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From Eye Exams to Home Delivery: The Evolution of Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online

From Eye Exams to Home Delivery: The Evolution of Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online

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Buying glasses online is a fairly new concept that has gotten more and more popular especially during the past two to three years. However, despite the popularity it has been getting, buying glasses online still seems like an abstract futuristic concept to the majority of people. This mainly comes from being misinformed about the concept, or not being informed at all. Let’s dive a little bit into the evolution of buying prescription glasses online.

A Little History

In 2005, prescription eyeglasses were sold online for the first time. For the next decade the prescription glasses industry would slowly but surely start to gain popularity. In 2007, the first smartphone was created, which contributed to the popularity of online shopping. 2014-2019 were the years that online shopping was starting to gain more and more popularity. In 2017, almost eight million pairs of prescription eyeglasses were sold online, which in reality only makes up about four percent of the entire prescription eyeglass market.

Everything changed in the year 2020 due to the pandemic, going to stores in person became harder and practically impossible during a period of time. This was the time that online businesses started to thrive, and prescription eyeglasses were no exception. People still needed to buy eyeglasses, so ordering them online really was the best (and at one point the only) option. This was the time when more and more people started to buy prescription glasses online by Overnight Glasses, Zenni, Eyebuydirect and some other online stores.

During that time, people were buying prescription glasses online out of necessity, but because of this they saw the simplicity of the process that goes into it and continued to do so even after the end of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at the process of buying prescription glasses online.


The first thing you need to do to order prescription glasses online is have your prescription. You get your prescription by taking an eye exam when you visit your optometrist every year or every two years. Each prescription is good for up to two years, but once that time is up you need to pay your optometrist a visit for a new prescription. The prescription is basically the instructions for the lens makers. It’s important that it has accurate information, so that your glasses will be made perfectly for your vision.


Once you have your accurate prescription, you are ready to start looking for a frame. This part is probably the most fun. Online shops have larger catalogs, so you are practically guaranteed to find the perfect frame (although you’ll definitely have a hard time choosing just one). If you’re worried about not being able to try them on, a lot of online shops have virtual try on options, so you can see how each of the frames look on your face. You’ll also be able to filter your searches by color, brand, size, shape, style, material and face shape. This makes it much easier and quicker to find exactly the type of frame that you are looking for.


One of the benefits of buying your prescription lenses online is the options for lenses. Most online shops have a pretty large selection of lenses to choose from, which a lot of brick and mortar stores do not provide. The options usually include the standard polycarbonate, thinner high index lenses and Trivex lenses. You’ll also be able to add different coatings and treatments to your lenses, depending on your vision needs and preferences. Some of these coatings and treatments include UV protection, anti-glare, anti-scratch, anti-reflective, light responsive, etc.

It’s a good idea to speak with your optometrist to see which lenses are better for your eyes, and which coatings and treatments are worth the extra money to add to them.

Once you are done choosing your lenses, you are ready to put in your order. At brick and mortar stores you have to wait at least two to three weeks to receive your glasses, but by ordering your prescription glasses online, you’ll receive them much faster. The longest wait will be one week, but at many online shops you can get your pair within a few days, or even within twenty-four hours. In addition to all of the other benefits of buying glasses online, you also get to save a lot of time.

Now that you have seen how quick and easy it is to order prescription glasses online, give it a try the next time you want to buy a new pair. But be warned: once you start, it’ll be pretty hard to stop!

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