Best Prescription Sunglasses for 2024

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Best Prescription Sunglasses for 2024


See at Zenni

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Best for the budget-conscious

Zenni


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See at Eyeglasses.com

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Best for high-quality lenses and massive frame selection

Eyeglasses.com


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Sunglasses aren’t just a fashionable accessory; they serve an important role by protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. It could get tricky to buy fancy sunglasses when you require prescription lenses to correct your vision. Getting the right balance of style and function can be challenging. We’re here to help you make the right decision.

When creating a custom pair, you have a variety of lens tints to choose from, as well as options like polarized or mirrored lenses, both of which reduce sun, UV rays and reflection glare — and yes, you want some anti-glare coating at a minimum, that’s a must. Gray, green and brown tints are the most popular. I tend to go with gray, but some sites also offer yellow, blue or rose options. (This is a good guide to lens colors.) Tint density is also important, with a higher density blocking out more sunlight. Nonfashion sunglasses’ tint density tends to range from 50% to 80%. You can also get gradient tints that offer more density in different parts of the lens.

Best overall prescription sunglasses

Our top pick for this roundup of prescription glasses is Warby Parker. Besides affordability, Warby Parker offers a wide array of stylish sunglasses that you can customize to your needs. It also has a great app that helps you see how your sunglasses will look on you.

Best prescription sunglasses

Several CNET editors have bought their glasses from Warby Parker, which has a good selection of sharp-looking eyeglass frames. While glasses start at only $95 with a single-vision prescription, chances are you’re going to pay a bit more — around $150 to $200 — based on the type of frame options you choose, your prescription and the type of eyeglass lenses. Sunglasses start at $175, and progressive lenses in both eyeglasses and sunglasses start at $295. Based on my and my co-workers’ experience, the finished products tend to be a step up from what more budget-oriented sites offer. 

Notable site features: The company’s iPhone app — sorry, there’s no Android version yet — allows you to search the site by frame size and to try on various frames virtually (it works surprisingly well) and better yet, you can try up to five frames at home for five days for free. Once your five days are up, you place your box in the mail with the prepaid return label. Hopefully, you find at least one style that you like from among the five you picked for the home trial. There’s also a $15 online virtual vision test to renew outdated prescriptions. (Based on the test, you may not be eligible.) 

Shipping times: According to Warby: “Single vision glasses take seven to 10 business days to reach you from the time we have all of your order information. Sunglasses and progressives take 10 to 12 business days to reach you.” (These estimates jibe with the experience of CNET editors who have used the service; my pair arrived in six business days.) You can pay more for expedited shipping.

Knockaround doesn’t have a prescription service, but it sells regular sunglasses, including polarized and mirrored coating for $25 and even slightly less (prices start as low as $15). They’re not premium glasses obviously, but the lenses are pretty decent and the glasses look more expensive than their low price would indicate. These designer sunglasses also seem pretty durable. Several different styles, colors and lens options are available. These are the glasses to get if you don’t want to worry about losing your sunglasses. 

Notable site features: A design-your-own feature lets you take sunglass frames and customize the colors of each part of the frame (each arm can be a different color, for example) and lens options.

Shipping times: About five to seven days, although custom orders can take up to 12 days.

Roka started out making athletic glasses for runners, bikers and triathletes, and many of its prescription frames are bendable at the ends and have rubberized tracks that help you get a more secure fit. The frames also come with three sizes of grippy nose pads to ensure a better fit. These glasses and prescription sunglasses are among the most comfortable glasses I’ve worn — and they really stay on your face. I personally like the small Oslo frame in clear. 

Like Warby Parker, these are at the higher end of the online prescription eyeglasses spectrum, with prices of around $200 for a completed pair of prescription glasses, depending on some of the lens upgrades you might add. But Roka has some of the best glasses — and sunglasses — frames out there. Roka’s lens technology gives you a choice of a progressive lens, polarized lens, or blue-light-blocking lens in choosing your perfect prescription sunglasses. 

Notable site features: Like Warby, there’s a home-trial program. You can try up to four frames at home for up to seven days. The box ships with a prepaid return label — you just drop it off at a post office to send it back.

Shipping times: Roka doesn’t provide general estimates, and instead will give you a shipping time estimate when individual orders are placed based on which shipping option you choose (next-day, second-day or ground). 

Zenni has been around for a while, and it’s the first site I used to buy cheap prescription glasses and sunglasses online. It’s more of a budget-minded eyeglass site, and over the years, I got some nice deals on cheap glasses, particularly when Zenni was running its occasional three-for-two glasses sales. I’ve had both standard eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses made here and so has fellow editor David Katzmaier, who has since graduated to Warby Parker (he said he would still buy prescription sunglasses at Zenni because they’re cheap and decent enough). Zenni also has protective goggles for sports use and safety glasses for use in commercial & construction.

Notable site features: There’s a Frame Fit “mirror” feature that allows you to upload a photo and see the frames on your face, as well as a new “virtual” try-on feature (powered by Ditto) that allows you to see the glasses on your face as you move around using your computer’s webcam or your phone’s camera. This is similar to the virtual try-on feature that Warby Parker offers.

Shipping times: “Your eyeglasses are delivered around two weeks from the time we receive your order,” says Zenni. In my experience, that sometimes stretches out closer to three weeks.

Current deals and coupons: Buy one pair, get 20% off each additional pair over $10. Use code B2S22.

 

EyeBuyDirect is similar in many ways to a lot of its competitors. Along with an in-house frame brand (Rflkt Eyewear) it has some Ray-Ban and Oakley frames. I went with a more affordable in-house frame and paired it with a high-end sunglasses lens that turned out to be really sharp with a nice contrast (I went with a gray lens). The price came out to around $200 — you can go cheaper or more expensive. For an additional charge, you can add mirror tinting or gradient tinting which can help with blocking UV light and making reading more comfortable. The frame quality was decent though not on par with, say, Roka’s frames. The lens coating includes anti-scratch coating, anti-reflective coating, mirror coating and UV protective coating to protect from harmful UV rays. The Rx lens quality was good and the ordering process was smooth, with a standard virtual try-on feature where you upload a photo of yourself to help you find the perfect frame. 

Notable site features: For an extra $29, you can get two-day delivery with single-vision lenses (many frames are available for two-day delivery). EyeBuyDirect says it’s the only site offering such fast delivery. It’s also worth noting that like Coastal (see below), with every pair of glasses you buy, you can opt to have EyeBuyDirect donate a pair to a person in need somewhere in the world — you pick where.

Current deals and coupons: Up to 50% summer clearance. No code needed.

Eyeglasses.com carries over 300 brands and 200,000 SKUs, which seems to be the largest catalog of any online glasses site. The filters are also decent, allowing you to filter by rim style, material, brand, price, category, eye size, clips, country of origin, as well as advanced search options such as bridge size and temple size, and B measurement. There’s no virtual try-on feature and a lot of the frames don’t have models to show you what the frames look like on someone’s face. 

Notable site features: Eyeglasses.com says it only sells “high quality, individually made lenses made in the USA” and the sample glasses I tried had excellent lenses that gave me a very sharp image. As I said, there’s a huge selection of lens options, and you get a “Perfect Lenses Guarantee” that allows you to send your glasses back if they don’t work for you (you can get a redo or a full refund (your choice).

The site also offers a lens replacement option for your existing frames (you send your frames in and have your clear lenses converted into tinted lenses). Unlike Lensabl (see below), which highlights the feature, eyeglasses.com doesn’t market the options front and center.

You can also get new sunglasses very quickly if you choose to pay extra for expedited shipping.

Shipping times: Less than six days, according to the site. I received a new pair in a couple of days, but I had an expedited shipping option.

As you’d expect, SportRx caters to people looking for sports-oriented prescription glasses, with a wide variety of options from big eyewear brands such as Smith, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Costa and Nike. Not all the frames it sells have an Rx option, but most do.

Although you’ll get a better deal here than you’d get from your local sunglasses boutique, this is not a budget site and you can end up paying upward of $250 or more for your prescription sunglasses, depending on your prescription. SportRx runs some deals on frames and also gives you access to a real optician to help you decide which glasses are right for your prescription and athletic pursuits. Making Rx lenses for sports glasses can be tricky.

Notable site features: SportRx says that instead of speaking (or live-chatting) to a run-of-the-mill customer service staffer hidden in some obscure call center, you’re speaking with a “friendly SportRx Optician in sunny San Diego” who’s gone through a rigorous training regimen (the SportRx Academy) and is well-versed in various aspects of optics: refractive light, myopia, presbyopia, astigmatism and everything else you can think of. “What’s more,” the site says, “they have extensive training on the best sports frame and lens options on the planet.”

Current deals and coupons: 60% off prescription orders of $300 or more. Use code SUMMER60

Shipping times: Around 14 days.

Founded 10 years ago in Israel, GlassesUSA.com offers more affordable options for buying prescription eyeglasses and designer eyeglasses online than sites like Warby Parker and Roka, with full prescription glasses starting at $38. It also features premium designer frames from high-quality eyeglasses brands, including Ray-Ban and Persol. The designer eyewear lists for more — frames start at $89 for basic completed Rx glasses — but discounts can bring them down in price. 

The one-stop shop for stylish glasses offers a 65% discount off your first frames, as well as discounts on lens upgrades (photochromic, for instance), contact lenses and reading glasses. It also recently launched a landing page for flash sales on nonprescription sunglasses. Around major holidays you can look for seasonal promotions on men’s eyeglasses, women’s glasses and contact lenses.

Notable site features: A virtual “mirror” feature lets you upload your photo to the site and see what a pair of eyeglasses looks like on your face shape to help you find the perfect pair of optical frames. The company is upping the try-at-home ante. Instead of just sending you the frames, GlassesUSA will send you the frame with your actual prescription in it so you can truly try out prescription eyewear for up to 14 days — although the feature is limited to certain frames and lens options. The site also offers a 100% money-back guarantee so you can return your eyeglasses if you don’t like what you ultimately get. While we’ve spotted a few negative online reviews for GlassesUSA.com, the company seems to diligently follow up and respond to each one.

Current deals and coupons: Buy one, get one free, plus free shipping.

Shipping times: Expect seven to 10 days between ordering and arrival of GlassesUSA.com products, depending on the type of glasses and the shipping option you choose

What do you do if you’ve already got a pair of eyeglasses frames you like but your prescription is old (or the lenses on your frames are scratched) and you just want to replace the lenses? Like eyeglasses.com, Lensabl is one of the few sites that allows you to send in your pair of frames and get a new prescription lens for them. Its motto is, “Your frames, our lenses,” with prices starting at $77 for a basic pair of single-vision lenses. A pair of tinted sunglasses lenses start at $97. First-time customers get 15% off. This site is also a good option if you have an old pair of glasses that you want to turn into prescription sunglasses.

Recently, Lensabl also started offering full glasses packages with its own frames that start at $77 for a single vision Rx and $177 for progressive.

Notable site features: For $25, you can renew your prescription online. Not everybody qualifies to take the online eye exam — you have to answer some questions to see if you qualify — but if you do, Lensabl says, “All you need is your computer, smartphone and about 15 minutes of time.” Your results will be reviewed by an eye doctor or optometrist licensed in your state who will then issue you a new prescription via email.

Current deals and coupons: 20% off sitewide. Use code SEE20.

Shipping times: Lensabl pledges “about two weeks” turnaround time from when you ship your frames to when you’ll receive them back.

Are prescription sunglasses the same as prescription glasses?

Prescription sunglasses use the same prescription as regular glasses. This means you can add your prescription to your favorite pair of sunglasses.


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Polarized sunglasses offer the same level of UV protection as nonpolarized ones. What sets them apart is that they reduce reflected glare.


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