This holiday season is showing that more people are buying product online than ever before. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that eyewear is something you want to be particularly careful with when shopping online. What you see isn't always what you get when it comes to online eyewear. If you aren't careful when choosing your new frames and lenses, it can end up costing you in the long run. Here are six things you might want to consider before you buy glasses online.
Most online eyewear retailers allow you to enter your prescription when placing your order for new glasses. The problem is that these prescriptions may not be as accurate as glasses ordered from your local optician or optometrist. In fact, a 2011 study in The Journal of the American Optometric Association found that 44.8% of consumers who bought glasses online received lenses with incorrect prescriptions.
From T-shirts, to shoes, to eyeglasses, what looks great in the picture may not look (or feel) great on you. Some glasses are created for narrower faces, some for wider ones. Pictures, descriptions, and comments only go so far; everybody has a unique face shape, and the only way to know what works for you is to physically try something on.
Even when you have glasses that are the right size for you, they almost always need some fine tuning to ensure they fit properly to the unique contours of your face. That means you may have to visit your optometrist anyways to get the glasses you bought online properly fitted.
One of the most important things to remember when buying glasses online is that most lenses are entry-level and cannot be personalized to your unique needs. Sophisticated manufacturing techniques, such as Internal Freeform, use specific measurements, such as the angle of the frames, the way the frames sit on your nose, and the distance to your eyes. This kind of specialty lens personalization can only be found by visiting an optometrist in person.
While online eyewear retailers can offer substantial savings, it's important to remember that advertised prices are typically only for entry-level, single vision lenses, with the least expensive frames. If you want progressives, a different style of frame, anti-reflective coatings, or other add-ons, the costs can add up quickly.
There are plenty of great deals online, but when shopping around it's important to remember the age-old saying: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Glasses may look just as they were pictured, but feel flimsy and cheap. Many online sales only apply to outdated products, clearance items, or glasses that have been inexpensively manufactured overseas. Always read the fine print and make sure you understand exactly what you're getting before you put your order through.