Buying guide

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Buying guide

Looking to buy some glasses? Are you unsure about the best place to purchase them from? Are you considering purchasing them online rather than your high street optician? Below you will find out more information to help you answer these questions.

Shall you buy glasses online or in store?

With online shopping becoming popular in many markets over the past few years, it has also started growing in the optical industry. More and more people are choosing to buy glasses online. The main benefit of purchasing glasses online is that they often have a wider frame selection to choose from. The other main benefit is cost, online stores have lower overheads which mean that they can offer frames at a lower price.

However the downside of buying online is that you don’t get that personal professional experience which you get at high street opticians. This is helpful when you want a second opinion, or advice on which frame suit your face shape as well as prescription.

Frames also come in different sizes so although you may like the look of the frame you won’t be able to tell how well they fit you unless you try them. Some online retailers give the option to try before you buy, this way you are able to try a selection of frames before you commit to purchasing them which is useful.


Choosing your frame is just the start of the journey when it comes to buying glasses. there are a number of important measurements that need to be taken before the you prescription is put into the frame.

Pupillary distance (PD): This is the distance from the centres of your pupils; it ensures the optical centre of the lens in the correct part of the frame, giving you the best area for clear vision. This is an important measurement as it ensures you are looking through the correct part of the lens. Incorrect pupillary distance measurements can cause eye strain, blurred vision and also double vision.

Heights: This is a vertical measurement to measure the distance from the bottom of the lens to the centre of the pupil. This is an important measurement in people with high prescriptions and also when purchasing multifocal glasses.

High street opticians are well trained in taking the measurements and often use specialist tools to help aid them in taking accurate readings.

Online stores often give guides on measuring the pupillary distance however it is advised to get a skilled person to do this to ensure accurate readings.


Are you on a budget? Looking for the cheapest place to buy glasses?

Below is a breakdown of the cheapest glasses online and in high street opticians:

Image by Scott Van Daalen
Cost of cheapest glasses
High street opticians:
Cost of cheapest glasses
Boots opticians
Vision express

Prices are correct as of April 2020