Online Spectacle Purchases, Yes Or No?

In the last few years, there has been a sea of online spectacle shops popping up. At times we get asked : “Why don’t you offer something online for your practices?” Well, it’s the same as when you purchase clothes online.  We have all heard stories of people buying clothes online only to find that the material or the fit is not as described.  Sometimes they are even fake!

The most important part of getting the right pair of spectacles, is the facial measurements, which can’t be done online. Our primary goal is to make sure the frames and lenses are made accurately to suit you as well as being comfortable for your face shape.

Don’t just take our word for it. Here are some quotes from unhappy customers that have bought their glasses online.

  • “I purchased a pair of glasses and 1 year later they started to come undone to the point of not being able to wear them … including the lens popping out of the frame”
  • “Their customer (lack of) service consists of a call centre in the Philippines”
  • “My order went missing and never turned up”
  • “I bought a pair of cute glasses… and when I received it, I was a bit disappointed. The plastic looked cheap and flimsy”

Websites will always say how sophisticated their system is and how accurate their measurements are, however like everything else online, there are limitations.  They can only do what they are told. Some online sellers will even have a disclaimer saying their spectacles are not guaranteed to be usable! Without any discussion with the patient, the website will not know what lens design, material and index will suit the patient the best. How will the measurements be done?

There are 5 key components which are attributed to a perfect pair of spectacles:

  1. Prescription
  2. Lens design
  3. Frame
  4. Facial measurements
  5. Fitting compensations

When fitting the perfect pair of lenses to a frame, measurements such as

  • PD (which online retailers think is obtainable with a webcam),
  • heights,
  • vertex distance,
  • pantoscopic tilt,
  • working distance and so on.

All these play a role in how well the lenses work for you. Have you ever wondered why, sometimes when you get a new pair of spectacles, and have been told “the prescription is exactly the same”, however feels different? This would relate to the above measurements which a front on photo with a webcam can not possibly show.  Troubleshooting and adjustments is an important part of the service that an in-house optical dispenser can provide.

The latest lens designs on the market are specifically designed to be customised for your visual needs, so a one size fits all will become less relevant over time.  Going online means yes, you might pay less, but they may not be optimal (just like buying reading magnifiers from a $2 shop).

We think your eyes deserve better.   Seeing clearly and comfortably is our aim and we will do everything we can to help you with this.

For more information on eye health and eye conditions or to find your local Eyecare Plus optometrist visit:

About optometrists:

Optometrists are experts in vision care who diagnose, manage and treat a wide range of vision problems, eye diseases and ocular conditions. By prescribing spectacles, contact lenses, vision aids and other treatments, optometrists help their patients maximise and retain good vision for life.