Buying Glasses Online

If you have thought about purchasing your next pair of prescription eyeglasses online, there are a few things you need to know.

Last Updated: March 27, 2023

Video: What is the difference between buying eyeglasses online versus from an OD? | Dr. Kimberly Tsang

Ordering glasses online may seem easy, convenient, and less costly, but it is very different from ordering your average consumer item. When ordering glasses online, you are in essence taking on the role of a trained optical dispenser. This includes taking critical measurements and making decisions with respect to the frame, lens and material selection. The prescription given to you by your optometrist is only one piece of information that will determine how well you see with your new eyewear. 

Important considerations for picking the right glasses to allow for clear and comfortable vision

  • Accurately measuring the pupillary distance (PD)
  • Selecting the right size of frame
  • Selecting the right shape of frame
  • Determining the type of lens design
  • Determining the type of lens material (which affects lens thickness and safety)
  • Determining the type of lens coatings
  • Determining the curvature of lens
  • Determining the height of the optical center of the lens in the frame
  • Determining the height of the bifocal/progressive (if you wear a multifocal lens)
  • Properly adjusting the frame to your face

When the above considerations are neglected, it is not uncommon to experience problems with the glasses that may arise immediately or develop after a period of use. Common complaints regarding improperly selected glasses may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, eyestrain, pulling sensation in the eyes, glasses slipping off the nose, and pain/pressure marks on your nose or around the ears. Particularly, for children and individuals with a high prescription, complicated prescription, multifocal prescription or difficult-to-fit face, buying glasses online is not recommended.

Visit your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam to obtain an up-to-date prescription. Then, consult your optometrist or optician for the final fitting of glasses to ensure you receive an accurate and quality manufactured eyewear that is best suited for your eyes and your lifestyle.


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