Tips for buying glasses online

According to YourLifeChoices surveys, around 88 per cent of our audience wear some form of corrective eyewear.

There are some big savings to be had if you can buy your eyewear online, but many people baulk at the prospect or trip up at the early hurdles.

Buying glasses online for the first time can be daunting. Without a bunch of frames in front of you to try on, how do you know which styles will fit or suit your face?

Here are some tips to navigate your way through the process of buying your eyewear online.

Know your prescription
Having to hunt around your house looking for your current prescription is the hurdle that usually stops most people from buying their eyewear online. If you have to go to an optometrist to get your prescription, you will probably fall into the convenience of buying your new spectacles while you are there. If you do make this mistake, at least make sure that you don’t repeat it. Get your optometrist to write down your prescription for both glasses and contact lenses (these will be different) and make sure they include the measurement for your pupillary distance (the distance, in millimetres, between the centres of the pupils of both eyes). Then file the prescription away in a place where you will remember it the next time you need it.

Know your measurements
Here is something you may not know. If you take off your glasses and look at the inside of the arm you will probably see nothing but a blur. But if you have a different pair of glasses handy and your refocus your eyes, you will see that your current set of glasses contains a set of measurements. Knowing these figures will help you find your next pair of glasses online. The numbers usually appear in this order:

  • Lens width (in millimetres)
  • Bridge width (in millimetres)
  • Arm length (in millimetres)

Picking your lenses
If you go in-store to buy your glasses, the salesperson will try and upsell you on various coatings and lenses. The same thing happens online, but it is a little harder to tell what is worth your money and what is just expensive window dressing. While they can be more expensive, progressive lenses for people that wear bifocals or even trifocals can make a significant cosmetic improvement, while also making it easier to see without a line in the middle of your lens. Other good options to investigate are scratch-resistant coatings and photochromic lenses (that change colour in the sun).

Make sure the site is trustworthy
Search for ‘buy glasses online’ and you will get pages of results, and, unfortunately, they will not appear in the order of trustworthiness. Check the online reviews for the store you are interested in and also check the store’s return policy and warranty information. Finally, before you enter your credit card information on any website check that you are entering the information on a secure page (there should be a little lock icon next to the URL in your browser and the web address should start with https instead of http).

Have you ever bought glasses online? How did you find the experience?

Related articles:
Specs that won’t break the bank
All eyes on spectacle subsidies
A trick to see without using glasses

Written by Ben

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