Should I Buy Eyeglasses Online?

3 Critical Things to Consider

Before Buying Glasses Online

 Many patients consistently ask whether they should buy their glasses online.  I always appreciate the candor and cherish the opportunity to clarify why so many online companies are moving back to brick and mortar stores and why there is such a huge difference between buying from an actual storefront and an online company.   There are several important factors to consider before making a final decision and what benefits do you want?

  Frame & Lens Quality

Branding  & Authenticity

Service/Warranty

Frame & Lens Quality

The first thing to consider is the quality of the frames which includes the material used, the design, and finishing.  All these factors affect the comfort, look, and longevity.  It is difficult to differentiate the quality of a frame from a mere picture.  The lenses are almost always overlooked because all the lenses look alike to the naked eye.  Remember, that the reason you need the frame is because of the lenses and why you need the whole package.  Every industry has different levels of quality available from automobiles to clothing.  Eyewear is no different and most glasses sold online keep their prices at the lowest possible by using the most basic materials, and speedy production. These frames are then dressed up in a fancy photo or video that creates the illusion that the product is much more luxurious than it is.  In order to offer the lowest prices several shortcuts must be made. The frames or lenses will not last very long and force their consumers to purchase and entire replacement pair of glasses more often.  Here’s a quick math example that easily shows how both companies reach the same result but one leaves the consumer empty handed. 

Quality Price (YRS) Life Frame Purchases (5 YRS) Total Spent
Great $495 5 Years 1 Pair $495
Good $245 2.5 Years 2 Pairs $495
Bad $99 5 Years 5 Pairs $495

It is easy to see that the average person will need to replace their lower quality frames every year ends up spending the same amount as the “Great” quality frames but at the end they have no frames left to reuse.   

Eyewear Brand & Authenticity

If you must have the latest fashion brands then you will still pay more online for the same frame quality but with a name like “Gucci” or “Chanel” slapped on the frames.  Brand names can be found in chain stores such as Lenscrafters (Luxottica), at malls, or online.  Those brand names come with licensing fees, advertising to grow the brand, more expensive real estate in malls and department stores, and thus the higher sticker price.  If the name is not important to you and you care more about the quality then look to independent designers that focus on their craftmanship and strive to make the designs better each year.  More of your money will go towards the quality of the frame and not a big fashion house.   There are reputable independent designers that have the whole package, a solid name and high quality eyewear. 

Eyewear Service & Warranty

The next thought to consider, and probably most important factor, is the Optical experience and service received.  When you buy glasses online you are now the Optician and taking on the liberty of filling your own prescription.  It is now your job to fit the frame correctly and just as importantly the lenses.  Unfortunately, many of the tools and hitech features are not accurate enough to fit a frame virtually compared to having the frame adjusted and then measured by a professional.  Even if you get an at “home try on kit”, you still have to make decide which glasses are the best choice for you.  Making sure that the frame will not only look good but provide the best comfort and not negatively affect your vision.  There are many nuisances that a trained Optician can identify so that you do not have headaches due to a poorly fit frame.  Opticians are licensed professionals that spend years to provide the best possible service to their patients.  When you do decide to purchase your glasses from a professional, make sure you are working with an Optician and not a Sales Associate.  Opticians are trained in Optics, Sales Associates are trained at Sales.   Fitting your own eyeglasses is not much different than you doing all the labor needed to fix your car.  I’m sure you can get all the parts online cheaper. But which parts work and fit correctly, and wouldn’t it make more sense to leave it to someone with experience? 

In Summary, it just makes sense when you think about everything. The price of glasses start to add up when you start putting ALL the pieces together.  If you take out even one piece, then yes you can get a better deal on your glasses.  You only live once, your eyes and your face deserve quality eyewear from the design to the service behind those products.  Choose wisely!