Is buying eyeglasses/frames online a great secret? Wonder if you’re doing the right thing for your eyes? Sure, you may save money ‘up front’, however please note the differences in our glasses and what you buy online. I am hopeful the smarter, informed people of Boulder, Colorado can weigh the differences.
Wow! Less than $100 for a pair of glasses online! They look ‘ok’! “I surely must be getting ripped off if I buy glasses at my doctor’s office” you may think. Let’s break this out and see where the chips fall.
Frame quality is often horribly lacking from the online shops. At first glance (and feel) they seem just like the lines sold in retail stores. Until a few months (or less) go by. They often don’t keep adjustment and when they are bent out of shape the clock immediately starts ticking on their longevity. Cheaper frames simply can’t last through multiple flex/bend/repair cycles. Poorer material=less longevity.
A typical, cheap tactic is for online sellers (and some discount chains) to sell discontinued (disco) eyeglass frames. If anything happens to the frame – good luck finding a replacement part or frame. I only carry great quality frames which I stand behind. Should a frame lose its alignment with time, my office is happy to re-adjust the frame for the time you own it. Free of charge. If you walk in with a frame you bought elsewhere, do you really expect me to risk breaking it during a repair/adjustment and not even charge you? Not likely. Would you bring your Jeep into a Bentley dealership demanding top service?
Some websites and online retailers have slick ‘fitting software’ using pictures of you. Unless you happen to have a 3-D laser scanner at your home and are able to scan your entire head – there is no way to guarantee a decent fit let alone cosmetically appealing look. Some folks allow places to mail them multiple pairs of glasses to try-on. Sounds like a lot of hassle when in the course of 5 to 10 minutes we can have you set with your glasses, viewing our inventory of over 600 frames.
Let’s look at the whole lens puzzle. A lens is a lens is a lens, right? As an eye doctor with many years of optics and physics classes, I am here to tell you emphatically that is 100% wrong. Is a Ferrari just another car? I think not. Online eyeglass sellers are notorious for selling horrible lenses. Your only clue may be eyestrain after use. Mass-made lenses are often fraught with optical distortions. Do you want to trust your vision to poor lenses while driving at night, working hours at a computer or operating heavy machinery? There is no such thing as a cheap progressive lens. How much is not getting daily headaches or getting into a car accident worth to you? I bet it is more than a quality pair of eyeglasses. Worse, I’ve seen many online retailers lure folks in with a cheap initial price and by the time add-ons such as UV (Ultra-Violet protection), scratch-resistant coatings and anti-reflective coatings are added in, the end price is often far more than what I charge my patients. Incidentally, all coatings are not created equal. Getting an anti-reflective coating online is like painting your car with rollers – it will cover your car with paint however the quality is horrible. Most like it will soon fleck off. We warranty all lenses sold to our patients. Any problems are addresses immediately by my office with real, live people who care about you. Not an over-seas sweat-shop making glasses by the thousands for people they could care less about.
I like saving money. No question about it. However, there are times and places to save. Sacrificing your eyes and visual comfort not to mention skimping on something you are wearing on your face for the whole world to see is NOT the place to go cheap-skate. Think about what your eyes need: Accurate, distortion-free lenses, comfortable viewing. Functional fashion. Let’s not forget about the advent of impersonal corporations destroying local economies. Buy local and keep your investment local! Do me AND yourself a favor.