There have been a few good questions lately about the benefits of online eyeglass purchasing. While it may be attractive from a purely cost-based perspective, there are some important things to know before adding those glasses to your online shopping cart and entering your visa number.
1. The Measurements
Prescription eyeglasses are custom made medical devices. Who is taking the necessary measurements, and how accurate are they? Here’s a primer on some of the data we look at carefully during your eyewear selection and measurement process:
The pupillary distance, (PD) is the distance between the very centers of each of your pupils. It’s impossible to make glasses accurately without this. Depending on the nature of your prescription, we may also need an optical centre height, which is the distance of the centre of your pupils to the bottom rim of the glasses frame ultimately chosen. We also look at the face form tilt, or the curvature of your eyeglass frame as seen from above. Certain prescriptions work well in a higher face form tilt while others need one much lower. The new high-technology digital progressive lenses also require vertex distance (measurement from the back of the lens to the front of your eye) and pantoscopic tilt (amount by which the bottom of your frame tilts inward towards your cheekbones).
Many of our patients look through their glasses every waking hour. The costs of just one critical measurement being off even slightly can result in vision problems, distortion, eyestrain, headaches and poor visual efficiency.
2. The Adjustments
Eyeglasses, by nature, are subject to lots of wear and tear. Are they sitting properly so that the weight is evenly distributed? Sometimes just the right amount of bend in the temples, nosepads or bridge can make all the difference in the world. Make sure these are being done by trained professionals with the right equipment. Certain frames may actually feel good on your face without prescription lenses, then feel totally off once the lenses are added in. A trained optical professional knows when to place the order and adjust for the differences later, or move on to the next frame selection.
3. The Professional Advice
What options are absolutely critical for you to get in your eyewear, and what could you do without? Are you being advised on the right type of anti-glare coating, UV protection, anti scratch, Transitions, polarized or high index? Would an aspheric lens give you better results than a non-aspheric lens? What colour and shape of frame looks the best on you, complements your features, suits your professional attire and (very important) works with your prescription? We use our eyes every single day, the advice of a professional is important when selecting eyeglasses you may be wearing for the next year or two.
4. The Product
If something seems like too good a deal, be careful. All eyewear products are not the same. There have been many changes in lens and frame technology that most people are not aware of, as well as huge differences in factors such as error tolerance during lens grinding, verification processes, anti-glare and anti-scratch quality, presence of aberrations (poor quality images) and safety profiles. Where is the product coming from, who made it, and are they willing to back it up with a no-hassle warranty? As the saying goes, time is money. Packaging an unsatisfactory product and mailing it back repeatedly in hopes of finally getting a favorable outcome can be costly.
5. The Service
Are the people you are dealing with interested in selling as many pairs of glasses to as many people as possible? Or, are they committed to providing their customers with a purchasing experience that is second to none, resulting in eyewear that is comfortable, accurate, looks great and fits their needs perfectly? Your prescription eyewear is a highly customized medical device with complex elements – let us simplify it for you. Our job is to collect all the relevant data and information (including what is most important to you) and provide you with the best eye and vision care solution available.
For an interesting article on this topic from www.allaboutvision.com (which includes a story from a secret shopper who attempted to purchase glasses online)