Where to look for affordable glasses that look good, too

CR survey reveals which stores, websites readers prefer

SAN ANTONIO – When it comes to buying a new pair of glasses, you want them to help you see well and look good, too, without overspending. A Consumer Reports survey of nearly 65,000 readers revealed which stores and websites shoppers preferred.

There’s no question you’ll get more personal attention when shopping for glasses in a store than you will online. But the survey found you’ll likely pay more.

The median price for glasses bought by Consumer Reports readers who paid out of pocket at a store was $234 per pair. Online, though, the median price was just $91. Even so, a vast majority of those surveyed, 93%, bought their eyeglasses in a store.

“Our readers valued things like the skilled fitting and follow-up service you get with a real salesperson,” said Karen Jaffe, with Consumer Reports.

Costco’s eyeglass store, where you can get personal service and a reasonable price, was among the top retailers in the most recent Consumer Reports ratings. The frame selection, however, was found to be more limited than at independent retailers or the top online stores.

Three online stores — Warby Parker, Zenni Optical, and Eyebuy Direct — joined Costco at the top of the survey for good prices, but Zenni and Eyebuy didn’t do as well on quality.

“A tip for getting the best of both worlds is to shop around for the frames you like, then go to a discount store like Costco or Walmart for the lenses,” Jaffe said.

The technicians at these discount stores often can put the lenses you’ve purchased there in the frames you’ve brought in for an additional service charge of less than $40.

If you are planning on buying your glasses online, make sure when you have your eye exam that your doctor measures your pupillary distance. That’s the distance between the center of each of your pupils. Online vendors will need that to create your glasses properly.

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