Buy Six-year-old Son's Glasses from Optometrist or Go Cheaper Route at Walmart?

Updated on August 15, 2012
E.M. asks from Carrollton, TX
30 answers

Hi all,

My son says today is the "worst day of his life" because he found out he has to wear glasses. Aside from the heartbreak of that :(, I wanted to ask the moms out there for advice: do we order the designer frames from our optometrist's office, or go the cheaper route at Walmart/Target? My hubby is afraid this is a "we get what we pay for" moment, and assumes that if we automatically go cheaper, then a six-year-old can probably break them easier if they're lesser quality. Our insurance will cover about $150 of the costs, so that definitely helps. :) Any of you with bespectacled kids out there, let me know what your experience was like, and which route you'd recommend. Thanks in advance!

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answers from St. Louis on

WalMart all the way! They're inexpensive, but not cheaply made....& with both of my sons - lasted until they needed new ones due to growth or vision changes.

Get the spring hinges, & opti-flex if possible. They hold up great!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

We always go the Walmart route! My kids that wear glasses are 14, 13 and 13. Walmart replaces screws, fixes nose pieces, they've even replaced the whole frame on a couple of occasions when a kids has broken them. A 6 year old is going to need something to help out when they break their glasses. Give them that by going to Walmart.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

we used sears last year and were very happy with the frames we got. And, they had a buy one get one free back to school special.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Kansas City on

Another vote for Walmart. Our son needed Rec-Specs for soccer. We went to a private opthomologist and he said it would take six weeks because it was a special order and they would cost $240.00.

Walmart had them ready in three days and they were $70.00. This was not some "off" brand, they were Rec-Specs, brand name.

We have been sold ever since. (That was nearly five years ago.) I also like that no matter where we are, if something happens to their glasses, we just show up at a Walmart and they fix them at no charge, and they normally have my contact lenses in stock so I can get replacements no matter wherever I am in this country because my prescription is in their "system".

They have a great selection and both of my kids have had wonderful people help them select and fit their glasses. I know people like to bash Walmart, but they have really saved us hundreds (literally, hundreds) of dollars in glasses.

Good luck and tell your little guy that he will rock the glasses! :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My vote is Wal-Mart. And that's with having 2 Ophthalmologist's in the family...many of us pick up our cheaper summer glasses at Wal-Mart's eye center. Especially for kids. Save your money for other things, like his future education.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

You can stop reading with this comment....I have THE solution!!!

Just have your sons prescription in hand and measure his pupil distance. The have TONS of frames to choose from and they're between $7 and $30 each!! Order 2 so you can have a back-up pair. Regardless of cost they're going to get why pay the extra $? My husband, my 9 year old and myself have bought multiple pairs from them before. You can even have them tinted (just choose 80% tiny with either gray or amber) for sunglasses. You just can't beat it. Check them out. I'll NEVER go to an eyeglass place ever again.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

We have gotten our son glasses from Wal-Mart and from the eye dr. I personally haven't seen a difference.

We got the warranty from both places, the bendable arms and the scratch resistant lens.

Honestly, we saw no difference in how long they lasted. It more depended on how rough he was on them at that time ( sports mainly played a factor in it)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would go as cheap as are hard on these things...I bought two frames for $99 at Doctor's vision works. Check to see if that's a better deal.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Go to Wal-Mart for cheaper frames.

It's not the frames that matter but the lenses.

The lenses will still be the same at Wal-mart but the frames will be cheaper (you can pick out a good-looking pair on him that will cost you less. "

Don't let them talk you into everything under the moon.
Having said that, anti-glare is good. Possibly scatch resistant coating as he is a kid & may not take care of them as you and I might.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I remember seeing research a while back about who does the best job at matching prescriptions with glasses (not every place is accurate) and Costco topped the list. You might track down that survey to see where stores like Walmart rate.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Awww:( I feel for you guys. That was about the age my son had to get glasses. Broke my heart. But I wasn't surprised because my husband and I both have worn glasses since we were little so I figured it was coming.

Since we went where the insurance would pay, we did Eye Mart for several years for our kids. Then insurance changes and we went to an Optometrist for a couple years. Now we're with Sears.

My point: no matter which company we went with or brand of frames, if conditions are right, they'll break or bend, etc. Check to see if you can get the extra warranty protection for the frames; I'm glad we did! It was worth it with my son!!! We also have a great repair shop close by, so that helped too when it was just something minor.

Also, I would suggest the plastic lenses - a lot lighter on the nose!!!

Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Ahh...he shouldn't think it's the worst day of his life.
Lots of kids who don't need glasses wear fake ones because they think it's "cool".

No one I know buys their glasses from the optometrist. They go to Costco or WalMart. Even people who can afford to spend a lot of money on glasses. I know some women who have several different pairs to coordinate with different outfits in their wardrobes. I've never heard one complain about a lack of "quality".

When I first got glasses, right out the gate I broke a pair by forgetting where I'd put them and sat on them. For a first pair of glasses, I think it would maybe be best to get the less expensive ones until your son is used to having to keep track of them and be careful with them, etc.

Just my experience and opinion.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

They are really pretty much all the same.
I would do Walmart.

See how he does with them..

I now purchase mine online for super cheap..But of course there is no service if something happens to them, but the frames are so inexpensive, i will never pay retail again.

I have purchased from the big Eyemart.. etc..


The quality is all about the same.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

We got my daughter's first pair of glasses from the optometrist's office and they were piece of junk. Every time I turned around the screws were falling out and we had to send them in to be fixed. ( You can't get those eyeglass fix kits for little glasses.) At one point they told me that my daughter would have to be without her glasses for 2 weeks while they sent them to be fixed. I got fed up and went to LensCrafters and bought her 2 pairs. I wouldn't recommend LensCrafters.. though they were quick and the glasses held up great, their buy on get one deal is a rip off.

Anyway... the last time we got glasses for her we went to Costco and got great glasses at a great price. So my point is... yes probably Wal-Mart would be the better place when given the choice between the office or someplace else.

Another thing I'll add is to get 2 pairs... that way you always have a back-up if they get lost or misplaced. And make sure that you establish a place where your son always puts them when he takes them off. Ours is the bathroom counter... so she can put them there before bed and then see them first thing in the morning.

Tell your son to chin up. They have lots and lots of cool styles now and glasses are almost an accessory. I hope he finds some that he likes! :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We have always gotten the prescription from the optometrist and taken it to an optical place. LensCrafters, Costco, Walmart, JC Penneys...they have all been cheaper than the doctor's office glasses, great selection and good quality. It would be ok to shop around, too. LensCrafters is always my pick because they will figure up the cost with different discounts and help me get te best price. Plus, they have a 30 day period for you to change your mind for any reason. I tend to change my mind a lot about important things like eyewear.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on !! They have cool glasses for from $15 - $25. Not kidding, frames and lenses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We went with the optometrist where DH gets his glasses. We did primarily because DS has an astigmatism and we were more confident in the optometrist's office. We were really pleased to find out they offer a kid's package - any frame and lenses for $110. WOW. And let me say they are NOT a bargain for DH's glasses - an adult can easily drop $400 for a pair of glasses. So, I would check with your optometrist. Also our optometrist does free adjustments for life and they give us a new bottle of lens cleaner and wipes whenever we go in there (they are next to our coffee shop - so I don't hesitate to go in whenever we are low on cleaner or DS has bent the frames again).

BTW - my son got his glasses at age 6. He was so excited to get them - his best friend at school has always had glasses as do several other kids so he thought it was great. He adapted really easily to wearing them and has never even come close to losing them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think that frames from Walmart or anywhere else can be just as good. Get kid frames, which are usually more forgiving in the bending and get coatings for the lenses. I've had glasses since I was a kid and really it mattered less the location of purchase than that they fit and I didn't leave them in the sandbox. I got a lot of my recent glasses at Hour Eyes or Lenscrafters. This last pair was at the optometrist because that's what the HMO covered.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

My son was about 6 when he got his first pair of glasses, he's 8 now. We went to Walmart because so many people said good things about them and their warranty. Those glasses broke so many times in the first few months! He didn't have them more than he had them as they send them out for repair. He had them break while we were on vacation shortly after getting them, the frame snapped and the lens fell out. We found ourselves at a Lenscrafters that did 1 hour so he had glasses for the rest of the trip. When we got back we got the other pair fixed again. In the end the Walmart ones broke so many times that we picked a different frame, that promptly broke. We went ahead and got them fixed and relegated them to his back up emergency pair and he wore the Lenscrafters pair full time instead because those weren't breaking all the time. His newest pair came from Costco and are holding up nicely and were priced well. We keep his Lenscrafters as the emergency backups, even though the frames are getting a little too small for him and his prescription changed slightly after being the same for 2 years. He's not needed them months later because the Costco ones are holding up. We have the Walmart ones still but never use them.
ETA: I forgot. His eye doctor checked to see what matched the prescription. Lenscrafters was slightly off which is a downside I have to admit. Walmart was right on as was Costco. This was the only upside we found to Walmart.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

You could try online at Zennioptical.Com <<, so far, we;ve had good luck.. you have to know all the sizing of one's face, e,g, pupil distance , etc.. but that you can obtain from your eye doctor..
Also, the glasses are very inexpensive so you can buy a few pair..

and at six.... you may want to go the cheaper route.... We bought our son, Converse brand and sure enough, they got scratched up...... He is now ten and this time around, he takes better care of his glasses. it's just tough when they are younger, things happen..

good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

i'm interested in the online stuff but my dr wasn't so great about giving me the info and prescription ( well he gave it but i couldn't read it) for my own glasses, so we just played it safe and got them from Kidspecs which is i guess is the optomotrist, they are in the same room so i assume so anyways.

that being said the frames were bendable ones and held up well.

what you might want to consider is how easy is it to get help if the frames break or get bent and need adjusted. I've heard great things about Costco glasses, and i can say walmart would have been very convenient much more so than driving 20 mins to the eye dr, instead of 5 to walmart. i can't speak for the service though as i imagine it varies by region.

Guess that doesn't help much but Good luck, Glasses aren't so bad, Aurthor has them DW's brother, Clark Kent etc.

did break my mommy heart though, since it made him look more grown up.

OH and please Make him wear them All day right from the start. if the presciption is right it really shouldln't take more than 3 days to get used to it. I used to help in a classroom and kids that were told they could take them off DID every 5 seconds on and off on and off and lost them and what a pain, Athome your call but much much easier just to say WEAR them!! compromise wear them all the time except gym

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Ask your neighbors whose children wear glasses. Pick their brains. Get some good recommendations and learn about the bad ones.

Our younger son was wearing glasses before Target and Walmart were in the optical business. But one year we went to a widely advertised cheapie outfit because the price seemed soooo good. The glasses did not fit well, he had headaches, and when we had them checked by another eye doctor we discovered that those glasses were not made to his prescription. The cheapie outfit would do nothing to remedy the situation. It was definitely a case of "you get what you pay for"! So we turned to a more reputable place where he could get the glasses he really needed, but still didn't quite cost us two arms and two legs (maybe just one apiece). Even so, we always had his new glasses checked out by an eye doctor after that. Sight is important.

That said, you don't have to buy the most expensive glasses, either. Be sure to get frames especially made for kids! You want sturdy ones that 1) will stand up to a six-year-old's activity, and that 2) are cool enough for him to like. Once he gets them, he may be surprised at how much more enjoyable his life is.

Here's something to think about: ask at the optical places if they have different rates for different insurance coverage. It can happen. The last time this ol' lady had to have new glasses, I wasn't going to get them where I had my eyes examined, until I learned that, because I don't have optical insurance, the cost was automatically going to be 20% less.



answers from Phoenix on

We just bought my 6 year old glasses. We had his prescription from the eye specialist and bought him 2 pairs at Eye Masters for $240. They have a deal of 2 pairs for $99 but the frames have to be under $69 or you pay the difference. One pair was $69 but the other pair was more expensive. We wanted to get him a pair of sports glasses for when he plays flag football. One pair we got him the transitional lense where they will be more like sunglasses. We also bought the insurance so that if he breaks them we can get a new pair for $25.

He got glasses when he was 5 and we bought from Lenscrafters. That pair was $199 but it included the insurance. During the first year we replaced thoses glasses multiple times. That insurance was awesome.



answers from Topeka on

Have you compaired the prices @ the Optometrists office vs Walmart Target and other places??I would go cheap and buy an extra or 2 just incaseGlasses are glasses yes and no you get what you paid for but it also depends on how they will be treated.Good Luck in your findings...He will be fine in his new frames.



answers from Philadelphia on

We got ours from the optometrist for my son (who got his glasses at 6 years old). Within the first two months, we had to visit the office three times for repairs. Those repairs were completely free because they were covered under a warranty. We found some cheap glasses online that we ordered as back up glasses, but it was tough getting the prescription from the optometrist. She didn't want to give it to us because she didn't want us buying cheap glasses. Her office will not repair or help us with the ones we get online, so they were trying to discourage us. But we have his covered pair now and a cheap backup. Works for us!



answers from Jacksonville on

My son is 6 and has been wearing glasses since he was 2yrs old. I have always bought the $10 frames from walmart and have never had a problem with them falling apart on their own. Honestly, a child is going to be rough on them and they are going to fall apart and break just the same. They also have a decent policy for replacing scratched lenses too which I have used in the past with no problem. At that time we didn't have insurance that covered the frames or lenses but now we do so I might consider getting nicer frames if I really thought they would last longer than the 2 yrs he is going on his current 10 dollar frames. But if the expensive ones broke, I'd have to pay out of pocked if it was less than a year and then he would end up with the cheap frames! lol



answers from Norfolk on

Walmart or Costco are good.
I get glasses from and I paid $7.95 for the pair I am wearing right now.
For that kind of money I can have a pair for every room in the house and STILL not pay $400 like one pair would cost from the optometrist.
Definitely get a backup pair of glasses.



answers from Dallas on

Hi E., my son has worn glasses since he was 3. At first we went the expensive route, buying the no break, no scratch frames/lenses from the dr. After spending a ton of money on them and him breaking them anyway, we started doing the 2 pairs for $99 at vision works. He still goes through a couple pairs a year and he is 9! They aren't any less quality than the ones from the dr. Kids are just really tough on glasses!!

L. H.



answers from Honolulu on

Costco or Sears.
They both have good return/exchange policies and will help with fitting it.
I have gotten my prescription glasses from both places. And good prices.

Get a flex frame. Not wire frame, that will bend. Especially with a kid.

Buying glasses from an Optometrist, will be more expensive.

OH- and ALWAYS, get a back-up pair of glasses... just in case the one used breaks or gets lost. ALWAYS get 2 pairs, for that reason.



answers from Dallas on

My kiddos don't wear glasses yet but I work in the eyeglass industry. Please do not buy your son's glasses online. While it may be cost effective it is not the best thing for a first time wearer, especially a child. Not only does his PD need to measured accurately but he needs to get the right fit on the frames. While many online merchants allow you to upload a picture to see what the frames look like, you can't see and feel the fit. This will impact his compliance. Kid's already struggle with compliance for obvious reasons but if they don't fit right, it will really be a struggle.

Also, while you want him to get decent frames (which might help him comply), you'll want to make sure you get good lenses. No, not all lenses are created equal. I strongly recommend polycarbonate material (safest for kids because they are shatterproof), scratch resistance (minimizes chance of scratching), and anti-reflective coating (reduces glare which creates better vision). Yes these things will cost but they are all important. I would say spend the money on the lenses and stay within the frame budget for your insurance.

Many places offer back to school deals around this time which include 2 pairs. These deals may not nclude the features I mentioned above but I would strongly encourage you to pay the extra money to get those features. Some retailers won't even sell glasses without these features, I think Walkart and Costco, because it is that important. No matter where you go, just don't skimp on your son's vision. Good luck to you and if you have any questions, please feel free to send me a private message.

P.S. I purposely didn't include where I work because I don't want you to think I'm biased but I can assure you that I don't work for any of the optical retailers or for a ophthalmologist.. I'm just passionate about vision and Eyecare :-)

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