Buying glasses online
June 13, 2005 6:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of buying my next pair of glasses online. Does anybody have any online glasses retailers they would recommend (or recommend against)? And is there any thing else I should know before buying glasses online? I live in the UK but have frequent visitors from the US who can easily carry a pair of glasses, so places that ship to either country would be fine.
posted by yankeefog to Shopping (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Dammit. I swear to God, I did a google search for "glasses" at askme before posting this, and didn't find anything on this particular question. Then after I posted it, I clicked on the "glasses" keyword and found two relevant threads--this one and this one. The two websites that are recommended in those threads are and Optical4Less. (apparently, optical4less is based in Hong Kong but will ship internationally.)

Sorry about the redundancy. If anybody has any other experiences with online glasses retailers in addition to those two, I'd still be interested in reading it.
posted by yankeefog at 6:09 AM on June 13, 2005

I'd also be interested in experiences, especially for anyone who is in Canada or bought from a Canadian retailer.
posted by Mitheral at 6:29 AM on June 13, 2005

I saw a consumer show when I was visiting the US a few months back where the reporter tried glasses bought online, and whilst they looked ok, there were problems with the vision.

I'm sure there's a technical term for it that someone on here will know, but basically you will know that when you buy specs f2f, there are measurements taken of the face from various points/angles, with a view to ensuring that the curvature of the lens is properly aligned within the frame and on the face so as to give optimum correctness of vision.

That type of precise measurement can't be achieved online, and the reporter in the show I saw couldn't see properly out of the three pairs she bought from different online retailers, even though they appeared to 'fit' and had the correct lenses for her prescription.

Also, bear in mind that any items purchased in the US costing more than £145 in total are subject to UK duty when brought into the country. So once you've added in the duty/VAT, you might not make that much of a saving anyway.
posted by essexjan at 10:03 AM on June 13, 2005

Are you only buying the frames internationally (great idea - something different than what your neighbors wear) or are you buying the full glasses (bad idea - particularly if you have astigmatism)

I would steer away from buying glasses online - get your eyes checked by a professional: your prescription may have changed, and s/he may discover additional changes in your eyes since the last eye exam.

I've bought frames in different cities (Montreal, Stockholm) then had lenses measured, created and added in the city I currently live in, Vancouver. Getting local lenses allowed me to have subtle changes made, to account for my myopia and astygmatism.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:17 AM on June 13, 2005

Best answer: Daniel Pinkwater swears by Goggles4U for inexpensive glasses and great customer service. Apparently it's run out of some guy's shop in Pakistan.
posted by greatgefilte at 1:28 PM on June 13, 2005

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