Vision Express Prescription Glasses and Sunglasses

Posted in Fashion.

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 11, but have only had five different pairs in that time. Considering the number of hair styles, shoes and handbags I’ve had since age 11, that’s pretty unusual. But, unlike with shoes and handbags, when it comes to glasses I have rather expensive taste. Well, my eyes are worth it!

My last pair of glasses cost around *gulp* £400. They’ve been going strong for nearly three years but I wanted an update and my eyes needed a little more help. Vision Express has been my opticians for a while, so I took myself off for an eye test and a browse.

Ralph Lauren black plastic frames, £100

I choose these Ralph Lauren black frames – classic, hardwearing (important when you wear them for everything from TV watching to mountain climbing) (I have never climbed a mountain) and reasonably priced. As I’m so lacking in the vision department, I have a high prescription and lenses that resemble milk bottles unless they’re thinned. So I forked out £140 for thinned lenses. Ouch.

£240 for a single pair of glasses isn’t a particularly good deal, and definitely nothing to write home (or on blog) about. However, Vision Express have an offer on at the moment which really is quite good.

Jigsaw plastic frames, free (out of deal price £85)

As I spent over £100 on my glasses, I qualified for free prescription sunglasses. The deal includes lots of really nice frames from designers including Ted Baker, Michael Kors and Jigsaw and tinted lenses are included. I chose this RayBan-esque Jigsaw pair.

I’ve heard lots of talk about online spectacle retailers being a ‘revolution’ for the visionary challenged, but an online service will never been as helpful as a knowledgeable optometrist who can help you choose a frame that not only suits your face, but is suitable for your lens type and lifestyle. Case in point – I originally picked out a pair of metal-framed sunglasses but the very helpful man at Vision Express (Meadowhall branch) advised me not to, because my high prescription with thicker lens would eventually chip in such a thin frame.

My glasses were ready in an hour, and although the sunglasses took a little longer (tinting takes a while on a high prescription) I had both pairs, adjusted to fit perfectly, within a day. And that’s why for now, I’ll keep choosing high street opticians over online services.

Do you wear glasses or contacts? What are your experiences with opticians? Would/do you shop online for a good price or prefer the personalised service of a branch? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Disclaimer – I didn’t receive any money, product or services as payment for writing this post. I was just really impressed!



Glasses, yes. I do feel I need a personal service and wouldn’t go for online.

I have Transitions lenses which are expensive. Plus I won’t buy Chinese-made frames. I even have Zeiss lenses because I won’t have Chinese stuff on human rights grounds. So I pay around the £600 mark. I just don’t think I’d get the information I need online.

My OH is the daughter of an optician so she insists we have the best. I have no choice…

Vintage Vixen

I needed reading glasses and found an amazing 1950’s French pair at a flea market for 20p. I found an on-line company called “Glasses Complete” who had excellent reviews & offered a reglazing service for £20. I was able to speak to a lovely optician who talked me through my prescription,ensuring I gave them the correct information before I posted them. The glasses were returned with 10 days and I love them. They are beautiful, not emblazened with a crass designer logo and I’ve saved the planet, too. xxx


I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 7/8, and have always gone to an opticians. I like the idea of buying glasses much cheaper online, but I’d probably only do that for a cheap pair to see how they look, not for something I’d wear every day.


I am unfortunate enough to only be (extremely) short sighted in ONE eye, which is incredibly annoying… I really want a pair of Gok Wan frames, he’s designed a gorgeous grey pair which are quite retro xx

Rachel - Firebird

I’ve done designer opticians, I’ve done Specsavers (who I also get my contact through) but my favourite at the moment are Glasses Direct who I can not rate highly enough. I know what I like and am comfortable buying online and I like having a choice of frames to wear.

That said reading Vix’s post above my next glasses expenditure will be getting my beloved Miu Miu frames re-glazed


I was lucky enough to be able to get this same deal at vision express on monday – some much needed new specs and free prescription sunglasses, saving me a whopping £204! Unfortunately they didn’t have my lenses in stock so I’m having to wait potentially 3 weeks to get my new specs – a bit annoying when my prescription has changed quite A LOT. Hopefully it won’t be quite that long. Best of all, I chose a purple, plastic, Ted Baker style called … Holly! How appropriate. I do find opticians services to be shockingly expensive though – it’s not our fault we can’t see, and without my glasses I’d be tripping over kerbs and driving the wrong way up the motorway. I also think optitians try and push a lot of costly extras on you – photos of your eyes, posh lense coatings and pricey insurance policies – when really you’re spending quite enough as it is!

I do think your new glasses are lovely though, they really open up your face – good choice!


Holly, that is usually my exact opinion of opticians and before this experience I was ready to give an online retailer a go, albeit reluctantly… that’s one of the reasons I’m so impressed with Vision Express – they asked me about the extras but I never felt forced or pressured to take them. They just gave me a standard eye test (no photo of behind my eye – why would we ever need this?!) or anything, and I genuinely think they just wanted to do what was best for me. Hence the post and my general impressed-ness!

Vix, I might’ve known you’d have a vintage alternative! It’s a very cool idea and one I’ll definitely consider in the future. I think if you can find the perfect frames elsewhere, try them on and make sure they’re for you, then maybe getting lenses online wouldn’t be such a struggle.

Thanks for the comments guys! It’s great to hear all your experiences.


Yes, I wear glasses and have worn them off and on since I was 9. I prefer the personalized service of going to an Optician. Love your glasses and they look good on you. I had so many bad experiences wearing glasses as a child. Four Eyes and all of those other hurtful comments from other children. I am glad that now its cool to wear glasses.


I’ve worn glasses since I was 13, and lenses since I was 16 – they were a “reward” for passing my Highers! My prescription’s pretty high, so my glasses tend to come in as being very expensive – I think my current pair were about £350 between the frame and having the lenses treated to stop them looking like bottle bottoms. I actually did try buying online, and it was a disaster as I wasn’t sure exactly which treatments I usually get – I ended up with the afore-mentioned bottle bottoms and think this might be a better bet with a lower prescription. I think eyes are too precious to economise on, but that’s just my personal (and incredibly short-sighted!) opinion.


Ah great post- I used to wear contacts but sadly got a really bad infection in my left eye after wearing my contacts swimming (big no no!) so Im now blind in that eye and a glasses convert for life! I actually love wearing them, just another fun accessory to play with 🙂 Shame they can be expensive though. I always go to Specsavers and wouldn’t bother with online retailers- I need to try hundreds on before I make a decision and love getting advice from the experts!


Oh! Panda (Rebecca)

I need to wear glasses. Purely because of money and the cost of glasses I went for online with Glasses Direct – this was about 4 years ago now and I haven’t looked back.

They have trained optometrists there to make your order and to answer any questions you might have. You can do a home trial too, costs a fiver but you get that back when you order. I loved the home trial I tried 8 different pairs so I was ultra sure.

You can have the basic pair or add any extras, tints, scratch protection, etc.
I have never had a bad experience and I have ordered 5 pairs from them now. And saved myself hundreds. My two favourite pairs were £19 each and all of them are still in tip to condition 🙂

Can’t rate them enough 🙂 Haha sound like I work for them! I can assure you I don’t, just a big fan 🙂

Rebecca xx (

Half Dressed

I honestly hate the fact that glasses can be so expensive, even if you go for a cheaper pair, by the time you get the lenses and the thinning etc the price goes up and up. And considering I wear glasses every day without fail I can’t go for a cheap pair because they just don’t last. However I can honestly say I have a bit of a ‘buying glasses addiction’ >< I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 2 and they are my ‘thing’ I just don’t feel right without my glasses on, I’ve tried contacts but never feel like ‘me’ when I wear them. So for the last 5 years or so I’ve always taken Specsavers up on there ‘2 for 1 on designer glasses’ offer… the consequence… I now have… 6 pairs (I had to throw a few away). I just like to be able to choose with pair to wear, although I usually ending up switching at least twice through the day 🙂

L x

Chloe Likes To Talk

I love both the pairs you’ve picked, they look great.

I’ve worn glasses since I was 2. In the early days, it was plastic all the way and crazy colours (my mum let me pick, what can I say…) and I kept with the plastic frames through childhood, because they didn’t bend, and my vision was so exceptionally poor, that metal frames weren’t going to work for the lenses. I now wear lenses most of the time, as my vision stabilised enough at around 15, for me to justify them, I still love having glasses for off days or for a change though.

As far as opticians go, I see an independant who I’ve been with since I was 8. Nothing beats their knowledge and service. Nothing is ever too much trouble, they always give me good advice, and although things like the frames they stock are a bit pricier, they give me great deals because I’m a long standing customer (25% off glasses because I pay for my lenses via Direct debit is pretty good).


I don’t wear glasses, but my god those sunnies are gorgeous!!!! I want them now! Can’t wait to see a picture post featuring those beauties.

Katy xx


I had an almost identical trip to vision express last weekend, although my eyes are so bad I needed the £200 thinning to the lenses! I chose a similar pair of prescription sunglasses, such a bargain. And as much as I love the affordability of vision express etc, I found some beautiful Tiffany sunglasses, and I think the money I saved on cheaper glasses will have to go towards them. Only annoying thing is the lenses are too big to get prescription lenses so I need to stop being a wimp and face some contacts!x


I absolutely love shopping online, especially the thrill of getting a package, however, I couldn’t imagine ever buying my glasses online.
I’ve only being wearing glasses for about 6 years now, and and have had 3 pairs in that time (which shames me compared to you, but to be fair, it was my original pair, then a pair for when I’m in uni in Oxford, then a pair for at home in Belfast). However, I’ve found that every time I go to the opticians (Specsavers, we don’t have a Vision Express) they have been beyond helpful and have calmed my nerves and my ooing and aahing about making the right choice. I could honestly never imagine getting glasses online, really think I would miss the personal service.



Love the glasses and sunglasses that you chose. I wear glasses but only while studying so I didn’t spend much when I got them but I really want to treat myself to a nice new pair before I start work. I find it hard enough buying clothes online so I’d definitely always go for a branch visit and personalised service. x


ive worn glasses since i was 12 .. the first pair wear a massive pair of square ones.. what was my mother thinking i do not know!!..
i would love the more dame edna style but im just not confident enough and as i also have a very strong prescription its to much of an expensive risk to take !!
i wouldnt really use an online service as i think there is the fitting issue and the advice.. my mum ordered a pair of rimless ones and they turned up at the opticians and looked like a pair of icecubes on sticks they were so thick even though she’d had slimmed down lenses.. you need to have someone there to advise you i think..

my only experiance with visin express wasnt a very good one.. i went to them when i broke my glasses as i was desperate for a pair and they use the phrase done in an hour.. i still had to wait ten days.. and the actual frames always felt wonky like they’d been bent somehow .. i wouldnt go there again!!

nice glasses though.. i love your sunglasses


Martin Dean

I would say neither – get your eyes lasered – pays for itself at those crazy designer prices in less than 4 pairs of glasses. Nearly ahem 20 years since I had mine done.

Now I need reading glasses its about £20 at Glasses direct and cashback at Quidco Opticians are way overpriced


Yeah, it´s crazy how expensive glasses are. I do get a benefit on them from my health insurance but it´s like £3 per year and then I´m like..uhm uhm, my glasses cost at least £200 so thank you very much for your £3 but it´s really not that helpful. I´ve been wearing contacts since I was like 15 because I always used to have issues with glasses. I´m a bit of a fitness freak and hate getting sweaty while wearing glasses so that´s one thing. Another one is the constant winter blurring on the lenses when you come in from the outside. Plus I´ve got that annoying feeling that I just look ridiculous wearing glasses and can´t find a pair that would suit me.
However, last year I started having problems with my eyes getting too dry and getting migraines so I decided I´ll get a new pair of glasses and will try to wear them all the time at home and at least every now and then normally.
I went to Specsavers because they had 1 plus 1 free on glasses. However, it only included basic lenses and with my crazy precriptions, I needed to get the thinned ones. I think the overall cost of the two pairs including the thinned lenses was like £220, which is not that bad, I guess. I got FCUK ones and Red and Dead ones and I´ve been pretty happy with them (but then again, I don´t wear glasses nowhere near as often as I´d like to or should because I just prefer the freedom and comfort contacts give me).
I really like your new frames, though. They suit you perfectly, which is a bit enviable, I´ve gotta say:)

Daniela x


I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in reception (contacts make my sight worse) so I don’t mind spending big bucks on them. I’ve been going to the same optician for years now, it’s not a chain and they do pretty luxe style which is nice but unfortunately they never do any deals. Saying that when I got my last pair (Ray Bans) I really wanted a second geeky pair and cos I’m a loyal customer they did a pretty good discount. I don’t think I’d ever buy online because for me it’s important to try them on and make sure they look right.I love you new pair, they’re lovely =)

Bow Dream Nation xx


I’ve worn glasses since I was about 5 – even had the horrible experience of having to wear an eye patch at one stage in infant school 🙁

They do seem extortionately expensive as a one-off purchase but I wear mine all day, every day and I reckon on a cost-per-wear basis they’re probably not so bad after all. I have to have the thinning done on my lenses too – damn my rubbish eyesight!

I’ve been tempted by some of the online retailers but I can’t get over that nagging feeling that the prescription and fit wouldn’t be quite right. Maybe for a funky spare pair or something it wouldn’t matter so much but I prefer my everyday pairs to be ones that have been properly checked by an optician to be perfect for me.


I recently tried Boots optitians (the £5 eye test offer got me)and was so pleased with the service I received. I don’t wear glasses all the time, just for computer work and reading so my prescription is pretty straight-forward. I waited a week for my new glasses as I am unable to get into town during the week but I was dealt with in a friendly, professional and easy manner at every turn. I got two pairs with scratch resistant coating for under £150, both of which look fab – so I was very happy indeed.

E is for Eleanor

I’m a long time Boots opticians customer but recently have been trying out other alternatives.

Through work I got a free eye test voucher and £45 towards my glasses through Specsavers. I managed to find a pair of their £65 frames I loved and was prepared to fork out the extra £20, but lo and behold they had a BOGOF offer so i managed to get two pairs of lovely glasses for £20! Bargain.

Love yours though, very swanky!


I’ve been the butt of “four eyes” jokes since I was about eight. It’s not an issue any more of course. But I’d love to be able to see without being dependent on glasses or contacts. I’d love to be able to afford laser eye correction, but alas, can’t. So good glasses are an unavoidable, necessary expense. And since they are going to be expensive anyway, they damn well should double as a fabulous fashion accessory too!

I’m grateful for the optician recommendation Jen. I’m overdue for a new pair of glasses and was wondering who to use this time.



Good post! I don’t feel so alone in my vision woes. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in the second grade and switched to contacts a few years ago. I, too, have to have my lenses thinned out and my prescription is so bad that my glasses always have to be specially ordered and come back in a week’s time instead of an hour.

A good optician in person is the most important when it comes to your vision. There are a lot of things you can get away with purchasing online. I just don’t think your healthcare should be in that category.


Nice choices! I got my last pair from Vision Express after quite an embarrasing event where my old glasses snapped in half while I was sitting at my desk at work! I can barely see a thing without them so I had to tape them up and then get off to the opticians pronto – they were also really expensive (around £300 I think) but they were ready in an hour and saved the day!

I think next time I will go to Specsavers though, as they are a lot cheaper and hopefully I won’t be in such a rush.

I like the idea of online glasses, I have ordered contact lenses online and that was great, but I’d probably save that more for spare pairs or fun – I find it so hard to choose the right pair for my face and it is important when you wear them all day everyday, so choosing the right frames online must be hard. But if you can get a pair for around £25 online then you can afford to experiment a bit.

Alison Marie

A DAY?! That sounds REALLY quick. My glasses take a week at SpecSavers – maybe I should change…

I’m thinking of getting prescription sunglasses, as I’m very short sighted… and I’m having troubles with driving at the moment when it’s sunny.


Your posts always come at the perfect time for me Jen! Haha I just went for my 2 yearly eye test the other day. My old glasses were so cheap and didnt fit my face properly anymore, and my prescription had changed so I managed to settle on a lovely wee pair of rayban frames 🙂 I figure that spending a decent amount on good lenses and well fitting frames cant do me any wrong eh? Wish I’d known about that deal though, I just went to a wee local opticians xx

Lizzy Lips

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was about 8 and same – I’ve only had about 5 pair in that time. The pair I have at the moment are lovely but they were very cheap as I got them when I was a student and just couldn’t stump up the cash for designer ones and like you I have to pay for lense thinning.

It has always pained me how much it costs for all the treatment. Endless appointment not only for sight checks up contact lense checks too. I started buying contacts online as they were so much cheaper, that great but the down side is that I don’t get check ups as much as I should.

I don’t think I’d buy glasses online as I like a personalised services and to try everything on. However saying that I would be tempted to try in store and then see if I could find the frames cheaper online. It’s always down to cost with me at the moment, unfortunetly.


I wear contacts and glasses and have always gone through Specsavers. I deal with two branches, at home and at university and have always found the service really good. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly and always really helpful. I wouldn’t buy glasses online if I couldn’t try them on first. I have a quite a small face, so often buy in the kids range, or need quite a lot of adjustments on the adult ones! I’m not sure buying online would work for me.
However, if I was to find and love a pair of vintage frames, I’d happily use an online service to have my lenses done.
Glasses are expensive, but Specsavers usually have some sort of deal on. I get my glasses for less because of contacts, and I’ve had free sunglasses before and various other deals. On one occasion, I lost my prescription sunglasses the day before going on holiday to Spain. Specsavers had me a new pair made up within the hour. Lifesavers.


Vision Express suck,been waiting like 4 weeks for something they promised with in day’s,and i’m £400 lighter than i was before entering thier shop ,never will use them again,is being honest to customer’s really that hard !!

pip a la chic

You got a great deal there! And your glasses were ready in a few hours? In australia I have to pick then up in a week! Prescription sunnies are the BEST!!! I don’t know how I lived without them for so many years. I have to get my lenses thinner down as well…we’re such nerds 🙂


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