You can't buy prescription eye glasses without a valid prescription. But no longer do you have to settle for the selection in your eye doctor's office. You can find a lot of great frames online – often for a much lower cost.
"Right now about 5 percent of prescription lenses are sold online, but it's growing. Price seems to be the biggest driver of this growth because they've got great prices. Also, wide selections and home deliveries are hard to beat," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.
Angie Stocklin of online provider Felix and Iris says consumers' number one concern is getting the right fit, and that any reputable retailer will have an optician on staff to make sure that happens.
"We lead you right through the process. We're going to ask, 'What kind of lenses do you need? Is it single vision, is it progressive, is it a bifocal lens?' We're going to show you how to put in all of the measurements from your doctor, which is your prescription, your pupillary distance and walk you straight through the process online. It's really self-explanatory and anyone can do it," explained Stocklin.
"When talking to your eye doctor, let them know you are going to order online because you want as many details as possible, especially the distance between your pupils so you have a good fit of your lenses," Hicks added.
Once the measurements are in, you can browse dozens of online sites for frames. Many let you virtually try on the glasses if you upload a photo. They'll also send you sample frames to try on in real life, another appealing convenience.
"I will definitely do it again," said Brooke Padilla, who's bought glasses online. "I'm considering going online to buy prescription sunglasses. Buying glasses online worked for me, but it may not work for everyone. I would suggest you have that conversation with your doctor and then research your options because there's tons of options available today."
Hicks says you can save anywhere from 40 to 150 percent by purchasing online, but few online companies accept insurance. You will need an itemized receipt to turn in to your company for reimbursement. She also reminds you to check return policies and guarantees in case you have any issue.