In today's virtual world, purchasing many goods online is easy. But is ordering eyewear online your best choice? Like many other consumer items, it may seem like a bargain, and it is convenient to purchase outside normal business hours. However, it is important to know about the manufacturing, fitting, measurement and dispensing of eyewear.
When ordering online, the untrained consumer is, in essence, taking on the role of a trained optical dispenser. This includes taking critical measurements and making decisions on choice of material and lens design. When you consult a university trained optometrist, licensed optician or certified optical dispenser, they assess the fitting and other factors that go into converting an eyeglass prescription or contact lens prescription into a quality optical device.
For glasses, the appropriate fitting includes:
- Accurate measurement of the optical centres in order to avoid eyestrain. The interpupillary distance (PD) depends on the viewing distance, and vertical measurements for proper centration depends on the selected frame.
- Determination of the most appropriate type and index of the lens.
- Lens design is selected based on your occupation and lifestyle.
- Base curve controls magnification, especially where there is a large Rx difference between the eyes.
- Proper selection of frame size, bridge fit, frame shape, wrap, and material ensures good comfort and vision with minimum distortion and reduced lens thickness.
- Lens coating quality can vary among sources. The anti-scratch or anti-glare coating tends to add significantly to the cost of eyewear, and the method of coating manufacturing makes a difference in how long the coating will last.
- Frame quality should be adjustable, as many online frames are not optical quality frames that do not have adjustable nose pads or temples (arms). In fact, many so-called designer frames online have been frame knock-offs.
A September 2011 study found that 28.6% of online eyewear were outside of optical tolerance. Unfortunately, it is difficult for the average consumer to detect these problems unless assessed by a trained optical professional.
As a consumer, you have a number of choices when it comes to purchasing eyewear, including online. Working with your optometrist from the initial eye exam to the final fitting will ensure you receive accurate, quality manufactured eyewear that is best suited for your eyes and your lifestyle.
Make an appointment at Foresight Eyecare for more information regarding your eyewear needs. Drs. Dianna Leong, Anh Bui, and Elizabeth Yan plus our team of trained licensed opticians have years of experience making careful choices on quality eyewear that fit your eyewear needs.