Where to Buy Cheap Glasses (With or Without Insurance)

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Glasses can be expensive, especially if you are prone to breaking or losing them (ahem, one of us might fall into this category). They are also hella trendy - so much so that one of the Healthcare Hustlers even wished a time or two that she hadn’t had laser eye surgery.

To make things easy for you, we’ve compared some of the best options in areas such as cost, interaction with insurance, and ability to get a prescription. Check it out, and comment below with any other favorites!

The Basics for Buying Glasses

There are two basic types of companies that provide glasses (plus Warby Parker, which sits somewhere in the middle and had to make the list!):

Online Glasses shops

These websites make it easy to get affordable glasses. Simply upload your current prescription, choose your frames and lenses online, then get the glasses shipped to your home.

  • These online stores don’t have optometrists and may not accept insurance. Make sure that you read the fine print for each to see what makes sense for you.

  • When you are getting your prescription from your optometrist, make sure you ask them to measure your PD (pupillary distance), as you’ll need it when ordering your glasses.

Brick and Mortar Retail Glasses Stores

Retails stores usually have an optometrist onsite and oftentimes have the ability to order online too. To purchase glasses from these types of stores, you can either bring a current prescription or see one of their optometrists to get one. You then pick out your frames and lenses from their display.

  • It is ESSENTIAL to make sure that the optometrist AND the optical shop are both in-network with your insurance company, as the optical shop and the optometrist are separate businesses and have different Tax IDs. It is possible that one is in-network with your plan and one isn’t, so make sure to do your homework in advance!

Exclusively Online Glasses Shops

GlassesUSA

Price: $$

Return Policy: “If you are not completely satisfied with your eyeglasses within the first 14 days after delivery, you are entitled to a refund, product exchange, or a 100% store credit.”

Prescriptions: GlassesUSA does not provide prescriptions.

Insurance: The company is out-of-network with all insurance plans, but will provide an itemized receipt so you can submit the claim for out-of-network benefits or get reimbursed from your FSA or HSA account.

Tip: Click around on this page long enough and a coupon code will pop up for your first frame.

Zenni Optical

Price: $ - With glasses starting at $6.65, Zenni is a budgeter’s favorite!

Return Policy: “If you made a mistake during the order, or you just don’t like the glasses, you can return them for a 50% refund (excluding shipping) to the credit or debit card or PayPal account, or for a one-time-use 100% store credit (excluding shipping). Unused accessories can be returned for a 100% refund (excluding shipping). We will replace broken frames at no charge during this 30-day warranty period.”

Prescriptions: Zenni does not provide prescriptions.

Insurance: The company is out-of-network with all insurance plans, but will provide an itemized receipt so you can submit the claim for out-of-network benefits or get reimbursed from your FSA or HSA account.

Tip: If you click around this website for a few minutes, a “10% off your next order” will pop up!

Firmoo

Price: $

Return Policy: “Unsatisfied glasses can be exchanged or refunded within 30 days of receiving. Only shipping fees will apply. Each order is eligible for a one-time exchange/return. Please kindly note we could not make an equal exchange/return for entering wrong prescription.”

Prescriptions: Firmoo does not provide prescriptions.

Insurance: Firmoo is not in-network with any insurance plans and doesn’t state that they give itemized receipts. Speak to a customer service representative if you plan to submit this for FSA or HSA reimbursement.

Tip: Check their home page to see if they are running any specials.

Eye Buy Direct

Price: $

Return Policy: “EBD has a 14-Day Fit and Style guarantee which allows customers to make an equal exchange or return with no questions asked.”

Prescriptions: Eye Buy Direct does not provide prescriptions.

Insurance: The company is out-of-network with all insurance plans, but will provide an itemized receipt so you can submit the claim for out-of-network benefits or get reimbursed from your FSA or HSA account.

Brick and Mortar and Online Glasses Shop

Warby Parker

Price: $$

Claim to Fame: While the price is higher than their competitors (prescription eyeglasses from Warby Parker start at $95), they are well known for their trendy styles, and ship up to five frames to your home to try on BEFORE you buy.

Return Policy:  “We offer a 30-day, hassle-free return or exchange policy—we're happy to set you up with a full refund or exchange within 30 days of receipt.”

Prescriptions: Warby Parker is primarily online, but they do have a growing retail presence with optometrists in store. Before you see a Warby Parker optometrist for an exam, make sure they are in-network with your vision insurance. The optical shop may be a separate business from the optometrist, so they each have their own Tax ID. If you plan to use your insurance, you should verify that the optical shop AND the optometrist are both in-network with your plan.

Insurance: Warby Parker has the most user-friendly insurance check that we have seen so far. Click on the link to see if your provider is in-network with Warby Parker (and double check on your insurance provider’s website). If they are not in-network, Warby Parker will provide you with a receipt and with detailed instructions for how to submit your claim so it processes with your out-of-network benefits. While we wish they were in-network with some of the bigger vision networks, we applaud them for their specificity and clarity to help their customers!

Brick and Mortar Glasses Shops

Target Optical

Price: $$

Prescriptions: Yes - Target does have optometrists at most of their locations

Insurance: Target has the second most user-friendly insurance verification tool that we’ve seen! Check out this link to find out if Target is in-network with your insurance plan. And remember, check on your vision insurance provider’s website to see if the optical shop AND the optometrists are in-network with your plan. Remember, the optical shop is a separate business from the optometrist, so they each have their own Tax ID.

America’s Best

Price: $

Signature Deal: 2 pairs of eyeglasses for $69.95 (including a free eye exam)

Prescriptions: Yes - America’s Best does have optometrists at their locations

Best for: Those without insurance who need an exam and want glasses.

Insurance: America’s Best “accepts” vision insurance. You’ll want to ensure they are a preferred provider with your insurance plan if you hope for reimbursement. They also make it clear that you cannot combine insurance benefits with promotional offers, including their signature 2 for $69.95 deal. If you choose this company, talk to an America’s Best associate about the best way to maximize your savings.

Walmart

Price: $$

Prescriptions: Yes - Walmart does have optometrists at most of their locations

Insurance: Walmart doesn’t provide much information on its website about its vision insurance status. Check on your vision insurance provider’s website to see if the optical shop AND the optometrists are in-network with your plan. Remember, the optical shop is a separate business from the optometrist, so they each have their own Tax ID.

Costco Optical

Price: $$

Prescriptions: Yes - Costco does have optometrists at most of their locations

Insurance: Costco doesn’t provide much information on its website about its vision insurance status, except for saying that it “accepts” most (this is not the same as being in-network!). Check on your vision insurance provider’s website to see if the optical shop AND the optometrists are in-network with your plan. Remember, the optical shop is a separate business from the optometrist, so they each have their own Tax ID.

Note: Costco requires an annual membership.

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