptions.

If a person needs special lenses, they should check with the company they are considering using to make sure they can accommodate their needs.

A doctor may be able to recommend companies that offer specialty lenses.

Other considerations

Glasses are often a combination of both function and style. When selecting glasses, a person may wish to consider:

  • frame styles, patterns, and colors
  • materials used to make the frames
  • comfort and fit
  • lense tinting
  • trial periods, returns, and warranties

About 11 million people over the age of 12 living in the United States need corrective lenses.

As prescription lenses help a person see more clearly, it can appear as if the person’s eyesight has become worse when they take them off. The result is a common misconception that an individual’s eyes may become dependent on corrective lenses.

However, according to the National Eye Institute, a person’s eyes will not worsen or become dependent on glasses.

Preventing vision loss

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest a person may prevent vision loss by:

  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • cleaning the hands and contact lenses before touching the eyes
  • wearing sunglasses when outdoors
  • resting the eyes from using electronic devices
  • getting regular eye exams
  • using protective eyewear when necessary
  • eating a healthful diet
  • maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
  • sharing family eye history with a doctor

About blue light

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), small amounts of blue light from computers or other digital screens do not create the eye health concerns that online retailers often warn about when selling blue light glasses.

They state that blue light from commonly used devices does not cause:

  • issues with sleep
  • eye damage or disease
  • eye strain

The AAO also note that digital eye strain occurs due to not blinking as frequently during screen use. To prevent eye strain or discomfort, they recommend:

  • reducing the glare from the screen
  • sitting at arm’s length from the screen
  • using artificial tears or eye drops as needed to lubricate the eyes
  • looking every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • wearing glasses when working on a computer

A person who needs prescription glasses can find many options online. There are a variety of companies that offer custom frames, styles, colors, and lenses.

When choosing a company from which to purchase prescription glasses, a person may consider the company’s reputation, whether a person’s health insurer accepts claims from the company, comfort, and fit.

We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link(s) above.

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