Buying Glasses Online

With the magnitude of products and information right at our fingertips, embarking on an online search is daunting! How do we weed through products we don't want and get to the one we do? It's easier than you think! We've compiled a brief list of tips to make your online buying experience simple, smooth, and successful.

1. Sport Your Style

While the obvious intended use of your prescription glasses is to improve your vision, you also want a frame that caters to your lifestyle. The online selection of frame features, fits, styles, and brands is larger than any store or doctor's office, so you have the freedom to tailor your glasses to your specific style and need. Whether you’re looking for a pair of glasses for all those long days at the office, or a frame that stays in place while you hit the gym, have this function in mind before diving into the world of online shopping.

Styles & Shapes of Glasses You Can Buy Online

For many of us, glasses are an everyday necessity, which makes them the most important accessory! They are an extension of your personal style and enhance your performance in sports and other activities. Frame color, shape, size and detailing are all features you can render to stand out and allow your glasses to complement you, rather than cover you up. Whether you’re looking to fulfill a classic, sporty, hipster, or vintage look, there's a frame to accomplish it. Don’t let glasses hinder your appearance, let ‘em bolster it!

2. Face Shape and Features

Knowing which frames are most flattering for your face shape can help you start the process of buying glasses online. They're more than just a tool, your glasses reside on your face, where we look to communicate and connect with others. The right frame compliments your face shape and size, highlights your favorite features, and can even hide the not-so-favorite features. Round, square, oval, heart- whatever face shape you have, there's a frame that is sure to work exceptionally well for you.

  • Round-shaped faces: look for square/rectangular and upswept frames to add angles, and avoid small, short, and round frames.
  • Square-shaped faces: oval and round frames are ideal because they soften the sharpness of the angles in your face, and a pop of color enhances your proportions as well.
  • Oval-shaped faces: choose a frame that's not so big that it covers up too much of your face because oval-shaped faces are already naturally proportioned. Almost any type of frame looks good, but choose a color that will complement your eye and hair color.
  • Heart-shaped faces: if you're less confident about your heart-shaped face, look for a light-colored or rimless frame, but if you want to balance out your features, gravitate to bottom-heavy frames. Further rules of thumb include choosing an oval-shaped frame with low-set temples to draw attention to all the right places.

Face Shapes for Buying Glasses Online

While these are some frames we recommend in correlation with face shape, a lot of what constitutes the “right frame for you" is based on whether or not you like the look, feel, and fit of them. We’ve given you this face-frame guide to help you narrow down your options, but not to limit you. Bottom line is, if you like it, wear it!

3. Comfort and Performance Features

Various brands construct their frames with materials that cater to different facial features so that you’re guaranteed long-lasting comfort and a secure fit. Some of the features to look for and consider when you’re buying glasses online include:

  • Bridge Fit- The bridge of your nose largely effects how a frame may fit. Frames that are too big or that don't fit the bridge of your nose properly can slip, whereas frames that are too small for your nose bridge can leave you with discomfort and red marks on your nose. Not only is improper bridge fit uncomfortable, it can cause you to look through the wrong part of your lenses and give you a headache. Buying glasses online gives you access to a multitude of frame and bridge sizes so they are perfect your face!
  • Adjustable Nose Pads- Adjustable nose pads give you the freedom to adapt your favorite pair of frames to your face.
  • Rubberized Nose Pads and Temples- Nose pads and temples with grips are optimal for a secure fit, as they work to keep the frame comfortably in place when active. These are especially important in prescription sport glasses because they typically increase grip the more you sweat, maintaining a secure optical alignment.
  • Temple Types: Straight Temples are the most common type. There's no bend above the ear, but they do gently hug the head. Straight temples are usually great for helmet compatibility.

Smith Finley in Poppy

Smith Finley in Poppy

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Cable-Wrapped Temples have temples that curve over your ears for a tight, snug fit. They're made to stay on even in fast-paced activities.

Julbo Vermont Classic with Brass and Leather FramesJulbo Vermont Classic in Brass and Leather

Shop Julbo Vermont Classic

4. General Lens Features

When buying glasses online, knowing the differences between lens features is key. This way you can accurately choose what you need or don't need in your lens.

  • Digital Lenses - a more accurate way of manufacturing lenses that attempts to eliminate distortion. Particularly helpful with higher prescriptions, larger lenses, and wrapped frames.
  • Light-Reactive Lenses - a lens that changes in color based on the amount of light. Available in many different forms, intensities, and colors. Generally known as Transitions®.
  • Polarized Lenses - a filter within the lens that reduces glare by blocking light that enters from different angles, particularly light bouncing off of surfaces (water, road, windows, etc.).

5. Lens Coatings

Lens coatings are what make your glasses a long-lasting, effective tool. Let's look at some different types of lens coatings:

  • Tints - results from a dip-process of adding color to a lens to saturate and add contrast to your environment.
  • Mirror Coating - a reflective top coating that is applied to the front surface of a lens. Mirror-coated lenses have a shiny finish. Functionally, it reduces light transmission, particularly from harsh, bright light (e.g. driving west while the sun is setting). There are many colors available in the 2 different types of mirror coatings:

Flash Mirror Coatings - more subtle, less of an appearance of color

Solid Mirror Coatings - highly reflective

100% Daze in Matte Black with Hiper Iceberg Blue Mirror

100% Daze in Matte Black with Hiper Iceberg Blue Mirror

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  • Anti-Reflective Coating - reduces glare off of the surface of the lens, creating more crisp vision for the wearer. Highly recommended for clear lenses or any lens that transitions from clear to a dark color.
  • Scratch-Coating - hard coating that's extremely scratch resistant.

6. Reference Your Old Glasses

Whether you love ‘em or hate 'em, having an old pair of glasses on-hand can help you find a new pair of glasses. Say you love your current glasses, but you’re looking for another pair to add to your collection. Having the sizing and fit available is really helpful when picking out a pair of glasses online, because you know what works well for you. And vice a versa. If you have a pair of glasses that you don't like, have those close by too. You can avoid the features or fit you dislike when browsing for a new pair.

7. Vision Type

If you need prescription glasses, make sure you know what type of vision you have:

  • Single-vision - 1 prescription, all the way through the lens.
  • Lined Bifocal - 2 prescriptions in one lens, traditionally for distance and up-close reading, but can be modified for (almost) any 2 distances. There is a visible seam on the lens between the 2 Rx areas.
  • Progressive - lens that has 3 general areas: distance, intermediate, and near. No visible lines or seams on the lens. The power of the lens changes gradually.

8. Updated Prescription

Once you’ve landed on a frame that works best for your style and vision needs, you’ll want to make sure you have an updated prescription handy so that opticians, like at SportRX, can get to work on the best prescription lenses for your favorite frames. Not sure what anything on your prescription form means? Visit this helpful diagram on how to read your prescription.

9. Pupil Distance (PD)

In order for your prescription to provide the clearest vision possible, the center should be positioned directly in front of your pupils. To determine where to place the center of your prescription, we’ll need to know the distance between your pupils, otherwise known as your PD.

Since knowing your PD is such an essential part of buying glasses online, we’ve made a guide to help you measure it from the comfort of your own home. If you can't get your PD from the last place you purchased prescription glasses from, no problem. We’ve got other options. For some quick and easy ways to measure your PD, visit our helpful tutorial on How to Measure Your Pupil Distance.

10. FSA / HSA Accounts

If you’re wondering whether or not you have the freedom to use your Flex Spending Accounts when you buy glasses online, the answer is, absolutely! And we’re more than happy to accept those dollars. So, if you have available FSA / HSA dollars to spend, use them for your favorite pair of glasses online at SportRx. For more information on FSA / HSA in relation to buying glasses online, check out our blog to learn of all your eligible Flex Spending options.

Woman Buying Glasses Online



Need prescription glasses? Done. When you shop with us, you’ll find video guides and tooltips throughout the build process as you customize the perfect pair. An answer to all your questions is at your fingertips, and if you want to chat with an expert, Contact Us. We’ll put you in touch with one of our friendly in-house opticians who can help you build your prescription glasses.

Ditch risky online shopping with the See Better Guarantee. Try your glasses for 45 days. If you’re not satisfied, send them back. Get a full refund, exchange, or credit towards a better pair. And return shipping? Covered. Get your pair of prescription glasses at SportRx today!