How to Successfully Buy Eyeglasses Online

The purchasing of eyeglasses on the Internet has never become popular. I believe this is true because
there are buyer misconceptions about the online ordering of eyeglasses. Some feel that quality of online glasses is low, the fitting of glasses is impossible online, and that fitting is always a necessary “face to face” procedure – however I have not found these concerns to be true. A good eyeglass site will lead you through the process of proper measurement so that your new eyeglasses will fit fine when you get them – and I cannot see any quality difference. But, the ordering of online glasses can be a little tricky, and some websites make it easier than do others. However, if you can get past this hurdle, huge savings can be realized – often as much as 80% or more, depending on your usual vendor. Give it a try – the risk is minimal, and the potential reward great!


Things You’ll Need:
Your most recent eyeglass prescription

1 Yes, you will need an eyeglass prescription to order your new glasses – it is your right to receive a copy of your prescription when you have an eye exam. However, you will not be sending it off anywhere – instead, you will have to transfer the info from your prescription to the order form. And depending on what type of glasses you are getting, you will have to do a bit of simple math to those numbers to assure you get the proper lenses. Unfortunately, the information on an eyeglass prescription can be written in a variety of ways, and this adds to the confusion of ordering online. But the online eyeglass vendors do a good job of leading you through this confusion and helping you understand the process – and I’ll try to introduce you to the terms and abbreviations you will be dealing with in that process.

2 All eyeglass prescriptions will contain written values for “Dist” (your needed distance correction), and “Add” (your needed reading correction). These will usually be noted for each eye (R and L) with a + or – number. These are, of course, your most important prescription numbers.

3 You will also see on your prescription the terms, “Cyl” and “Axis”. If there are written numbers in those blanks, it means you have an astigmatism, an irregularity in the shape of the eye, which causes shape distortion in the viewed image. If instead, you have “sph” written in these blanks, it means simply that you do not have an astigmatism, and that no correction is needed.

4 Hopefully, your prescription will contain a written number for “PD” (pupillary distance). It’s used to position the optical center of the lens so that you will be able to easily see through the lens, and to center the correction in front of the pupil of your eye, in the eyeglasses. This measurement is important to the proper fit of your glasses, and to position the glasses properly on your face. However, it is often not included on an eyeglass prescription, either because it makes alternative purchasing of eyeglasses difficult, or, as my eye doc explains it to me, this measurement is better done by the tech doing personal fitting than the more “imprecise” measure done during an eye exam. With all due respect to my doc, I lean toward the former rational. If it is not on your prescription, by all means, call the doctor’s office and request the PD.

5 Your prescription may contain a written value for “BCVA” (best corrected visual acuity). Although you will not be using this value in the ordering of your glasses, it is an interesting bit of information, none the less – essentially, it is an indication of the degree of total correction which can be made by your new eyeglasses. For instance, if your BCVA is 20/20, then your new glasses will correct your vision to normal. If your BCVA is not 20/20, it means that your new glasses will improve, but not perfect, your vision.

6 I suggest you visit the website, Eyeglass Retailer (see link below in Resources) for a very objective analysis of some of the best places on the Internet where you can get eyeglasses. They also have links to each site they review, as well as customer reviews of those sites as well. Personally, I have used Zenni Optical (in California) to purchase several pairs of glasses, and have been more than satisfied with the results – quality and workmanship were easily as high as any of my recent local eyeglasses.

Tips & Warnings
Make sure you understand the ordering instructions of the website you are using – and if you have a question, do not hesitate to either call or email them for clarification.

If you are uncomfortable with the ordering procedure, and you request that you fax your prescription, and let them fill out your order form, be prepared for a NO answer – the reason why their prices are so low is that they are not investing the time it would take to work from the prescription.

DO NOT try to order eyeglasses if you do not have an eyeglass prescription – it is impossible to simply guess at your proper prescription – don’t even try.

Ordering eyeglasses online is not for everyone – it can be a confusing process, and some buyers are only comfortable with the personal service of a local facility.

If you have an especially complex prescription, you’ll probably do well to avoid an online provider – and in fact, they may well suggest that you look elsewhere – online providers specialize in the ordinary, and that is what they do best..