Seeing whether the AR coating cracks – A Glasses Shop review

A few notes about Glasses Shop before the main review…

Quick Notes:

  • Manage to stay in the under-$40 category for glasses (barely).
  • Website is clean, straightforward, and easy to use.
  • Often has buy-1-get-1 or first-pair-free promotions going on.
  • Can not check out as guest.

Impressions, Website, Ordering:

GlassesShop has been around for a few years. I wouldn’t say they’re one of the most popular retailers, but they’ve carved their place into the arena, no doubt in part by offering both the 2-for-1 and first-pair-free promos that other retailers pioneered.

It it’s infancy (years ago) the site had a lot of minor issues, but by and large they were all rectified. In short, functionally the site works quite well, and it’s easy enough to narrow down the frames based on price or frame type and find what you’re looking for.

The ordering process is quick and pleasant, with a selection system that makes it very easy to change options and see the impact on pricing right away.

One headache I ran into on my most recent visit was that certain frames had an “extra price” in the side list while adding lenses, due to the SPH being “beyond the regular corrective capacity of the lenses“. I had selected a SPH of -2.00 and basic lenses…

Pricing and Value:

With the deals/specials that GlassesShop frequently has going on, if you’re careful about what you choose they can be a very cost-effective option with solid value.

Note that for single-vision glasses they (currently) offer free AR/Scratch/UV coatings as well with all the lens packages: so while the base lenses may cost more than some similar competitors, they do come with the coatings.

…and now to review glasses I bought from them!

Note: This order took place in 2009.

Aug 11 – An order was placed for a set of glasses. I went with the cheapest frames ($8) with free lenses, and added an AR ($4.95). The glasses included free anti-scratch and UV coatings. Shipping was $4.95 to Canada, bringing the total to $17.90.

Aug 15 – I received an email stating that the glasses were finished and would be shipped ASAP.

Aug 25 – The glasses arrived in the mail. The bag had a shipping stamp from China Post. The enclosed invoice stated that the glasses were sent from “Danyang Foreign Trade Corp” and that the glasses were Made in China. 14 days seems quite reasonable coming from China, although there isn’t really any mention on the website that the glasses were coming from there. Those who live in the US may assume the glasses are coming from the states, in which case 14 days may seem a bit long. That said, to be fair, GlassesShop doesn’t state/promise an estimated delivery date – only that the glasses will be shipped within 4 days for regular orders.



Inside the bag was a box containing the glasses. The box is fairly standard, and while it should be sufficient for normal mail handling, it could possibly get crushed in a minor mail mishap. However, the clamshell case inside is extremely tough. After writing up the video review, I tried standing on it. 150-160 pounds of weight slowly started bending the imprint of my heel on the clam case. Needless to say, it’s made of a a pretty strong material and unless a heavy mailman was standing on the case for a good long while, I can’t see the glasses being damaged during shipping – they’re definitely well protected.



(click on any of the thumbnails to open the image full-size in a new window)

GlassesShop glasses - an overview The packaging the GlassesShop glasses came in

The box isn’t shown, but the rest of the contents are. The clamshell case is surprisingly tough.


First impressions & Quality

The frames themselves seemed reasonable, but nothing spectacular. It’s about what you’d expect for $8 frames – basic and functional. The frames aren’t hinged, although the arms do flex. The nosepads need some adjusting as you can see in the pictures below. The lenses looked to be of a high quality, and the AR coating reflects a green color. There was a little bit of lint on the lenses, which washed off easily.

The lenses were subjected to the “hot water test”, and the coatings passed. Wearing the glasses, the prescription seems to be accurate throughout.

Examining the GlassesShop AR coating The glasses displayed on the table Examining the GlassesShop AR coating from another angle A closer look at the lenses Examining the GlassesShop AR coating from yet another angle

Lenses are clear and seem to be of a good quality. The AR coating has a green color to it. The reflection you see is of a window & blinds.

Final Thoughts

For an $8 pair (under $20 after the AR coating + shipping), I was quite pleased. I would probably recommend stepping up to a more sturdy frame for a daily pair, but all-in-all the glasses are great for the money. I was particularly impressed with the AR coating. I had pretty much expected the $5 coating to crack during the hot water test, but it surprised me by passing the test unscathed.

Would I buy from GlassesShop again? Yes. The value is great for a budget pair, and the lenses seem to be of a high enough quality that I wouldn’t mind throwing more expensive frames at them if I were looking for new daily-wear specs.

Would I recommend GlassesShop to others? It’s very likely. As has been mentioned in the information write-up page, they seem to have been around a while, but still seem a bit new to the scene and there’s not much information available on them. I tend to hesitate recommending a company that hasn’t established themselves over time. That said, based solely on my purchase experience, they seem to have it together well enough that I wouldn’t have any concerns if someone mentioned they were purchasing from GlassesShop. One thing in particular that stands out is the little insert about caring for your glasses. It’s incredibly simple, but is something that I think might really appeal to (and help out) first time buyers.


Overall Recommendation for 2019

I’d characterize GlassesShop as being fairly average overall. My own experience was quite positive and while prices have moved up, various specials and deals have the ability to bring the price down to quite low levels again.

One word of caution: watch the shopping cart sidebar for the “Extra Price”. And if ordering a backup pair at the lowest take-home price, take a look at the various lens options: on my recent visit the “Blue Block” lenses were cheaper than the standard lenses (though also thicker).

The GlassesShop website can be found at if you’re interested in giving them a visit.


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