Reasons (And Tips) to Avoid Buying Cheap Glasses

glasses book

Have you ever thought about buying cheap glasses online? It’s hard to resist a pair at only $39. 

After all, it would seem that they should be similar to those that your eye doctor would make for you. While it’s very tempting to save some money wherever you can, online glasses may not be the place to skimp.

Here are a few things to be aware of with online glasses:

Disadvantages of Buying Glasses Online

1. Lower Prices Mean Cutting Corners

One thing that online glass retailers claim is that their products are cheap because they don’t have to hire a big team of professionals and pay the high rent associated with retail optical stores.

Unfortunately, what they don’t tell you is that by purchasing from an online retailer, you won’t get the professional help of a qualified optician to help you choose the right lens and frames to protect your vision.

There is a lot that goes into choosing appropriate frames and lens options; some good help goes a long way towards ensuring your glasses are perfect.

2. Lower Quality

sunglasses pile

In order to produce a product that is significantly cheaper, you have to cut costs along the way. Cutting costs can come in form of low quality materials, which could be more prone to breakage, and may even cause you bodily harm.

Online retailers often compromise on quality and your vision.

There will always be a difference in terms of scratch resistance, impact handling, coatings and levels of optical performance compared to ideal glasses.

3. You Are More Likely to Choose The Wrong Glasses from Bigger Selections

cheap glasses

Online retailers will be quick to tell you that they have a biggest inventory of glasses for you to choose from but the problem comes to selecting your ideal glasses frames.

Remember you’ll be on your own when selecting these glasses.

Just how many of these glasses do you think will fit your face shape as well as your personality? Keep in mind you won’t have anyone to guide you.

A qualified optician knows your requirements as well as the glasses that are going to meet all of your needs depending on your lifestyle.

4. Cheap Sunglasses Can Do More Harm Than Good

Sunglasses can be quite deceiving if you do not know the brand behind them.

Most sunglasses have a grey tint and it’s easy to think that they have all the UV blocking features. The materials used to make sunglasses that can protect your vision from the UV rays and glare are not cheap.

cheap sunglasses

It’s important to know that the level of protection that shades provide to shield your eyes from harmful rays is not solely a function of color of the lenses.

Additionally, it’s impossible to ‘feel’ how your eyes are being protected while you are wearing sunglasses.

Ensure that you buy sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV light.

5. Aggravated Eyestrain and Dizziness

Drug store readers will help you see more clearly especially if you’re nearing the age 40 and experiencing the normal age-related loss of focus known as presbyopia…

The only problem is that it’s very easy to choose the wrong power without proper guidance.

Over the counter readers also do not correct for the differences between the eyes to ensure that they are both focused at the same position, and they do not correct any potential astigmatism. Furthermore most ‘cheaters’ cannot protect your eyes from the blue light emitted by electronic devices.

Tips for Buying Glasses

Now that you know the possible pitfalls of buying cheap glasses online here are a few tips that you can utilize to your advantage to save money when you are buying glasses for you or your family:

  • Do you have an insurance plan? Many people have vision insurance plans such as VSP and EyeMed that they are enrolled in as a part of their benefits package at work. These plans are there to help you cut costs every time you’re buying glasses. Most people don’t know that you can utilize insurance towards distance glasses, prescription readers or sunglasses. We can look up your eligibility for you.

  • Ask about packages. Many authorized optical outlets offer discounts on package deals. Premium eye wear products such as photochromic lenses, anti-reflective coatings and progressive lens come with discounts when bought as a bundle. Always ask for details.

  • Take full advantage of warranties. Every time you buy a quality pair of glasses, ensure that you know read all the terms and conditions of the warranty. Quality eyewear is of better value if it comes with warranties for frame materials, lens scratches, and workmanship. Warranties are more valuable if your children wear glasses and/or you live or work in an harsh environment and generally cover scratches on the lenses for a whole year. Always ask your optician about the terms and conditions of the warranties that come with your newly owned glasses every time you make a purchase.

Ask your eye doctor about possible discounts or promotions on specific lenses and frames and financing plans if needed for your glasses.

Choosing The Best Lenses For Your Glasses


When shopping for eyewear, to maximize your own comfort and convenience —and to make the most of your investment— it’s important to choose the best lenses for your glasses.

Brands and your own prescription are some things to consider if you’re trying to choose the best lenses.

For eyeglasses, choosing the right type of lenses can be quite challenging. We all want to look good in our glasses while at the same time, prioritizing comfort without compromising vision and visual acuity.

Since the market is saturated with so many choices of lenses and coatings, we decided to make this guide for you to have an easy time selecting the best quality lenses for glasses.

But, before we begin, why is choosing the right lenses so important?

When you’re buying glasses, the most apparent factor affecting your appearance and comfort is your frame selection. However, you should not neglect your decision of lenses; the type of lenses you opt for for your eyeglasses often has plays a large role in your overall vision quality, comfort, safety, and even your appearance.

So, when deciding which type of lenses, you should consider how a given lens type will affect these four factors: comfort, appearance, vision, and safety.

The common mistake that people make when buying eyeglasses is not spending enough time to consider their eyeglass lens coatings, materials, and designs.

This guide will equip you with the basics you need to know to purchase any type of prescription eyeglasses wisely.

1. Eyeglass Lens Material

When choosing your lens material there are a number of options to consider, each of which offers its own benefits and drawbacks; some are more affordable or more durable than others, while newer types of lens materials can offer all that with added vision quality but at a higher price point.

Here are some options for you to consider:

Plastic Lenses

Plastic lenses made with CR-39 polymer (short for Columbia Resin 39) are the most common type of glasses lenses in use today, unlike glass lenses —which are rare these days— plastic lenses are lightweight, affordable, and durable, without sacrificing vision quality.

Polycarbonate Lenses

Developed by Gentex Corporation in the 1970s, polycarbonate lenses were originally designed for use in safety glasses, helmet visors, and “bulletproof” glass; they are significantly lighter and more impact resistant than plastic lenses.

Since then, polycarbonate lenses have became increasingly popular for a variety of different types of glasses, including children’s and sports eyewear, but you might not get the most out of them if you’re shopping for the best lenses for reading glasses.


The best lenses for prescription glasses are made with a material called Trivex, which have even higher abbe values than polycarbonate lenses.

Trivex was introduced by PPG Industries in 2001, and it was designed as a rival lens material to polycarbonate lenses. Like polycarbonate lenses, lenses made of Trivex are thin, lightweight and much more impact-resistant than regular plastic or glass lenses.

Here are some of the features of trivex-made lenses.

  • Superior impact- and scratch-resistance

  • It is the lightest material available as of now

  • Has a higher abbe value than other materials like polycarbonate

  • Blocks 100% of UV light

2. Index of Refraction

Also known as the refractive index, this is the relative measure of how a material bends (refracts) light, and this affects the thickness of the lenses for any given frame.

Depending on your prescription, you may or may not need the best high index lenses.

For glasses, thinner lenses typically have a higher refractive index, while thicker lenses usually have a lower refractive index.

3. Abbe Value


A lens material’s abbe value is the measure of how widely it disperses various wavelengths of light as it passes through the lens.

Normally, when you wear eyeglasses with lenses with a low abbe value, you’ll notice chromatic aberrations —optical errors that can be seen as colored halos around objects such as headlights. Chromatic aberrations are the result of high dispersion of light.

For better vision, we recommend lenses with a higher abbe value to filter out unwanted aberrations.

4. Lens Design

There are many lens designs out there, but if you want eyeglasses that are going to meet your everyday needs, we highly recommend Shamir digital lenses.

Shamir’s Autograph II Single Vision is a digital RX prescription lens for everyday use, while thier Autograph III is one of the best lens for progressive glasses, simulating real world images with a phenomenal field of view.

5. Lens Coatings and Treatments


Depending on how you plan to use your glasses, there are a variety of lens treatments and coatings for you to choose from.

For example: for blocking harmful UV rays and blue light, we treat our patient’s lenses with Crizal Prevencia.

Crizal Prevencia blocks out all these harmful rays while allowing in the good light that boosts brain activity and regulates mood and sleep.

If you use computers for more than six hours a day, we highly recommend you get your glasses treated with the Crizal Prevencia coating.

For a more precise vision, we use anti-glare coatings like Avance and Sapphire to block unwanted reflections.

These coatings cut out the glare in our everyday life surroundings to reduce eye strain. The coatings also contain UV protection without the appearance of colored hues on the eyeglass lenses.



The different materials and coatings we’ve listed in this post are optimal for your everyday use.

If you’re looking for the best place to buy lenses for glasses, whether lenses for reading or prescription eyeglasses, you can visit Midtown Optometry.

At Midtown Optometry, we are always more than happy to meet with you and discuss about your ideal lenses.

Feel free to reach out to us and we will be glad to help you.