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Arianna Tucker / Her Campus

Buying Prescription Glasses Online: An Experiment

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UIC chapter.

Ever since I’ve been able to buy prescription glasses, I’ve been hooked. In the past 6 months, I’ve bought six pair…let me repeat that…I’ve bought SIX PAIR OF GLASSES IN SIX MONTHS. Yes, I have a problem. Working for an eye doctor, I’m exposed to many trendy and cute glasses almost every day. From Reese Witherspoon’s line of eye wear to Kate Spade to Gwen Stefani, it’s hard not to walk into our frame room without wanting every single pair. Like I said, I have a problem. But yet I wanted more. Not wanting to look like a psycho and buy yet another pair of glasses at work, I decided to find another option. This is where I turned to potentially buying glasses online.

I had heard of people buying them online, but I had never heard any promising stories. I decided to browse. It couldn’t hurt if I just browsed around online, right?

Then my obsession with glasses begun to take over. There so many cute frames I couldn’t pass up, but I was still nervous to buy them online.

I looked first at Warby Parker. There were several cute frames, but the prices were kind of expensive. I’m a girl not trying to break the bank with my sixth pair of glasses, here. Each frame was around $100 which is a nerve-wrecking price when you can’t physically try it on. They do have an option where you can upload a selfie and virtually try them on, but this felt like too much legwork and for too much money for being online.


Next website I looked into was Zenni Optical. I read several great reviews before I decided to browse on the site, so I felt this would be a great option. Boy, was I disappointed. They had an incredible Rashida Jones line of eyewear, but beyond that the website was overwhelming. I do like to have options, but I felt like there were too many to choose from. I am an indecisive person as it is, so this resulted into me overwhelmingly and abruptly clicking out of the website and needing a nap. Their prices were very reasonable but if you can get over the pages and pages of options to choose from, then go for it. This was just not for me.


I didn’t realize how much work online shopping for a pair of glasses would be until I spent a whole day doing it. Finally, I came across what would be my third and FINAL website – Eye Buy Direct. Not too many glasses. Not too few. No outrageous pricing. This was it! 

I began to modify my searches to find the exact shape, size, and style I wanted. I was impressed you could even modify the specific measurements of the frame if you were really that savvy. I added way too many pairs to my cart which would make any shopaholic’s heart stop. I eventually narrowed it down to two glorious pairs!


Now it was time to buy the glasses. Working for an eye doctor, I felt as though I was cheating on them. I’m an eyeglasses cheater! I shook the thought out of my head and decided to not think of it as cheating but more of an experiment. Since I had never heard any positive outcomes of buying online, I was sure I wasn’t going to 100% love them anyway. Don’t worry, Eye Buy Direct will never have my heart! Two pairs for $54, not too shabby.

Now I wait.

The glasses came in about 7 days which was expected. The temples were very long and stuck straight out instead of curving behind the ear. This was okay, as I could adjust them myself. Other than that, I was kind of impressed with my purchase. I don’t have an immensely strong prescription, so it wasn’t terrible. I could see someone with a higher prescription and thicker lenses having a hard time with these, however. They would be very heavy as the temples were very light. I could see people having an issue with these constantly sliding down the nose. One pair was easy to adjust, the other was really difficult and I felt I was going to break them. 

Overall, I wasn’t floored with my purchase, but I wasn’t disappointed either. I got what I expected to get for only $54, so I will say I give my experience a 3 out of 5 stars.

If you are looking for a quick, cheap pair that may be exposed to damage, and a light prescription – by all means, go for it! You have nothing to lose as long as you already have a reliable pair. Personally, I am going to stick to buying glasses at the eye doctor’s, but this was a good experiment and maybe will give some insight to those who are looking to buy online.

I'm a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My major is Communication with a concentration in public relations. Writing has always been my passion and HC lets me utilize my love for it. On the weekends you can find me binge watching Netflix shows like The Office or Parks and Rec. I'm also a sucker for Dunkin Donuts and cute puppies!
UIC Contributor.