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Let the Buyer Beware*

OpticalAOA Study Finds Issues with Safety, Prescriptions when it comes to buying eyeglasses online according to a recent study by the American Optometric Association (AOA). Conducted last year with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council, the study discovered an alarming rate of problems with prescription compliance and impact resistance. Nearly half of the eyeglasses (44.48 percent had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues.

Researchers had 10 individuals order two pairs of glasses, including pairs for both adults and children, from each of the 10 of the most popular online optical vendors. In all 200 pairs were ordered, with frame styles chosen in the midrange options for each vendor in varying frame materials, lens styles and prescription. Only 154 pairs of the orders were received. The study then analyzed lenses, including measurement of sphere power, cylinder power and axis, add power (if specified), separation of distance of optical centers and center thickness.

Several pairs were delivered incorrectly such as single vision instead of bifocals or lens treatments were added or omitted. Nearly three out of 10 (29 percent) pairs had at least one lens that failed to meet the required prescription, a problem typically found and corrected when ordered through and delivered by and optometrist. Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of the lens failed impact resistance testing, which highlights a major safety issue. Children’s glasses performed even worse, with 29 percent failing impact testing.

A Closer Look at Ordering Eyeglasses Online

Online shopping certainly offers convenience from the comfort of your home. It also allows you to research what you want while finding the right price to match your budget. That holds true even for eyeglasses.

Armed with a prescription from your optometrist, there is no shortage of websites that now cater to the vision crowd. But be wary, ordering a pair of glasses online is not as easy as purchasing a pair of blue jeans or theater tickets.

Every pair of eyeglasses must be custom-fitted to not just comfortably suit your face but also to meet your particular prescriptive needs. In short, you, your optometrist and your optician must work together in order to ensure a proper fit.

There’s also a lingering question about the quality and safety of prescription eyewear ordered online. In a recent study, researchers discovered that nearly half of all glasses (44.8 percent) ordered online either contained and inaccurate prescription of didn’t meet safety standards designed to protect the eyes.

*American Optometric Association