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The Risks of Purchasing Eyeglasses Online

In the busy world of today it is often more convenient and time efficient to purchase items online from the comfort of you own home.  As opticians and eye care professionals, we are often asked about the risks of purchasing prescription eyeglasses online as more and more consumers are drawn to this quick and easy form of shopping.  While ordering eyeglasses online may seem easy, it is very different from ordering a typical consumer item such as a sweater or shoes. Opticians are trained and educated to fit glasses and select lenses that are customized to your specific visual needs and prescription. Obtaining a prescription is only one of many steps needed to ensure you are seeing the best you can.

When Purchasing Eyeglasses Online, Frames Are Often Outdated Or Discontinued Models

Many eyeglass frames that are sold online are older, outdated or discontinued models. This means that there may be no parts available should you purchase this frame and something breaks (such as a temple), or paint chips or peels.  Furthermore, online optical retailers do not usually offer manufacturer’s warranties for any defects in frames.  Also, many online retailers do not have access to the newest and most customized optical lenses in the industry. This is because most high-definition digital lenses require extra measurements such as the vertex distance, pantoscopic tilt of the frame and wrap of the frame.

When Purchasing Eyeglasses Online There Is No One To Help Adjust Or Repair Your Glasses

One of the most crucial elements to ensuring your new glasses fit appropriately and comfortably is how well they are adjusted. Opticians are trained in how to properly align frames without damaging them. A proper adjustment includes ensuring the frame is not crooked on the face, that the eye is properly centered in the lens, that the temple follows the curve of the ear and that the glasses are not too tight or too loose. If a frame is bent or a screw falls out of a hinge, an optician can usually fix and repair these issues.  When you purchase glasses online there is no one to help you maintain or adjust your glasses.

Lack Of Professional To Take Accurate Measurements

Of all the risks inherent to purchasing prescription glasses online, this one is the most detrimental to your eye health.  Opticians are trained to take critical and accurate measurements to ensure you are looking out of the optical center, or clearest part of the lens. Some of these measurements include:  accurately measuring the distance between your pupils, measuring how high to make your bifocal or progressive, determining the height at which to place the optical center, depending on the frame, to name a few.  Many people do not know that your eyes sit differently in each different frame you wear. Therefore, measurements are a function of the frame chosen, and need to be taken every time you purchase a new frame. Opticians also choose frames that will best accommodate your prescription without causing unwanted aberrations or lens edge thickness. They have vast knowledge and up-to-date education on the different types of lens designs on the market and can help you decide what will best suit your visual needs. Glasses are a prescription medical device. When you purchase glasses online you are taking on the role of a trained optical dispenser, and without the proper knowledge, you could in error, take inaccurate measurements. If you do so, you could put unwanted strain and fatigue on your eyes and induce headaches, nausea or eye-pulling sensations.  Therefore, while purchasing glasses online may seem easy and inexpensive, you may be looking out of an inaccurate prescription.

Lack Of Customer Service And Face-to-Face Rapport

When you purchase prescription eyewear, you are making an investment in your vision. Buying your eyewear from a reputable optometric store ensures you are getting the best service, knowledge and expertise that the industry has to offer. It ensures quality and safety, as you only have one set of eyes! If you get your eyes tested by an optometrist and buy glasses from the same location; if your prescription fluctuates or changes, most offices will offer you a 90 day redo policy in which they will change your lenses to the new, adjusted prescription at no additional charge to you. When you purchase glasses online, you do not have that support or service to ensure that the product you have purchased is accurate and working well for you.

Article Written By: Kaitlin McAlpine


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