Online shopping certainly offers convenience from the comfort of your home. It also allows you to research what you want while finding the right price to match your budget. That holds true even for eyeglasses.
Armed with a prescription from your optometrist, there is no shortage of websites that now cater to the vision crowd. But be wary, ordering a pair of glasses online is not as easy as purchasing a pair of blue jeans or theatre tickets.
Every pair of prescription glasses must be custom-fitted to not just comfortably suit your face but also to meet your particular prescriptive needs. In short, you, your optometrist and your optician must work together in order to ensure a proper fit.
There’s also a lingering question about the quality and safety of prescription eyewear ordered online. In a recent study, researchers discovered that nearly half of all glasses (44.8 per cent) ordered online either contained an inaccurate prescription or didn’t meet safety standards designed to protect the eyes.
What’s an online diehard to do when it comes to buying eyeglasses on the Internet? You need to take several steps to ensure proper fit and look closely at each online seller’s ability to help you before and after your purchase.
Getting The Right Look
Online retailers of eyeglasses provide an extensive selection of frames. You simply view the choices and features that include colour, frame material such as plastic, metal, or a combination, as well as and how the lenses are held in place (such as drill-mounted or rimless).
You also need to consider the various options available for the lenses, and what is best for your particular prescription and lifestyle. Lenses come in various materials: such as traditional plastic, as well as thinner, lighter materials. Other considerations are the different coatings and treatments available such as nonglare coatings and photochromic lenses.
Does your face look better with round, oval or rectangular lenses?
Of course, many of these lens shapes and material selections should be ruled out based on your prescription. For example, multifocal (bifocal, trifocal, and progressive addition) lenses generally require a specific minimum amount of room in the lenses to accommodate the entire prescription. Some websites guide you through this process with tips to find the right frames and lenses to fit your face shape. Some sites use a virtual feature where you upload a photo and then see how each selection looks. Some even ship frames for free to try before you buy.
Don’t confuse the right look with the right measurements for your glasses. Pupil distance (PD) determines where to place the center of each lens in your frames to customize the optics to your eyes.
This measurement is critical to ensure that your glasses provide the best possible vision results. Measuring your PD is akin to cutting your own hair. It isn’t easy.
Most online retailers highly recommend that your optometrist provide this measurement to ensure accuracy. But this measurement is not part of your prescription and not normally provided unless you ask for it. Your optometrist or optician can even legitimately charge for the service of providing your PD.
The measurements needed for multifocals can only be accurately made once the frame is selected and properly fitted to your face, so typically this measurement is simply estimated for online spectacles.
The right look and the right measurements matter little if your eyeglasses simply don’t fit your face or your needs. If your frames are too large, too heavy, or don’t sit on the bridge of your nose the right way, they will slip. Besides being just downright uncomfortable, this may cause vision problems and/or headaches since you won’t be looking through the correct areas of the lenses.