Buying Eyeglasses: Does Price Matter?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, September 5, 2021

Over 90% of people prefer buying their glasses from their eye doctor or optical store.

The majority of our purchasing nowadays is done online— but only 9.3% of prescription glasses in the United States were sold online.

Buying glasses online?

There’s practically no limit to what you can buy with the help of the internet and a computer, whether it’s groceries, clothing or technology.

There is one item that is still best purchased in person: Eyeglasses! 

There are a number of reasons why you should avoid purchasing glasses online. Even though the internet is fantastic, a personal touch may sometimes do the trick.

The thought of purchasing glasses from the convenience of your own home may appeal to you, especially since some sites allow you to upload a photo of yourself and virtually try on several frames.

However, there are some significant disadvantages to selecting prescription glasses in this manner.

Reasons to not buy online

Your eye doctor is essential for eye health

Maintaining your relationship with your eye doctor is vital to maintain your eye health.

When you go in for an eye exam to purchase glasses, your optometrist is usually right there with you, ensuring that your prescription is correct and that your pupillary distance is correctly calculated.

When you buy glasses online, there’s a high possibility you won’t be dealing with an optician at all!

Lack of quality control

When purchasing something online, there is always the chance of obtaining something of lower quality than what was advertised. 

In fact, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal Optometry, nearly half of the prescription glasses did not meet patients’ ‘visual or physical needs.’

When it comes to purchasing glasses online, the same is true.

The main distinction is that when it comes to glasses, you want them to be of great quality. Because different countries have different product testing laws, there’s a strong chance your new glasses would fail to meet your country’s standards.

Poorly manufactured optical lenses are more likely to break, and when it comes to your eyes, broken lenses are the last thing you want near them.

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to ensure your glasses are the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

SEE RELATED: Guide to Optical Frames

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Frames may not fit

There is no way to be 100% sure that the frames ordered online will be the best fit for your face.

It’s possible that your new glasses will be too snug on your face or slip down the bridge of your nose, something you won’t know if you shop online.

You can always have your frames adjusted by an optometrist while shopping in-store to ensure a comfortable fit.

Prescription might not be accurate

A doctor’s prescription for clear vision is based on a precise measurement.

There’s a high probability that when you get this prescription and send it to an internet glasses shop, your glasses won’t be as accurate as they should be.

The wrong prescription can lead to headaches, blurred vision and even migraines. 

When you visit your optometrist to purchase glasses, they can retest your vision and the most up-to-date prescription will ensure that they are the best fit for you.

Position of the lens

Another factor that an optometrist must assess to ensure the positioning of the lenses in the frames is correct.

The position of the lens in the frames requires personalization for your pupil distance and your optical center. 

The pupil distance is the distance between your eyes, and needs to be accurately determined to ensure the lenses are in the correct position.

The optical center is usually placed in the center of your lenses by most online vendors, but depending on how the frame sits on your face, it should be higher or lower than the center.

Making a mistake with these placements can have a significant effect on your vision.

Personal experience

Shopping in your PJs from the comfort of your own home is fun, but going to a store to try on lenses and hear feedback from other customers is part of the fun of picking new frames!

Here’s what you can do: find inspiration online, then make your purchase in-store.

There’s nothing wrong with using a website to virtually try on various frames. However, once you have a general concept of what you want, you should go into a store to make your final pick.

What may appear to be a straightforward way to get glasses can rapidly become annoying if they don’t fit properly or your prescription causes you to see double!

LEARN MORE: Optical and Contact Lenses

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to discuss how eyeglasses can benefit your life.

Purchasing glasses online from the comfort of your home may seem convenient, however, the ‘wrong’ eyeglasses or lenses could have a significant impact on your vision and affect your comfort.