Handy tips for buying prescription glasses online


We understand that buying glasses may not feel like much of a priority right now.  But if you break or lose them, you may find that you need a new pair – and with the opticians closed, more and more people are moving online to buy them.

Perhaps your newly home-schooled little one has picked them up and broken them? Maybe you sat on them at your makeshift office desk …or the dog had a good old chew while on a conference call?

In new research* by online glasses retailer, Low Cost Glasses, nearly half of glasses-wearers (44%) have needed an emergency new pair of glasses due to an unfortunate specs-mishap. And if it’s not a mishap, perhaps you just fancy a new look for a bit of a pick-me-up? And at the moment, who could blame you.

Buying prescription glasses online may be new for many, but it’s super easy and can save you money. Here are four handy tips from the experts at Low Cost Glasses to help guide you through buying your glasses online for the first time;



If you can, try and make sure that your prescription is two years’ old or less before you shop online for your new glasses. If you can’t find your prescription or don’t have a copy, call your optician and they will share it with you. However, during the Covid-19 crisis, many online retailers are waiving the two-year maximum to allow for the fact that the opticians are closed.



The right frame can enhance your features and change your whole look. You can search by frame style and shape, colour, brand, lens type, material and more – shopping online is a great chance to explore different styles. Use the virtual try-on style advising tool online with your webcam to see how they look.

With a rounded face shape (oval, round or heart shaped), an angular frame will be a great start point for your search. If you have a more angular shaped face (square, triangular or diamond), then a rounder frame will be a good option.

Finally, you may not realise that on the inside arm of your glasses there is a set of three numbers. Theydescribe the size of your frames, all in millimeters (mm). If you like the size and shape of your current glasses, you can search by these numbers so that the frame suggestions you get back from search are going to be in the same sort of size.



Prescriptions can look confusing but they really aren’t. The website will guide you step by step on interpreting the numbers and prompting you with what numbers they need to make your glasses. Formats can vary depending on where you had your eye test, but all are supported when buying online.

It’s especially important to know what lens type you need – your optometrist will have advised you on whether you need distance, computer, reading or varifocal lenses. You can also pick blank, which basically means no prescription – for those who don’t want to miss out on the fun of accessorising!

There are a few key things that you will need to insert when you buy, and if you follow the prompts online step by step, it really is a case of follow by numbers.

Distance Lenses You will be prompted to give your distance row of figures which will consist of SPH, CYL and AXIS.

Reading and Varifocal/ Progressive Lenses You will be prompted to give your distance row of figures which will consist of SPH, CYL and AXIS and NEAR ADD (near addition).

Computer/ Intermediate Lenses You will be prompted for an INTER ADD (intermediate addition). This is usually different to the NEAR ADD (near addition).


4. CUSTOMISE YOUR GLASSES – There are typically two ways to customise your glasses; lens coating and lens index.Lens Coating – this is the finish on your lenses, so is how you turn your standard glasses into sunglasses if you wish, among other things. Choices include clear, anti-reflective, light reactive, polarised, tinted and mirrored. If you are not sure, all options will be explained fully before you pick.  Lens Index – when it comes to higher value prescriptions, thinner lenses are often recommended. This is indicated by the lens index number – the higher the number, the thinner and flatter the lens. The lens index ranges from bronze up to platinum, which are the thinnest and lightest lenses.


To browse or buy, please visit

FB @LowCostGlassesUK, INS @lowcostglasses, TW @lowcostglasses1.


* The research was carried out online by Research Without Barriers – RWB between 28th February 2020 and 2nd March 2020. The sample comprised 2,007 UK adults of which 1,525 wear glasses.











Leave a Reply

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Please wait while we process your request.

Do not refresh or close your window at any time.