In an article titled Finding Eyeglasses At Discount Prices, CBS News Healthwatch discusses the high markups that brick-and-mortar eyewear stores often place on eyeglasses and frames and recommends purchasing eyewear online at sites like FramesDirect.com.
The article says, "These retailers often offer affordable eye exams, but they make a killing on marked-up frames and unnecessary high-tech lens options."
"You'd be far better off buying lenses online and foregoing all the bells and whistles. You now can find everything from designer eyewear to bargain basement frames on the Web, and they'll cost you far less than you'd typically pay at a one-stop shop."
The article specifically mentions the ability to try on frames online with tools like the FramesDirect.com FrameFinder Virtual Tryon System as a way around the problem of seeing what you look like in your new frames before you buy them.
The article even suggests trying on frames at an optical store if you like the idea of the hands-on approach, but then making the actual purchase online to save money on both the frames and prescription lenses.