Some of you might say “If I can just buy glasses online, why do I need to go to my optician?”
Well… in some ways you’re right. Buying glasses is easier now more than ever. You get your prescription from your optician, go home, find some cheap frames on the internet, insert your lens power and your credit card information and then in just a couple of days you have a pair of glasses at your door and ready to wear. So why would you leave and go to your practice to get your frames?
The answer is simple, and one that we stress throughout our company. Your glasses have to fit.
When you go to a practice to shop for frames, you are dealing with experienced opticians that are trained to help you find the kind of frame that will fit you well, look great on you, and handle your prescription. I can’t tell you how many times friends of mine have bought $15 frames off of a mass market website and couldn’t wait to wear them, only to have them be too small, too big, or just flat out ugly.
Shopping for your frames at a practice also gives you reliability. If you get home and realize your frames are too tight behind your ears, you can take them back up to the optician and have them adjusted. It’s this kind of service that makes optical practices so valuable to our industry.
Chances are, if you get glasses online, you’re going to have to take them up to an optician to get adjusted anyway, which uses their valuable time and is taking advantage of a free service when your cheap frames break or go crooked. Shopping for frames at your practice gives you the opportunity to find good looking frames made with high quality material, as well as frames that fit well and can be adjusted to fit your face right then and there. When you’re filling prescription lenses, an optician will measure your PD, or pupil distance, a measurement which is vital to being able to see well through your lenses and simply cannot be replicated online. Finally, your optician will be able to recommend which types of lenses are best for your vision, which they can only do because they know so much about you as a patient and are able to try different options.
Now, that’s not to say that all online eyewear retailers are bad or are trying to destroy the industry. Purchasing readers and computer lenses online can be quick and easy and a lot of online retailers provide some sort of virtual or trial fittings to make sure you are getting the right pair for your need. However, if you are looking for frames that you will be wearing all the time and have to be filled with your prescription, it’s no question that shopping with an optician is the only way to go.
Next time you go to the optician, take a look around the practice’s frames and talk to your optician about finding the perfect frame for you. You might just be surprised at what you can find.