How Do You Save Money on Eyewear and Contacts?

Everyone in my family wears glasses, and one member in particular grew very adept at loosing them. Usually they just disappeared without explanation, like socks from a dryer, while occasionally there was a vague recollection of leaving them in a school locker or at the pool. One memorable episode found the glasses smashed to bits in the driveway, having been backed over by their owner. Having to continually replace lost, and crushed, glasses caused us to become regular customers of our optometrist’s eyeglass store, which was not cheap. Eventually they took pity on us and revealed the bargain bin, where they sold discontinued models at a deep discount. It might be worth asking if your eye doctor has a similar bin.

This year both my wife and I are in need of new glasses, and I decided to look for options other than the eye doctor’s shop. While looking around online I found some people mention buying eyewear at Walmart, Costco, Sams Club, JC Penny, Target and the lens stores such as Lens Crafters. Digging a little deeper I found that there are a lot of online options to purchase inexpensive contacts and glasses, which was news to this bargain bin digger. I am going to explore all of the online options I came across and probably give one of them a try. The following sites are what I have found so far.

Lens Shopper 


123 Contact Lenses

Vision Glasses 

Eye Glass Direct 

United Shades 

1 800 Contacts

Eye Buy Direct 

Goggles 4U 

Zenni Optical

39 Dollar Glasses 

I will write a follow-up to this letting you know what I decided on and how it went.

If you have bought your glasses and contacts online I would love to hear about your experience.


  1. You might want to add and to the contact lens options. I used both before I got LASIK and found the prices and customer service to be better than 1800contacts.

  2. Thanks for the additions to the list. I like your blog, nice job.

  3. I have used Zenni Optical and Global Eyeglass world. They both had EXCELLENT customer service. Great quality frames and I had both pairs inspected by my regular eye Dr. to confirm my daughter script was correct-- Global had faster turn around time (a week) VS Zenni (which was 2) but there are no complaints on my part. I like that I can just order the frame on the glasses. My daughter is 3 and prone to breaking hers.. .and I also like that they are affordable enough that I can order her more then one pair. My husband will be ordering from here when he needs new glasses ---very impressed!

  4. With that kind of a glowing review it would be hard for me to not try one of them! Thanks for the info.

  5. I have to agree with jenna above. I've lately used Global Eyewear and used to use Zenni. Very happy with both. The frames from both were every bit as nice and have held up as well as any I've purchased from local big name places. Great fast service from both. I am nearsighted and also need bifocals. Total cost for my glasses from both places has never exceeded $30 per pair. In fact, I recently ordered a pair from Global; frames were on sale for $3 and I'm amazed how nice they are. Can't recommend them enough. Cindy M

  6. Glasses from Zenni just arrived. Their website indicates the company is based in Calif. but the glasses came from China (complete with customs paperwork). One lens was not installed correctly so they cannot be work. Just emailed Zenni to ask how to rectify this and will not be pleased if I have to ship them back to China... That said, they did ship quickly and the frames are just as pictured.

  7. Where'd my earlier comment go? Short version: Ordered glasses for spouse from Zenni, arrived with a lens not properly installed. (Half rims, cord holding lens is much too long so lens falling out.) Wrote customer service Sunday, got email back today (Tuesday) as follows:

    "Concerning your case, we would like to advise you to visit a friendly local optical shop and have the glasses adjusted accordingly. If this can not solve the problem, please feel free to contact us and we will issue a return authorization for you to return the glasses. And we will fix the it for you when we receive them.

    Thank you for selecting Zenni Optical for your vision needs."

    I suppose it beats shipping them back to China, but even at this price the lens should have been properly seated in the frame.

  8. Update: Took the Zenni glasses to my "friendly local optician" who shook his head in dismay. He re-installed the lenses then checked the Rx. PD was off by 3mm, axis off by 5* on left lens & off 3* on right lens. I guess you get what you pay for.

  9. GlassesShop is also a good online Eyeglasses store, it allows visitors to upload pictures so they can see how a pair of glasses would look on their face.


Agree? Disagree? Questions? Leave a comment!