Purchasing eye wear is increasingly moving from optometrist and optician offices to the Internet, as a growing number of online retailers offer prescription glasses and contact lenses at lower prices. A number of studies indicate that customers/patients are often receiving products and services in-line with the prices they pay online. Many online vendors do not follow the same checks and balances, quality control and quality assurance standards that licensed professional optometrists and opticians must follow. As a result, the products received from online merchants frequently include the incorrect prescription and often do not fit, or are aligned properly to a customer’s face and/or line of sight.
Canadian optometrists are raising concerns about a lack of oversight linked to online glasses, and warn that eye wear that is manufactured or fitted improperly could lead to eyestrain, double vision, or headaches. With the children, the consequences could be even more severe.
A 2012 study out of the School of Optometry of the Université de Montréal found that 1 out of every 6 lenses purchases online did not match the prescription and more than 80% of frames did not receive a passing grade in terms of fit. Similarly, a 2011 study published in the Journal Optometry found that nearly half of the prescription glasses did not meet patients “visual or physical needs”. The study showed 28.6 per cent of the glasses contained at least one lens that failed a component of optical analysis.
In contrast, for traditional optometry/optician-based dispensing models, no more than two per cent of prescriptions are returned after delivery. This is largely due to optometrists and opticians inspecting glasses before they leave the laboratory and directly assisting the patient so they are properly fitted before leaving with their purchase.
Optometrists and opticians are highly trained to ensure your eye wear fits both your unique needs and physical characteristics. The expertise, skill sets and service these individuals provide simply can not be replaced by online tools, cellphone apps and/or untrained personnel. You pay for what you get. Get the best care, get the best service and see your local optometrist!