It can be a little daunting when it comes time to buy a new pair of glasses. Perhaps your current pair is on its last legs or your prescription has changed enough that you need to buy a new pair. Whatever the reason, don’t be put off by the thought of shopping around for glasses online. There are several easy steps you can make to ensure you save money and time finding the perfect glasses for you.
Why Shop Online?
Online glasses and sunglasses retailers almost always have the best prices. This is because they don’t have to pay the higher costs of running a high-street store, such as higher rent for a property with greater chance of foot traffic, décor (including product displays), sales assistants’ wages, etc. Some online eyewear shops, such as Foster Grant, also save money by selling directly to the customers, skipping the middleman who has to take their own cut. These kinds of online shops – especially from an affordable designer brand like Foster Grant – are perhaps the best source of low-budget high-quality eyewear. For more expensive, high-fashion brands, such Tom Ford, Ray-Ban, and Prada, other online eyewear shops that sell a large range of different brands can also be a great option, as they buy in bulk from all the biggest brands and can pass the savings onto the customer.
Obtain a Free Eye Test
If you live in the UK, it is possible to obtain free eye tests at different times of year as various opticians make special offers available to their customers. Look out for free eye tests advertised at your local opticians. Opticians offer free eye tests in order to encourage new customers to come into their stores, but you are never obligated to shop from them once they have given you your prescription. In fact, opticians are legally obligated to give you your prescription regardless of whether or not you decide to buy a pair of glasses from them. It does not have to be an awkward encounter; you can simply look around the store for a few minutes and then tell them you need a little more time to decide.
If you live in Scotland, then you will receive free eye tests on the NHS, so make sure you take advantage of this! For the rest of the UK, you can receive a free eye test from the NHS if you meet any of the criteria found on the NHS Choices website, but here are some of the main ways in which you may be eligible:
– If you have glaucoma, or are at risk of developing it.
– If you are registered as partially sighted
– If you require complex lenses
– If you are over 60
– If you are under 19 and you are in full-time education
– If you are under 16 years old.
Whether you qualify through the NHS or you take advantage of your local optometrist’s special offer, there is usually some way to obtain a free eye test. It’s always good to save money, and any costs saved can potentially be added to the price of your glasses.
Find Glasses That Suit Your Face
Now that you have your [hopefully free] prescription and you know that you can find cheaper glasses online, you need to surpass the one hurdle many people have with ordering glasses online: not being able to try on the various glasses to find the right ones for you.
There are two great pieces of advice for this:
– Try on several glasses in a shop
– Figure out your face shape
Try on Several Glasses in a Shop
When you’re at the opticians, try on several different glasses, comparing the shapes and sizes you like best. The width of your glasses comes from two things: the width of the lenses and the width of the bridge. You can find the exact measurements on the inside arm of each pair of glasses. There are two digits; the first number relates to width of the glasses’ lenses and the second number corresponds to the width of the bridge. If you find a bridge that fits your nose, then your glasses are sure to fit you comfortably and securely. With your glasses’ shape, it’s a good idea to find one or two you like and two look for these shapes when it comes to shopping online.
Figure Out Your Face Shape
If you don’t want to try on glasses in a shop, you can work out your face shape and then match it to the right glasses. The best way to figure out your face shape is to draw around the outline of it in a mirror using a crayon (or something oil based that will wash off!). Draw around your jawline and up around your hairline. Once you have a rough idea of your face shape you can easily match specific shapes of glasses to it. There are so many different nuances with face shapes, but there are five main face shapes to use as a guide:
Round – Having a round face doesn’t mean your face is fat, it just means that your face is as tall as it is wide, and that your face’s widest part is in the middle and it tapers at the forehead and the chin. For round faces, look for square or angular geometric shapes that counteract your face’s softness, balancing your features.
Square – Your face is square if it has a rough square outline, it is as tall as it is wide, and its widest points are at the temples and the jaw. For square faces, it is best to go with a softer, rounder shape that balances out your angular features.
Oblong/Rectangle – Oblong and rectangle face shapes are both taller than they are wide and benefit from oversized frames that make your face appear smaller. For an oblong face shape, look for angular frames. For rectangular face shapes, look for round frames to balance out your features.
Diamond/Heart – Diamond and heart-shaped faces have chin that tapers in to a narrow point. Heart-shaped faces are wide at the cheekbones and the temples, whilst diamond-shaped faces taper in at the forehead. For both shapes, use top-heavy glasses to balance out your face. Cateye, Aviators, and Clubmasters are idea shapes for people with diamond- and heart-shaped faces.
Oval – If you have an oval face, then you’re one of the lucky ones, as it is the most versatile shape of all and will likely suit almost any shape or size of glasses you try on. Oval faces are slightly taller than they are wide, and they taper slightly at the chin and the forehead.
And that’s all of the time I have in this guide. I hope you picked up one or two great pieces of advice about how to save money and find the right glasses for you when shopping online.