Thrifty District: Buying Eyeglasses Online

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘dcfdelacruz’

I hate buying eyeglasses. I broke a pair once when I didn’t have health insurance and had to pay full price… and whimpered. I just wanted to have some acuvue contact lenses. The next pair I bought cost more than $150 even with insurance, and I did NOT have it to spare, being a fabulous-but-underemployed twenty-something at the time.

I’m no longer eating ramen to pay for a new pair of glasses, but as it became increasingly clear that I was past due for an updated prescription, I got irritated. I can always think of something I’d rather do with a few hundred dollars than drop it on two pairs of glasses (don’t forget the sunglasses).

I was endlessly procrastinating making an optometrist appointment when I read a Slate article about buying glasses online. Yes, picking out something like a pair of glasses without trying them on is a bit of a risk, but I’ve been buying my shoes online for years. Besides, for $35, getting a pair of glasses I wasn’t crazy about was an acceptable risk. Finally I had no excuse, and made my appointment.

I walked out of my exam with a copy of my prescription and headed for the computer. I poked around at and looked for recommendations, and noticed that EyeBuyDirect is based in Bethesda. Bonus- buying glasses online, for cheap, from a local company. Yes, the glasses are manufactured overseas, but where do you think your fancy local eyewear boutique gets your glasses? Eyewear gnomes with DC birth certificates refracting the plastic in the shop basement? No, they get their product from Shanghai, like every respectable manufacturing operation.

I measured the distance between my pupils and the width of my old glasses to make sure I was getting the right frame size. Then I just picked out a couple of frames I liked, entered my prescription, and checked out. Including the 15% off coupon I had from GlassyEyes, I paid $57 for two pairs of glasses.

My glasses took just over two weeks to arrive, and they’re perfect. I love how they look, and I’m already plotting another pair in a different color- I used to make it a point to buy the one pair of glasses I could afford in a neutral color so they would never clash with my clothes, but for $35, I can afford to accessorize.

In case you are curious, here’s what I got:

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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One thought on “Thrifty District: Buying Eyeglasses Online

  1. Tiffany

    Thank you for the information. I had put off purchasing eyeglasses after being treating shabbily at a local place(1.50 hour wait for a scheduled appointment with no apologies at name-also-used-to-belittle-eyeglass-wearers place).