Skip to Main Content

To Buy Online or Not to Buy Online??


While buying eyeglasses online may be convenient for consumers, AOA warns that it may cost more in the long run. Why? Because incorrectly fitted eyeglasses or inaccurately filled prescriptions  may be what they get if they make that uniformed purchase.

AOA suggests to ODs that they emphasize that purchasing eyeglasses is an investment in a patient’s health. That means it’s important to get the custom fit  not only for comfort, but the patient’s visual needs, which is something that only a doctor of optometry can determine.

“Ultimately, patients can expend more time dealing with order mistakes and making returns than had they simply visited their local optometrist in the first place,” said Samuel D. Pierce, OD, AOA secretary-treasurer.

A 2011 AOA, The Vision Council and Optical Laboratories Association study reinforces the drawbacks of online orders. The study concluded:

  • Of 200 glasses ordered online, only 154 pairs were received
  • 44.8 percent had incorrect prescriptions or safety issues
  • 29 percent had at least one lens fail to meet required prescription
  • 19 percent of adult lenses failed impact resistance testing
  • 25 percent of children’s lenses failed impact resistance testing

While visiting an optometrist is AOA’s first recommendation, if patients are still interested in making a purchase online, it urges consumers to do their homework before making a final decision.

“If a consumer believes that ordering a pair of glasses online is in his/her best interest, it is important for the consumer to be fully informed regarding the potential pitfalls in doing so,” Dr. Pierce said. “The peer-reviewed study revealed that nearly half of all glasses ordered online had either prescription errors or failed to meet minimum safety standards. Personally, I find that very scary. Patients deserve better than that.”