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Why Buying Glasses Online May Be No Bargain

 

Purchasing eyeglasses online may offer convenience to consumers, but AOA warns that the consequences of making an incorrect or uninformed puchase could lcost patients more time and money in the long run.

The AOA stresses to consumers that eyeglasses are in investment in their health and must be custom fitted not only to be comfortable, but also to meet their particular prescriptive needs, which only an eye doctor can determine.

“Without visiting an eye doctor, patients run the risk of purchasing eyeglasses online with an improper fit or receiving the wrong  prescription altogether,” said Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., AOA secretary-treasurer.  “Ultimately, patients can expend more time dealing with order mistakes and making returns than had they simply visited their local optometrist in the first place.”

An AOA study published in 2011 with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council reinforces the drawbacks of online orders.  The study concluded:

  • Of 200 glasses ordered online, only 154 pairs were received;
  • 44.8 percent had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues;
  • 29 percent of adult lenses failed impact resistance testing; and,
  • 25 percent of children’s lenses failed impact resistance testing.

Purchasing eyeglasses from a local optometrist is the AOA’s first and foremost recommendation, but if patients are still interested in making a purchase online, the AOA warns consumers to do their homework before making a final decision.

“If a consumer believes that ordering a pair of glasses online is in their best interest, it is important for the consumer to be fully informed regarding the potential pitfalls in doing so,” Dr. Pierce said.  “The peer-reviewed study revealed that nearly half of all glasses ordered online had either prescription errors or failed to meet minimum safety standards.  Personally, I find that very scary.  Patient’s deserve better than that.”