GlassesUSA feels like a mature and full-featured shopping experience, that’s using the power of the internet to add real value to its offering. It's our top pick for the best eyeglasses online, as you don’t need to rely on generic models to showcase your look (although you can if that works better for you). How come? Just a click and your webcam puts all the frames onto your face via your display.
Pricing is straightforward and competitive, and there is a good range of designer and non-designer frames to choose from. The lens and lens customization options aren't the best, but there’s a host of offers to get you the best deals. It also sells some of the best contact lenses online, so you can stock up on both at once.
For further eye health content, we'd also recommend our guide to the best vision insurance, with coverage options for all budgets.
GlassesUSA review: Overview
GlassesUSA is a large and well-featured website that’s been running since 2009. With more than 100,000 unique visitors a day, it really is one of the biggest players, and you get the sort of experience you’d expect from an established and successful online business.
The range is predominantly designer frames, with generic options present too, and the range of lens options are well priced and don’t send the bill into orbit once you select your options. There are always tons of offers, vouchers and incentives.
The company has clever online gadgets including a ‘virtual mirror’ that replaces the stock photo models with your face when viewing your frames. A phone app can even read your prescription from your old lenses.
GlassesUSA has been leading the way in online eyewear retail since 2009. It feels like a solid and reliable place in the way that other big online retailers you’re familiar with do. It’s big and businesslike and a little sterile, but it’s doing one thing and it’s doing it pretty well.
They don’t have any major charity schemes such as Warby Parker’s Buy A Pair Give A Pair, but if you dig you’ll find the Hillary Duff line donates $5 from each pair sold to a breast cancer charity.
The company is also not going to mollycoddle you by engaging with your HSAs, your FSAs or your insurance. Prices are pretty good; the range is excellent and the process is straightforward.
GlassesUSA review: How it works
- Designer and affordable ranges
- Virtual mirror
Year founded: 2009
Pricing starts: $43
Delivery time: 7-10 business days
GlassesUSA offers a really good range of well-chosen designer frames, with a supporting cast of slightly cheaper unbranded pairs. When browsing, you’re invited to step through the “virtual mirror”, which isn’t nearly as creepy as it sounds.
Give GlassesUSA an image of your face from an existing photo or your webcam and instantly scroll through the hundreds of frames pictured on your face. Row after sleep-deprived row, staring back at you through shiny new lenses. OK, it is creepy. But really, it actually works well, and gave us an insight into what does and doesn’t suit us, in a way we wouldn’t necessarily get from browsing in a store.
Another clever gadget, their Prescription Scanner is available for iPhone and Android for free and promises to use your camera’s phone to scan your old lens’ prescription. How does it work? You calibrate your phone with your computer screen, hold your glasses between them with a credit card for size comparison, and BAM. Ten minutes later your FDA approved prescription comes back ready to use. It’s incredibly convenient, and GlassesUSA says it’s as accurate as a scan in a doctor’s office. We are living in the future, ladies and gentlemen.
GlassesUSA review: Contacts
- Not the biggest selection, but all the bases are covered
- Good prices and regular promotions
It’s literally called GlassesUSA, so don’t be too upset when you find the contact lens options somewhat limited when compared to the myriad of frames available. GlassesUSA does have all the staple brands covered, however, from Acuvue to Proclear. You can also find a variety of pack sizes on offer when shopping for contacts, with boxes from as little as 6 sets to bulk orders of 90 to see you through the season. There’s options for daily, monthly and even yearly lenses, and you can even give colored lenses a go.
We found the pricing of contacts to be fairly reasonable, and that’s before even applying the 25% off promotion that was running at time of publication. If you know what brand and contact type you like, this is a surefire way of stocking up on your favorite, if they have it.
Shipping is free, unless you need fast shipping for contact-lens emergencies, but note that if you order glasses and contacts together these will arrive in separate shipments. You can upload a prescription to save time, as GlassesUSA needs to contact your doctor before shipping to you. They say this takes up to 48 hours, which isn’t the end of the world, but can delay your shipping if you forgot to order in advance.
GlassesUSA review: Buying
- Limited lens options
- No try-at-home
The lens options are varied: you can choose from three levels of lens thickness, three types of lens (colorized, polarized, or mirrored), and an impressive range of lens colors.
Unfortunately there’s also no try-at-home option, which is quickly becoming an industry standard. Returns are free, however, so if you really don’t like your frames when they arrive you can send them back and get your money returned, no questions asked.
GlassesUSA review: Pricing
- One year warranty
- Up to 70 percent off
GlassesUSA seemingly always has an offer or sale running, meaning you wouldn’t expect to pay full price when shopping there. At time of publishing, there’s a 65 percent off introductory offer, a 60 percent off Fall sale offer, a Buy On Get One Free offer, 70 percent off lens upgrades offer amongst others. There are undoubtedly bargains to be had here, and even without the discount the designer frames don’t seem quite as high priced as you’d find elsewhere.
In the event that you cannot immediately finance your new glasses, GlassesUSA has a handy 'Buy Now Pay Later' feature, meaning that you can buy glasses and pay in three separate installments.
GlassesUSA indicates on its site that it's more often than not considered as an out-of-network provider, meaning that your glasses won't be covered by your vision insurance if you have it. However, you can still claim your benefit by filling out a reimbursement form and submitting it with a receipt for your prescription glasses.
All the frames’ prices include standard lenses, but without the UV and scratch protection you’d get elsewhere. Returns are free, shipping is free and there’s a 100 percent no questions asked money back guarantee. You can pay with PayPal and Amazon Pay as well as your credit card, and there’s a one-year warranty on all orders.
GlassesUSA review: Getting your glasses
While GlassesUSA has a pretty good track record, you’re bound to find a handful of unhappy customers for any site. Some have reported that their prescription was filled incorrectly, and that ultimately, they had to ship back their glasses due to errors of this kind.
All this makes the 14-day return window seem quite small. Customers have 14 days after the date of delivery to ship back their glasses if they are not satisfied. The problem is that if customers are not at fault, it can be quite the hassle to ship back an item you can't use anyway.
Should I buy from GlassesUSA?
GlassesUSA is a big, slick operation with a good range and keen prices. The frames are the stars, but there aren’t that many lens options available. The website is extensive, but easy to use, and the handy online widgets are a big help when choosing and buying your new eyewear.
The Virtual Mirror looks like a gimmick but is actually really useful, and the Prescription Scanner could be a real time saver if you needed it. Also, the multitude of offers should have something for everyone, and you’re covered with free shipping, returns and a money-back guarantee.
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