Prescription Eyeglass Lenses

Without accurate optical measurements, your eyeglass lenses cannot be correctly made for your prescription strength.

We always cringe a little (okay – honestly – we cringe a lot) when we see optical websites stating that they can provide quality prescription eyeglass services via a totally online experience. The websites advise patients to take their own optical measurements, such as the pupillary distance (PD), using a magnifying mirror and a ruler. Then comes the first warning, they say that if your head moves or the ruler moves, you won’t get an accurate measurement and then in small print at the bottom of the website page, you can read the final warning:

“Please note that when you measure your own PD by using these techniques you may not get the same result as an experienced professional. We recommend that you use the measurements taken by an optometrist or an optical dispenser whenever possible.”

It seems that we’re not the only ones in our field concerned about these discount online optical retailers…

We read with interest a story in the November 2011, issue of “Optometric Management” that stated that almost half (44.8%) of online-ordered prescription eyeglasses were “deficient” according to a study done by “Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association.” The researchers concluded that:

“. . . Spectacle eyewear ordered without the benefit of a dispensing process can come with significant risk of error in providing the correct type of lenses needed or ordered, the optical parameters that are within acceptable tolerances and the physical parameters that provide sufficient protection to the wearer.”

What the researchers did was order online 200 pairs of adult and children’s prescription eyeglasses from the most popular online vendors. After testing the prescription eyewear received, they found:

  • one in every five eyeglasses had lens treatments that were added or omitted
  • one in every five had lenses with incorrect optical parameters
  • more than one in every five pairs of eyeglasses had lenses that did not correctly pass testing for impact

The study noted that patients who purchase eyewear without the assistance of trained optical professionals may not receive lenses that perform to industry standards for safety and vision correction; and they do not receive the benefit of a trained dispensing optician ensuring an accurate prescription and proper fit of their eyeglasses. So online buyers beware!

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