Today you can buy anything on the internet, with one of the latest trends being low cost prescription eyeglasses. There’s no shortage of websites offering virtual try-on, at home try-on, and perhaps even a style consultant that you can chat with. But don’t be dazzled by nice web design and a trendy business model–if you care about quality, vision, and comfort, buying eyeglasses online is simply not worth it.
Finding the right frame is the primary goal when shopping for new glasses. Whether you want fashionable eyewear or prefer a more utilitarian approach, finding the right style is important. However, choosing a frame that looks nice is not the only objective; the way the frame fits and performs is crucial. A licensed optician is trained to assist you based on how a frame fits your nose and ears, the proximity to your cheeks and eyelashes, how the frame will suit your specific prescription lenses, and so on. This level of expertise is impossible to achieve when buying online.
Another aspect of buying eyewear is the frame quality. The top online shops boast great quality at an affordable price. However, most of their frames are actually mass-produced in China using low grade materials that don’t last. At an optical boutique, you can choose from many independent eyewear brands that offer durable, handcrafted frames from Italy and Japan. Better materials look nicer, feel more comfortable, retain their fit, and last much longer. Durable, high-quality eyeglasses are a smart investment in your wardrobe.
As all glasses wearers know, the lenses are the most important part of the equation. Do you spend a lot of time on the computer? Do you need protective shatter-resistance for your child? What shape works best for your bifocals? When it comes to lenses, one option certainly does not fit all. There are several lens materials to choose from depending on your specific needs. The anti-glare coating is also crucial for clear lenses that look great. Online shops usually only offer one lens option and a generic anti-glare coating that scratch easily. In a local shop, there’s a wide variety of materials and coatings to choose from. A well-trained optician will help you navigate your options so that you can make an informed decision on the quality and clarity you need.
Most importantly, only an optician can accurately measure your lens fit for you. Online shops ask for a “PD” or pupillary distance, but there are other factors in lens measuring. The lens must be centered in front of your pupil in a certain position, and the measurement varies depending on your personal prescription, the lens chosen, and how your frame fits you. To get the best vision possible, it is imperative to work with a licensed optician, especially if you wear multifocal or “progressive” lenses.
The most glaringly obvious problem with buying eyewear online is the lack of service. Even with a great price and careful frame selection, eyewear still requires maintenance. When you buy from a local optical shop, you get frame adjustments, deep cleaning, and lens sprays and microfiber cloths for the lifetime of your eyewear. Plus, if you should ever run into a problem with wearing or caring for your eyeglasses, your optician can help you assess and correct the issue.
Eyeglasses can be an awesome fashion accessory, but remember that they are also a medical device. Buying prescription eyewear online is more akin to choosing your own medically-necessary orthopedic shoe inserts. Some tasks are best left to the experts. If you care about vision, comfort, and quality, buying eyeglasses online is simply not worth it.
I hope you find this information helpful, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.