Best and Worst Eyeglass and Contact Lens Stores

CR’s new survey results can help you find the right eyewear retailer for you

A smiling man examining a pair of eyeglasses

Whether you wear contacts or eyeglasses, chances are your eyewear is one of the first things you reach for each morning. So you want to be sure they help you see better, make you look good, are comfortable, and hold up to daily use. 

That’s a lot to ask for, so our team set out to determine which retailers—both in-store and online—deliver the goods.

Our spring 2019 survey collected responses from more than 65,000 CR members about their prescription eyeglass or contact lens purchases within the previous 24 months. Respondents rated retailers for satisfaction on a 6-point scale from completely dissatisfied (6) to completely satisfied (1), and rated sellers for customer service, fit (glasses only), follow-up (glasses only), price, policies, quality, and selection on a 6-point scale ranging from Very Poor to Excellent. 

More on Vision and Eye Health

For their responses to be eligible for the glasses ratings sample, survey takers had to have bought their frames and lenses from the same retailer—not the frames from one store and the lenses elsewhere. And to be included in a ratings chart, a retailer had to have been rated by at least 90 respondents in total.

What follows are detailed ratings for 33 retailers where members bought glasses and 17 where they purchased contacts. Armed with the accumulated wisdom of all these experiences, you can find the best eyewear store to get your particular needs met.

Retailers Who Top the Chart

While many consumers have different priorities—from convenience to price to selection—we found that across the board, they were pretty happy with their eyeglass and contacts retailers.

In fact, 88 percent of the survey respondents who purchased glasses from an online retailer and 83 percent who bought glasses in-store reported being highly satisfied with their buying experience. Buyers of contacts lenses were also quite content, with 93 percent of those buying online saying they were highly satisfied and 89 percent of those buying in-store reporting the same.

The stores that top the chart for glasses include Costco Optical, Warby Parker, and ZenniOptical.com based on high marks for overall satisfaction. For contacts, the stores rated highest are Costco Optical, Sam’s Club Optical, ContactLensKing.com, and Walgreens.com. 

Costco Optical was the only retailer to get the highest ratings for both eyeglasses and contacts—in-store for glasses and either online or in-person for contacts. Costco is an especially good bet if you’re purchasing contacts; our members gave it top marks in all categories. In fact, Costco's only mediocre rating when it came to eyeglass purchases was for its frame selection.