Is Buying Glasses Online A Good Idea?

  • By Germaine Shock
  • 30 Dec, 2016
It’s no secret that we are living in a digital world. So many of our mundane tasks can now be carried out either partially or completely online, and thanks to advances in internet security, shopping online is safer and easier than ever. You can even buy most of your groceries from the comfort of your couch! But is online shopping appropriate for everything? Take popular internet glasses retailers for example - with your sight being so important, is buying glasses online a good idea? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of shopping for lenses and frames online. 

Pros

Cost Effectiveness

Perhaps the biggest lure of online glasses retailers is their affordability. Shoppers are able to purchase a completely new pair of glasses for sometimes half of what they would pay at a physical optical shop or Optometrist’s office.

Convenience

Another big pull towards shopping for glasses online comes from the sheer convenience of it. There’s no appointment needed, no waiting, and no need to even change out of your pjs. Most online retailers also have apps available that allow you to virtually try on their frames by uploading a photo of yourself. Some will even send you a few pairs of your favorite frames to make sure you pick what will look the best on you.

eye glasses sitting on a laptop computer

More Frame Options

For those concerned with staying on top of the latest trends, look no further. While most traditional optical stores do a great job of this and are typically able to order something in if they don’t have what you're looking for, they are still somewhat limited in capacity. However, since online retailers aren’t limited by space, they will usually have a larger range of options to select from.

 This sounds pretty great right? But is it too good to be true? Keep reading…

Cons

Inaccuracy

In a study conducted by the  American Optometric Association (AOA) , the Optical Laboratories Association, and the Vision Council, almost half (44.8%) of the varying 200 pairs of glasses ordered from popular online retailers had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues. Furthermore, only 154 of these glasses were even received! The errors in prescriptions ranged from incorrect measurements and missing bifocal powers, to adding or leaving off lens coatings, and every scenario in between.

A big part of these prescription errors likely stems from the lack of crucial measurements that would ordinarily be taken in person when purchasing glasses from your Optometrist. For example, seg height measurements are what lets the laboratory making your lenses know how far up or down your bifocal power should sit. A good majority of the time, this measurement is just estimated when ordering online since accurately measuring it yourself is nearly impossible and the number will vary depending on the size of your frame.

Fit and Adjustments

While some online optical shops offer to mail you a few of their frames to try on before you make a purchase, this isn’t the majority. Frames come in so many different size specifications and styles that it makes it difficult to ensure a proper fit from sight alone. Furthermore, there are typically one or two adjustments that will need to be made to keep your frame from sliding down throughout the day even if the frame itself fits. This is especially true of plastic frames that can sometimes lose their original adjustments due to body heat.

closeup of young woman wearing eye glasses

Safety

Another area of concern when ordering glasses online is safety. Around one fourth of the glasses ordered and received in the previously mentioned study actually failed impact testing. This is especially dangerous for children since kiddos are more prone to accidents such as falling and getting hit in the face while playing sports. If the lenses aren’t up to par with impact resistance, they can shatter causing potential for an extremely dangerous situation. However, when glasses are ordered through an Optometrist or reputable optical shop, lenses that fail impact testing are discarded and remade until they pass.

Cheaper Cost = Cheaper Materials?

While ordering glasses online might be convenient for your pocketbook, the savings usually come at a bigger cost. When a retailer offers a dramatically lower price than its competitors, it is generally because they are utilizing lesser materials. This could mean having a frame that is in constant need of repair or lens coatings that chip and peel.  

Lost In The Mail

The potential for your glasses getting lost in the mail is also a cause for concern as mentioned earlier, only 154 of 200 pairs of glasses ordered online during the study were even received. When ordering from Precision Vision you will always be notified of any delays and our optical team keeps a close eye on all orders ensuring nothing gets lost or looked over.

The Outcome

Just weighing the pros and cons, it would seem that buying glasses online has more risk than reward. However, we understand that some of these details might carry more weight than others and you might be completely ok with taking a few risks to purchase an inexpensive pair of glasses. Should you decide to throw caution to the wind, just make sure to do your research. Find out the retailer’s return and refund policies in case your glasses arrive and you aren’t able to see out of them or they don’t fit properly. Also try to order from a reputable retailer with good reviews that at least lets you try the frames on first.

And if you’ve decided that saving a few bucks isn’t worth the potential headache (literally), come see us at Precision Vision of Edmond and let us help you fall in love with a pair of glasses that will give you the best vision at a great price. You can even wear your pjs in if you want!


close up of blonde woman wearing a polka dot eyeglass frame

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