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Everyday Cheapskate: Best Places to Buy Eyeglasses

Mary Hunt on

There are a number of ways to buy prescription eyeglasses, including from local opticians, independent optometrists, optical departments in big-box retailers and online-only vendors. Regardless of the option you choose, the good news is that prescription eyeglasses do not have to cost hundreds of dollars.

There are two ways you can purchase prescription eyeglasses -- in person or online. To use an online provider, you will need to see an eye doctor for a routine exam first. It is surprisingly easy to upload your prescription to purchase eyeglasses online.

There are a number of things to consider before you decide where to buy glasses, such as the quality of frames, accuracy of lenses, customer service, total price including shipping, return and refund policies, and accessibility. Using these criteria and my research, here are eight of the best places to order eyeglasses.

BEST EYEGLASSES IN-STORE

Costco Optical is definitely worth visiting if you're more comfortable ordering frames in person, which is the traditional way, and you're a Costco member. Costco Optical is hands-down my No. 1 pick for in-store optical services. It is a great place to get a quality eye exam and complete optical services.

Costco Optical customer service is extraordinary, much like you'd find at the offices of an independent doctor of optometry. The big difference is not only how much money you save at Costco but also the top-notch service after the sale. If you're not happy, Costco will give you your money back, unless prohibited by state law.

 

At Costco Optical, an eye exam costs, on average, $79. Eyeglasses, including frames and lenses, start at $120.

BEST EYEGLASSES ONLINE

ZenniOptical.com is an industry disruptor when it comes to buying eyeglasses. The online-only store offers the absolute cheapest prices on plastic frames and includes the cost of single-vision plastic lenses in those prices -- starting as low as $6.95. Progressive lenses are surprisingly affordable.

You can actually try on frames using the virtual try-on tool (it's so slick how that works). With its great prices and customer service, Zenni is the best place to buy eyeglasses online.

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