optometrist fitting glasses on patient

Buying prescription glasses online can put your vision at risk

What optometrists see time and time again in their practice is now backed up by a scientific study - those who buy prescription glasses online instead of from an optometrist are more likely to regret their purchase. They could also be putting their eye health at risk.

A 2016 UK study published in Optometry & Vision Science, ‘A Comparison of Spectacles Purchased Online and in UK Optometry Practice’, found 79% of trial participants would purchase their next pair of spectacles from an optometrist, even if it was more convenient and cheaper to purchase online.

The study also found that of the glasses deemed unacceptable and unsafe to protecting eye health, significantly more were bought online. The most common negative feedback from those who purchased glasses online was that they did not fit properly.

Glasses are one item you should try on before you buy as every face varies and not all frame shapes suit every face shape. No one wants to end up with ill-fitting and uncomfortable frames that do not suit them.

Worse still is that online prescription glasses use estimated fitting heights or patient-calculated measurements. For example, with progressive lenses the measurement between the centre of the two pupils needs to be spot-on, otherwise vision can be blurred and distorted, increasing the risk of falls and other accidents.

Not only does an optometrist work with the precise measurements, they also know how your prescription strength and weight of your lenses contribute to whether your glasses will be comfortable and look good.

Optometry Australia is particularly concerned that patients purchasing online may also be avoiding regular eye check-ups and using old scripts to re-order glasses.

While over-the-counter magnifiers or online prescription glasses might be convenient, by shirking regular eye check-ups people are missing the opportunity for early detection and treatment of eye disease like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.

As we age, the lens in our eye loses some of its flexibility. As a result, it becomes harder to focus on close objects.

This common condition is called presbyopia. Between the ages of 45 and 65 your prescription is likely to change every two years. While it might be convenient or cheaper to fill an old prescription online, using an inaccurate prescription will only compromise your vision and quality of life.

Find an optometrist in your local area here.

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