Frugal Tips for Anyone Who Needs Prescription Glasses


If the world’s been a little blurry lately or your eyes have been working a little too hard, causing you headaches or other problems, then you may need prescription glasses. Don’t worry, this is just a necessary part of life – especially as you get older. However, it isn’t necessary to break the bank in order to have your eyes tested and find the perfect glasses. There are several things you can do to ensure that the whole process is as cheap as possible.

How to get a free eye test

Getting your eyes tested is the first expense, and it can put people off before they even start looking at glasses. However, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get your eyes tested for free. For starters, anyone who lives in Scotland is entitled to a free eye test curtesy of the NHS. This is because NHS budget is a devolved power that Scottish government decided to allocate more funds to eye health. It doesn’t matter what age or situation you’re in, if you live in Scotland you don’t have to pay for an eye test.

In the rest of the UK, eye tests aren’t free for everyone. They are, however, free for some people. You are entitled to a free eye test through the NHS if you are under 16 or over 60. It’s also free if you suffer from a range of different conditions, such as diabetes or glaucoma. It’s also free if you receive income support or many other kinds of financial assistance. You can read the entire list of criteria on the official NHS website.

Even if you don’t meet any of these criteria, you can still get a free eye test if you keep an eye out (no pun intended – honestly!) for special deals at opticians. Many high-street opticians regularly promote themselves by offering free eye tests. These tests often come with the proviso that you purchase a pair of prescription glasses from them, but you are not actually legally obliged to do this. However, the optician is legally obliged to handover your prescription details, regardless of whether you buy a pair of glasses there or not. If you feel awkward about doing this, just tell them you need a while to make up your mind before you leave…

Shop online to save a lot of money

Now that you’ve had your free eye test, you can begin looking for the cheapest high-quality pair of prescription glasses you can find. And the “high-quality” part of that is important, as anything low quality will likely fall apart within a year. Then you’ll have to buy a new pair. So low-quality prescription glasses are a bad idea. It’s false economy.

Instead, the key is to find high-quality designer glasses at heavily discounted prices. The internet is, undoubtedly, the best place to find discounted designer eyewear. This is because online stores don’t have nearly as high overheads as physical stores do and can pass the savings on to their customers. Online retailers can also buy designer eyewear in bulk because they mainly work out of warehouses, offering more space at a much lower rent than high-street stores. Online stores also tend to have sales more frequently than normal stores, so it’s a great idea to look out for eyewear sales – perhaps even search for ‘glasses sale’ and ‘prescription glasses discount’, etc.

Another benefit of shopping for your glasses online is that online stores tend to provide a much bigger selection. This range is important for the next section, when I talk about finding the right glasses shape to suit your face. Online retailers like Red Hot Sunglasses have a comprehensive online prescription glasses range and they offer free prescription lenses with all glasses. It’s deals like this that could end up saving you a lot of money down the line.

Figure out what shape your face is

This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, as everyone’s face is shaped a little differently and whether your face is big or small also factors into it. Anyone who’s ever tried on someone’s glasses and looked incredible or somewhat less than incredible will know that some glasses suit people more than others. This comes down to the shape of your face, and if you’re going to save money by shopping online, then you’ll need to have a good idea about what kinds of glasses look good on you.

Figure out your face’s shape by looking in the mirror and drawing around your face’s outline with something that you can wash off later, such as a crayon. Obviously, your face won’t translate into a perfect geometric shape on the mirror, but it will give you a rough idea. Look at the rough outline of your face in the mirror and match it to one of the following shapes: round, oval, square, rectangle, triangle, diamond, or heart. Of course, there are lots of other shapes out there, but these are the most common. The goal is to find a pair of glasses that complement your features, usually by balancing them out. There are whole articles dedicated to matching glasses to face shapes, so here’s a very brief summary:

Round face + Square or angular glasses (balancing out your round features)

Square face + Round or curved glasses (balancing out your angular features)

Oval face + Anything, you’re blessed with the most versatile face shape there is!

Rectangle + Larger round and curved glasses (the larger size makes your face appear less long and the curved shape balances your angular features)

Triangle/Diamond/Heart + Aviator, Clubmaster, or Cateye glasses (top-heavy designs draw the eye up away from your prominent chin)

That’s all I have time for in this guide. I hope it’s been a useful read and that a few readers find their perfect prescription glasses and save a lot money in the process!

Kai Bond

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