Shopping for eyewear online has become a routine alternative to in-person shopping for glasses. Consumer-friendly benefits, such as virtual try-ons and free shipping, has made online shopping easier, cost-effective, and fun.
Many web-based retailers currently exist in this space, giving you plenty of options. In this review we’ll go over the pros and cons of 39DollarGlasses, an online eyewear retailer.
39DollarGlasses is a Long Island, New York-based company that sells glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses exclusively online. It was established in 2000 by optometrists (eye doctors). You can get glasses here for women, men, and children.
As their name suggests, eyeglasses here start at $39. There are also more expensive frames to choose from. Add-ons, such as anti-reflective lens coatings and transitions lenses cost extra. Bifocals and progressive lenses are also more expensive than single vision lenses. You may wind up paying a similar amount of money here for comparable eyewear elsewhere. However, there are budget options that make 39DollarGlasses an affordable choice.
39DollarGlasses is a relatively small company that’s reported as having 60 employees. Despite being small, they have a substantial and meaningful charitable relationship with the ChildSight program run by Helen Keller International. ChildSight is dedicated to improving the eyesight and academic potential of children living in poverty throughout the U.S. 39DollarGlasses has donated thousands of pairs of eyeglasses to children who can’t afford them through this program.
39DollarGlasses carries a moderately-sized selection of eyeglasses and sunglasses for men and women, including anti-glare night driving glasses. They also have a small selection of frames for kids. They only sell their own brand of eyewear. No brand names or designer frames are available here.
Lens packages for additional purchase include:
- polycarbonate sun lenses
- blue-light-blocking lenses
- Ultimate View HD
- antireflective coating
Brand-name contact lenses are sold by the company through Online Contacts.
No eyewear accessories are sold on the site.
Eyeglasses start at $39 and sunglasses start at $48.95. Most of the frames you’ll find on the site cost $39, although several pairs cost $70 or more.
Single prescription lenses are included in the cost of glasses. Bifocals and no-line progressives typically cost around $119.
Lens treatments cost extra, with the exception of UV coating, and scratch resistance.
Contact lenses cost about as much as they do on other sites.
39DollarGlasses doesn’t take vision insurance. However, they make it easy for you to submit your reimbursement claim by including the claim forms and addresses for 10 insurers, directly on their site.
To purchase glasses here you’ll need to provide your prescription and have your order filled through their website.
They don’t have an app, or a brick-and-mortar store where you can shop in person.
Your prescription details
Before you order glasses, you’ll need a copy of your prescription to enter manually. You may also fax it to 631.980.4169.
Your PD measurement
You’ll also need to measure and supply your pupillary distance (PD) measurement.
The steps to buy glasses from 39DollarGlasses.com
- Start by browsing frames in an eyeglass category, such as sunglasses or kid’s glasses. You can also shop by lens type.
- You can use their try-on feature, called ExactFit, as you go.
- Enter your prescription and pupillary distance.
- Customize your lenses by choosing a lens package.
- Place your order.
According to the company, most orders ship within 2 to 7 days of receipt. Higher prescriptions and multifocals take an additional 1 to 4 days.
USPS first class shipping is only free if your order costs more than $99. First class shipping on all other orders costs $4.95. For faster delivery, FedEx shipping options range from $5.00 to $17.90.
There are a few online complaints about longer than expected shipping times, but most reviews, particularly on 39DollarGlasses Facebook page, mention fast delivery.
Returns on single lens prescriptions can be made within 30 days for a full refund, less the cost of shipping.
You can return your single prescription eyeglasses within 90 days for a full exchange or store credit.
After the original order is remade, nonrefundable remake fees of 50 percent apply on exchanges. If you request a refund after a remake, your cost will be assessed at 50 percent of your original cost. You may request a 50 percent refund of this reduced cost, or a store credit for the same amount.
If you purchased bifocals or progressives, you may exchange them or have them remade one time only at no cost, within the first 90 days after delivery. If you change your order before it ships, this change will be considered your one free remake or exchange. Refunds on multifocal lenses include a whopping 30 percent restocking fee.
To initiate a return:
- Contact the company by phone, live chat, or email within 30 to 90 days. Their toll-free number is 1-800-672-6304. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Request a return merchandise authorization (RMA) number.
- The RMA and a prepaid postage return label will be sent to you.
- Returned items must be in their original condition, in the hard eyeglass case they were originally shipped in.
39DollarGlasses has an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The average customer rating based on less than 20 reviews is 1.82 stars out of 5. Complaints typically center around inaccurate prescriptions, poor fitting frames, inadequate customer service, and unanticipated fees.
Similar complaints can be found on Facebook alongside other, more positive reviews.
At Trustpilot, which has close to 50 customer responses, the majority of reviews are excellent, giving the company an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
With a prescription in hand you may be interested in other online eyewear retailers. Some offer deep discounts, buy-one-get-one (BOGO) options, plus designer and brand name frames.
EyeBuyDirect often runs BOGO specials, plus added discounts, and free shipping. Frames here start at $32 before the added discounts are applied.
Zenni eyewear ranges from budget to moderately priced. You may even be able to find $8 glasses here. Unlike 39DollarGlasses, which produces eyewear domestically, Zenni manufacturers products offshore, primarily in China. Neither retailer carries designer or brand name frames. Zenni’s selection is larger, and filled with high fashion, trendy choices. Zenni carries over 1,200 women’s frames. 39DollarGlasses carries less than 150.
GlassesUSA has a vast selection of thousands of frames, including designer and name brands. You’re likely to pay more here than you will at 39DollarGlasses. If having lots of options to choose from is important to you, browsing the site may make sense however, especially for kid’s glasses. Unlike 39DollarGlasses which has around 20 children’s frames, GlassesUSA has just under 300 options.
Costco and other “big box” stores carry eyewear you can purchase online or in person, at their vision centers. Glasses at Costco are typically very affordable, but you must be a member to shop there.
Warby Parker has in person and online shopping available. Online shoppers can use their virtual vision test to update a prescription for single lenses. You can also use their home try-on service, which lets you check out up to five frames at home for free for 5 days.
For any of these options, you’ll still want to have a vision prescription that’s less than 2 years old.
Many eye care professionals have their own selection of eyewear you can browse and choose from. A big plus to this type of in-person visit is the ability to get your eye health assessed, and your glasses fitted professionally. They can also help you with existing glasses that were bought somewhere else.
This company provides good value, especially for people with single prescriptions.
Their charitable giving profile and domestic production may also be plusses that are important to you.
If you’re comfortable with a smaller selection and don’t care about designer or name brands, 39DollarGlasses may be a good fit for your eyewear needs.