These days you can have anything Amazon Primed to your door. Even groceries like milk and eggs since its launch of Prime pantry. If you can receive the products you want with the click of a mouse and payment online, you’d be daft not to? Right?
Buying glasses online may seem harmless but there are times when in fact, it is harmful. Consumer watchdog Which? recently revealed that online retailers are supplying substandard spectacles “that could present safety issues for wearers.”
The report called out the following online brands for selling frames that failed their test: Fashion Eyewear, Goggles4U, Spex4Less, Select Specs and Direct Sight. The report noted that from a test of 26 pairs of glasses ordered: “Eight pairs had poor-quality lenses that were scratched, loose, warped or positioned badly, two pairs had issues with nose-pad positioning, and two had loose arms.” Read more here:
Krista Brewer, an optometrist at Broadhurst Optometrists, said: “There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to vision. Your needs are different from the person sitting next to you. We all have different hobbies, workplaces and lifestyles.
“Online suppliers cannot discuss your specific requirements and are not always guaranteed to be made to the required British Standards. In practice, we have quality control with our manufacturers and the prescription and measurements are checked again by our staff once the spectacles arrive in practice. This picks up the occasions when we do need to send things back to be remade.”
If the spectacles are made incorrectly and it is not picked up by the online retailer before it is sent out; you may encounter problems which could include, but are not limited to, reduced levels of vision, eyestrain, disorientation and headaches.
“A small discrepancy from the ordered prescription could be catastrophic on occasions when an update in prescription will allow a person to remain within the legal driving standards. Personally, it’s not a risk I would like to take.”
Sometimes the spectacles are made to 100% accuracy, but the individual struggles to get on with them. This could happen wherever you purchased your spectacles from, however, the problem is a lot easier to solve when the patient has been through the whole journey in one place. “Our staff have decades of experience between them and can often spot common pitfalls and deal with them before you even find out there is a problem, whilst a computer screen is remote, detached and impersonal.”
Now let’s talk about the fitting of your glasses
You may think it doesn’t really matter if your glasses slide down your nose or are pressing into your head a little too snug, Krista explains:
“With online manufacturers, you see an image of the frame which often bears no reality to how it will sit on the bridge of your nose, the size of the lenses in proportion to your facial features, and whether after 20 minutes the frame would still be comfortable.”
Examples of this include the pre-set position of nose pads on some frames which may be completely inappropriate for the contours of your nose and will, therefore, be uncomfortable at the outset and painful after a short time as the skin on your nose is very sensitive.
Krista adds: “If those same spectacles had been purchased in practice, they would have been selected with a member of staff that would assess the suitability of the frame and help you choose a style you love. They would have also been easily adjusted at your collection appointment with a trained member of our Broadhurst staff, resulting in a pair of glasses that feel great and look even better! A very small problem which causes a great deal of inconvenience is less likely to happen if you have the wisdom of someone who has experience in optics from the beginning.”
Additionally, there are strict rules around the purchasing of glasses for children
“It is illegal in the UK for a NON-GOC registrant to dispense to children without supervision from a registrant” (ABDO Association of British Dispensing Opticians)
ABDO describes the key elements required when dispensing spectacles to a child as ‘prescription interpretation, spectacle frame selection, spectacle lenses, facial measurements along with the verification and fitting of spectacles. The association also said when referring to a ‘dispense’ for a patient, “these key elements cannot be considered in isolation.” (ABDO)
Krista also agrees, she said: “there are many influences in the process of dispensing to children and adults alike. The standards are in place for children, but I think that adults should be given the same level of care, personalised service and quality of the product.”