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In 2011, a research study done by Kinsley Consulting revealed that an American glass wearer would save approximately USD 7,040 in his lifetime if his glasses are purchased online.
While shopping at irresistibly-discounted prices is one of the major reasons for us to browse online for some impressive deals, who knew that it would help us save thousands of dollars per year as well! Seriously, the offers that we tend to find online are hardly available at a walk-in eyewear store. It is not only the discounts, but also the uncountable options with different designs and colors, that compel buyers to check out the virtual market. However, because we are dealing with prescription glasses here, it is natural to be skeptical and hesitant to believe what the websites show you. What if the glasses are delivered in a damaged condition? What if there are prescription errors? What if the glasses end up fitting poorly? It is natural for these questions to arise in your mind when you want to cave in to the tempting offers you see on the internet.

We don't say that these questions are pointless. We also don't say that all online eyeglasses retailers deliver what they promise; however, a little bit of homework can increase your chances of getting the right glasses at an amazingly cost-effective manner. Plus, with the convenient features and services that most websites offer their customers, it won't be wrong to say that an online purchase is a far more comfortable experience than a walk-in eyeglass store. The possible mishaps could be prevented by following the essential tips discussed in the section below.

Buying Prescription Glasses Online

Check the Customer Reviews of Reputed Websites
Online shopping has become more of a necessity than trend, and many websites in this sector have already made their mark among the others. There are many online eyeglasses retailers that have captured the virtual market with their efficient customer service. Some of them include, Warby Parker, Mezzmer, Peepers Optical, SpecsPost, and LensesRx. Ask your friends and family members who have got their glasses from online stores. You can also visit the websites of the frequent names you see while you search online. Click on the 'customer reviews' to see what buyers have to say about their shopping experience. You can also browse through the designs and price range that they offer, to get a fair idea of what's it like.

Analyze the Purchase and Return Policies
It is very important to analyze the policies offered by the website related to the purchase, replacement, refund, or return. Most websites offer generous return policies, wherein you may return or replace the glasses within 30 days. Consumer Reports cautions buyers to avoid opting for retailers that offer additional coverage over extended warranties. Choose an online store that gives at least a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects. It is also important to check if the store has a policy to cover the expenses incurred through insurance.

Compare the Prices
You will find many websites that will offer you extremely low prices. However, that should not be the sole criterion for your purchase. It is also important to check their ratings in the Better Business Bureau report. Only when you have evaluated all these aspects, should you start with a price comparison between the most trustworthy online sellers. Based on the brands, prices, warranties, and other policies, choose an option that seems most suited as per your needs.

Get the Latest Prescription
Once you have narrowed down your search to the one store that seems most promising, comes the time to place your order. When you come across the design you need, you will be asked to give information regarding your latest prescription and PD (pupillary distance) measurement. All these would be written in your previous prescription. However, if it has been over a year since you last examined your eyes, you must visit an optometrist, and ask him to also measure your PD. These values are extremely necessary for placing the order online.

Select the Lenses
Depending upon your need, there will be different types of lenses listed on the site―progressive, bifocal, multifocal, and the like. There have been instances wherein the delivered product ended up having incorrect prescription or PD measurement. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI) had conducted an eyewear sites test, and found that GlassesShop delivered all the ordered goods with no prescription error. Therefore, our suggestion would be to either get the frame online and the lenses from a local optometrist, or go for a website that has a good customer satisfaction report in this aspect. It becomes extremely bothersome to get the glasses replaced later on.

Avail the Convenient Pre-purchase Services Offered
An amazing feature that most of these websites offer is that of a Home Try-On, which is absolutely free of cost. You get to pick a specific number of frames (Warby Parker has 5), and these will be shipped to you so that you can try these on and choose the final pick. After you have made the decision, resend the frames (most likely free of charge), and make the final order. Simple, easy, and convenient. Other features such as, Virtual Try-Ons are also buyer friendly as they give them a chance to see how the selected frame would look on their face, by uploading their picture. So, make sure you avail all these features and services before making the purchase.

Making a purchase virtually, especially when it is related to your health, is a crucial step. In case of any second thoughts, it is always better to physically go to a store, and get the surety you are looking for. One advantage of walk-in stores is that they are quicker in delivery, and also offer after-purchase assistance such as frame adjusting and face-to-face solution of any query, which is not the case with online shopping. Nonetheless, prior research and evaluation would not only help you get a good deal in terms of price, but also minimize the chances of any mishaps in the overall process.