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What's behind our eyeglass store Ratings?

The Consumer Reports National Research Center comprises highly trained social scientists, including 9 Ph.D.s, using state-of-the-art techniques to survey more than 1 million consumers each year about products, services, health care and consumer issues.
We look for:
  • Reader score
    Overall satisfaction.
  • Quality of frames and lenses
    Quality of frames and lenses.
  • Frame selection
    Frame selection.
  • Care taken to fit frames and lenses correctly
    Care taken to fit frames and lenses correctly.
  • Employees' knowledge
    Employees' knowledge - in-store purchases only.
  • Follow-up service
    Follow-up service (e.g., frame adjustments, repairs, cleaning).
  • Cost
    Median out-of-pocket price paid for a pair of eyeglass frames and lenses without insurance covering any of the cost.
  • Chose retailer for low prices/sale
    Percentage of shoppers who said low price/sale a main reasons for purchasing glasses from retailer.
  • Difficulty with eyeglasses
    Percentage of shoppers who had difficulties with glasses within the first few weeks of owning them.


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The best place to shop for eyeglasses depends in part on your needs and preferences. If you need glasses right away—you lost them in the ocean or dropped them in the garbage disposal—indie shops, Empire Vision Centers, and, though it’s expensive, LensCrafters, are the better options. If quality, service, and selection are paramount, and you don’t mind spending a little more than $200, go to a doctor’s office or independent boutique. If you're looking for information about eyeglass stores, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ eyeglass store reviews will give you honest advice that you can trust. Use our eyeglass store buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and eyeglass store reviews to help you choose the best eyeglass store for your needs.

Eyeglass store buying guide

A new pair of prescription specs can run you hundreds of dollars. So how can you buy a good pair of glasses without leaving yourself seeing double over the cost?

One answer is to shop at Costco. The store topped our list of eyeglass retailers for overall satisfaction in Consumer Reports' 2012 survey of nearly 19,500 readers. Another option is to buy from eyeglass websites. Doing that, we were able to save as much as 40 percent, compared to buying at a walk-in optical chain store such as LensCrafters. The downside, of course, is that you have to wait for your glasses to be mailed to you, and it can be a hassle returning them if there's a problem. But if you don't mind paying more, or most of your purchase is covered by insurance, go for independent local optical shops or a private doctor's office, which got high scores for satisfaction from our readers and top marks for merchandise quality and customer service. If you want or need your glasses in an hour or so, be prepared to pay for the privilege. LensCrafters was, by far, the fastest place to get new specs – almost half our readers who shopped there had their glasses the same or next day. But it also was among the most expensive.

The readers who responded to our survey spent a median of $244 out-of-pocket on their last pair of prescription specs. They gave Costco Optical the highest score for overall satisfaction among chains, with other discount retailers, including Sam's Club and Walmart, getting decent scores, too. Frame selection was the only category in which these particular discounters didn't get high marks. So if these discount stores don't have that frame you want, consider shopping online.

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