Is online shopping convenient?

Speaking as an Amazon Prime Member who has made more than one “convenient” online purchase while sipping my favorite Chardonnay…emphatically yes! It is very convenient.

BUT are buying eyeglasses online really a good idea? After all, purchasing prescription eyeglasses is not the same thing as buying a pair of blue jeans online. Even purchasing shoes online leaves a level of doubt and question as to whether they will be a comfortable fit. That being said, a great deal of research should be done before deciding to purchase corrective eyewear online.

As objectively as possible I will argue the case as to why I believe it is important to order your new prescription eyewear through traditional brick and mortar optical stores.

Let’s just cut to the chase and assume (I know, don’t assume) that the number one reason patients decide to order their glasses online is price.   I will ask you this question – how much is your vision worth?

Consider these averages:  Eyeglass cost based on over a two-year period which is the average lifespan of a pair of prescription eye glasses.


Coffee Before Work                       Cost Per Day $2.00                           Cost Per Month $40.00

Cable & Internet                              Cost Per Day $4.16                           Cost Per Month $125.00

Cell Phone                                          Cost Per Day $2.66                           Cost Per Month $80.00


Glasses Costing $400.00                Cost Per Day $0.56                           Cost Per Month $16.80

Glasses Costing $700.00                Cost Per Day $0.97                           Cost Per Month $29.10

Glasses Costing $1000.00              Cost Per Day $1.40                           Cost Per Month $42.00


When you break down the cost of a great pair of glasses that not only give you precise clear vision but also look and feel fantastic the investment seems well worth it.

Putting price aside let’s consider a few other things. When given a choice most people prefer to try on possible frame choices in person, not only to see how they look but also how they feel.  Repeating the aforementioned shoe reference, a pair of shoes can look fabulous but end up being the most uncomfortable things ever rendering them useless.

Prescription eyewear is something you rely on daily, if they are heavy and ill fitted you can often end up miserable with sore areas on your nose and behind your ears at the minimum. Sore spots on your face is not the only issue that occurs with glasses that are not properly fitted or to heavy, weight also causes the frame to slip down on your nose which displaces your optical center as well as other crucial measurements.

As most of you would agree, accuracy matters.  Don’t confuse the right look with the right fit and measurements for your glasses. It is possible to have the same prescription filled in two different frames with an entirely dissimilar outcome due to oversized or improperly fitted frames.   Pupillary distance (PD) measurements, optical center (OC height) determines where to place the center of each lens to customize the optics to your eyes. And when it comes to needing Multifocal lenses, whether it is a traditional lined bifocal, trifocal or today’s preferred option a PAL (no-line progressive addition lens)  the accurate measurements become even more critical. The measurements needed for multifocal lenses are even more precise and can only be accurately made once the frame is selected and properly fit to your face.

All this information begs the question – how do online companies get these measurements without the physically present patient wearing the accurately fitted frame?  Possibly they guesstimate or perhaps try to instruct you through an online tutorial of a self-guided measuring system.

Lens material and optional upgrades are another factor to consider. Only your experienced Optometrist in partner with a knowledgeable Optician will be your best resource in helping you select what lens materials and upgrade options will work best for your individual prescription. Some lens materials combined with certain prescriptions can actually create distortion.

And in closing consider this; According to a recent study conducted and published by the American Optometric Association (AOA)

Of 200 glasses ordered online, only 154 were received

44.8 percent had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues

29 percent had at least one lens fail to meet required prescription

25 percent of children’s lenses failed impact resistance testing

I ask that you consider all of these things before deciding to purchase prescription eyewear online.


Lynette Terzieff, ABOC