For many people, buying glasses online can seem like a balancing act of convenience and guesswork. It’s great that we can order new frames at the click of a button—but, you might be asking, what if they don’t look or work how I expect?
This guide is here to ease those doubts. We’ll explain how to order prescription glasses online in six simple steps, from confirming your prescription to finding the right frames and lenses for you.
Ordering Glasses Online With a Prescription
Many people purchase prescription glasses through online retailers like us. Just like eyeglasses you might buy from an optical shop, eyeglasses that you order online can accommodate almost any prescription and help you see clearly.
(If you have an eye disorder that requires more customized corrective lenses, it may be helpful to speak with your optometrist before browsing for frames and lenses online.)
Your glasses don’t even need to be prescription—if you’re looking for reading glasses or trendy frames without any vision correction, you can find and order those online too.
What Do I Need to Buy Glasses Online?
You typically only need the following three things to shop for glasses online:
- Your eye prescription
- Your pupillary distance
- Your insurance information (if you have vision insurance)
That’s it! We’ll tell you more about each of these components when we get into the step-by-step process.
What Are the Advantages of Buying Glasses Online?
Learning how to buy glasses online has several benefits. Perhaps the most obvious is that you don’t have to leave your home—instead, your frames are shipped to you when they’re ready.
Shopping for glasses online also removes the pressure that often motivates in-store purchases after an eye appointment. You can browse at your leisure, at any time of day, for however long you like. Glasses bought online are also often more affordable than those purchased at an optical shop (but our prices are the same between our website and our stores).
Finally, ordering glasses online gives you access to a broader catalog of frames than you might find in a store. You can look at the same style of frame in different colors, compare prices, filter for certain attributes you like, and try on glasses at home or virtually.
If you’re someone who enjoys the physical experience of shopping for frames in a store, however, don’t let us stop you! We have many Warby Parker locations for you to peruse and try on eyeglasses.
If you’re ordering glasses for vision correction as well as style, you’ll typically need an eye prescription. You can use the prescription that your optometrist gave you at your most recent eye exam if it’s still working well for you and hasn’t expired.
If you don’t have a copy, don’t worry—you can either request one from your optometrist’s office or, in many cases, provide the glasses retailer with your optometrist’s contact information. Here at Warby Parker, we’re happy to call your optometrist for you to get your most recent prescription.
Can I Order Glasses Online Without a Prescription?
If your vision requires corrective lenses, you’ll need a prescription at some point in the ordering process, whether you provide it yourself or have the retailer obtain it from your optometrist. However, you can order non-prescription glasses if you’re using them solely for style or reading.
How Do I Get a Glasses Prescription?
Your glasses prescription is determined by an optometrist after they examine your eyes. If you haven’t had an appointment in the past year, then we recommend scheduling one—as well as reading up on what to expect during an eye exam.
If you have had a comprehensive eye exam in the past year, then you’re entitled by law to a copy of your prescription. Reach out to your optometrist’s office and they’ll send one over!
Can I Renew My Eye Prescription Online?
Yes, with a few caveats. If your prescription has expired but you’re still seeing quite clearly out of your current glasses or contacts, then you can renew your prescription through our Virtual Vision Test. The 5-minute test runs on your phone, and its results are reviewed by an eye doctor. If your prescription gets successfully renewed, you’ll pay $15 for the service.
Step 2: Determine Your Best Frame Width
Your glasses should fit your face comfortably and provide clear vision through the lenses. At Warby Parker, we have five frame widths spanning from extra narrow to extra wide. Our app can even suggest the best width for you through its Virtual Try-On tool.
That said, we don’t want you to stress too much about exact sizing—the default “medium” width works well for many people, and you can select a wider or narrower frame depending on what you think will work best for your face.
We also offer Low Bridge Fit frames for people with low nose bridges, high cheekbones, and/or wider faces.
Having a rough idea of what size eyeglasses you want will help you narrow down your selection once you start browsing frames online.
What measurements do I need to buy glasses online?
There are a couple measurements you can consult while buying glasses online: pupillary distance and the measurements on your pre-existing frames.
Pupillary distance tells you how far apart the pupils of your eyes are from one another, and can be useful in centering your glasses on your face. You can measure your pupillary distance easily at home and submit it with your Warby Parker order for an optimal fit.
You can also look at the measurements on your current glasses frames. You’ll usually find these printed on the inside of one arm of your glasses as three numbers, which stand for the width of each lens, the space between the lenses (the nose bridge), and the length of the arm. All of these measurements are given in millimeters.
If you’re looking at Warby Parker frames, you can also find these measurements on the frame’s product page online or in our app.
Knowing these numbers can tell you what glasses size feels best, and what you might want to change with your newest pair. If your current frames intrude on your peripheral vision, for example, you might look for wider lenses next time.
Step 3: Find an Online Glasses Retailer You Can Trust
You’ve got your prescription and your ballpark size requirements. Now, it’s time to hit the web and find the right, reputable online glasses seller.
When choosing where to buy your glasses, you’ll want to weigh a few factors:
- Aesthetic: Do you like the styles offered by this store? Do they have a brand aesthetic that gels with your self-expression?
- Affordability: What’s your budget? Does this online retailer offer frames at a fair price?
- Quality and materials: Some online retailers can skimp on quality and durability. What kinds of quality assurance testing go into making the frames? How does this retailer ensure that their frames will last you for a long time? What are the glasses frames made of, and how durable are those materials?
- Ethics: Does this retailer manufacture their glasses ethically? Do they give back to the community and/or environment?
- Customer service: What kind of assistance can you expect if you have a problem with your order? Are customer service representatives available to talk with you?
- Shipping and returns: Will you receive your glasses in a timely fashion? Are you able to return or exchange frames that don’t work out?
- Reviews and testimonials: What do other people think of this brand? Does it seem to have a loyal following and positive reviews?
Step 4: Browse Frames that Suit Your Style
Learning how to buy glasses online is less of a skill and more of an exercise in personal taste. You’ll want to look through frames that complement your sense of style, whether they’re subtle or bold.
First, consider what type of glasses you’d like to wear. Are you someone who goes for a full-rimmed or semi-rimless frame? Do you like the look of metal or acetate glasses more?
Next, think about what glasses styles and shapes speak to you. Do you gravitate toward statement cat-eye frames? Bohemian round ones? Stately rectangular ones? Are you looking to branch out into new and daring geometric shapes or stick with reliable classics?
Finally, ask yourself what colors you like best. Glasses come in hues from matte black to semi-transparent crystal shades and everything in between. A pop of color from your frames can be a perfect complement to an outfit, whereas monochrome glasses never go out of style.
How Do I Know What Style of Glasses To Buy?
Is all this style talk making you nervous? Never fear—we made a frame quiz to help you find your frame. It’ll guide you through a few easy questions and show you a bunch of styles we think you’ll love.
Can I Try On Glasses When Ordering Online?
Ordering eyeglasses online bypasses the need to shop in-store, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try on frames. We offer two services that will allow you to see what you’ll look like wearing our glasses—all before you ever spend a cent.
Home Try-On: You can pick up to five frames to try on at home. We’ll send them to your door so you can wear and handle the physical glasses to see how they look and feel. They won’t have prescription lenses yet, but you can take all the selfies you like before sending them back to us.
Virtual Try-On: By downloading our app, you can try on glasses frames virtually. The frames will be superimposed onto your face (and even move with you) so you can get an accurate idea of how they’d look in real life.
Step 5: Choose Your Lenses and Coatings
You’re so close! At this point, you’ve selected a frame or two that you like, and you just need to choose your lenses.
Your prescription determines how strong your lenses will be, but there are still multiple types of glasses lenses available for you to customize. For example, our lenses are made of sturdy polycarbonate by default, but if your prescription is especially strong, you might want to spend a little extra money on lightweight high-index lenses.
Lenses can also have specialized coatings or treatments that provide even more benefits. Ours come with UV protection, an anti-scratch treatment, and anti-reflective, superhydrophobic coatings, but that’s just the beginning. Perhaps you want anti-fatigue lenses that assist with digital eye strain or light-responsive lenses that darken in the sun and clear up indoors?
Step 6: Place Your Order
It’s the moment of truth: the online purchase. When you’ve chosen a frame width, style, and lens, you’re ready to order your glasses.
As you move through the checkout process, you’ll be asked for your payment and insurance information. (Note: even if your vision insurance doesn’t cover part of the cost, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Check with your plan for details.) You can also apply funds from an FSA or HSA.
For added peace of mind, look into the vendor’s return and exchange policy. Will they fully reimburse you if you send your glasses back? At Warby Parker, we give you 30 days to decide if the frames you’ve ordered are right for you—you can return or exchange them at any point during that window.
Once you’ve paid for your glasses, all that’s left to do is wait. Savor the anticipation.
You’ve Received Your Glasses in the Mail. Now What?
Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to buy glasses online. Now that you’ve received your frames, you can check them for fit, comfort, and clarity of vision.
If everything checks out, make sure to take care of them with the proper accessories for storage and cleaning. If it seems like your glasses could fit better, you can take them to an optician to get them adjusted. Remember, the opticians at any of our locations will adjust your Warby Parker glasses for free.
Enjoy your new pair, and be warned: once you realize how easy it is to buy glasses online, it can be tough to stop.