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Let the Buyer Beware: A Closer Look at Ordering Eyeglasses Online

SOURCE: http://www.aoa.org/newsroom/let-the-buyer-beware-a-closer-look-at-ordering-eyeglasses-online

American Optometric Association strongly advises purchasing from your local optometrist

ST. LOUIS (Aug. 7, 2014)—Purchasing eyeglasses online may offer convenience to consumers, but the American Optometric Association (AOA) warns that the consequences of making an incorrect or uninformed purchase could cost patients more time and money in the long run. 

The AOA stresses that eyeglasses are an investment in your health and must be custom-fitted not only to be comfortable, but also to meet particular prescriptive needs, which only an eye doctor can determine.  

"Without visiting an eye doctor, patients run the risk of purchasing eyeglasses online with an improper fit or receiving the wrong prescription altogether," said Samuel D. Pierce, O.D., member of the AOA Board of Trustees and AOA spokesperson. "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." 

An AOA study published in 2011 with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council 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; and,
  • 25 percent of children's lenses failed impact resistance testing.

Purchasing eyeglasses from a local optometrist is the AOA's first and foremost recommendation, but if patients are still interested in making a purchase online, the AOA warns consumers to do their homework before making a final decision.

"If a consumer believes that ordering a pair of glasses online is in their 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."

The AOA advises patients to consider the following factors before making a purchase online:

The fit and material of the eyeglasses

How the eyeglasses fit is critically important - if the fit is incorrect, not only can a patient experience discomfort, such as pinching and headaches, but can also cause additional vision problems. Consumers also need to consider the various options available for the lenses, and what is best for their particular prescription and lifestyle.

Lenses come in various materials, such as traditional plastic, as well as thinner, lighter materials. Other considerations are the different coatings and treatments available such as non-glare coatings and photochromic lenses. 

The accuracy of the prescription

Just because the eyeglasses "look right" on a person's face doesn't mean the measurements are correct, the AOA warns. Pupil distance (PD) determines where to place the center of each lens in your frames to customize the optics to your eyes. This measurement is necessary to ensure the eyeglasses serve your vision needs properly.  

Consumers need an optometrist to provide the PD and ensure precise measurements. However, the PD is not part of your prescription and not normally provided unless you ask for it. Your optometrist or optician can even legitimately charge for the service of providing your PD. The measurements needed for multifocals can only be accurately made once the frame is selected and properly fitted to your face, so typically this measurement is simply estimated for eyeglasses available online.

The retailer's policies on purchases

  • Returns: What is the website's return policy if you are not satisfied with your purchase? How will the website deal with issues of prescription inaccuracies or other mistakes (wrong lenses coatings, wrong color, etc)? 
  • Warrantees: Does the online retailer offers protection against lens scratching, how long this may be covered and what needs to be done to replace scratched lenses. How long is the frame warranty? What about children's frames?
  • Shipping: The cost and timeliness of shipments varies. Who pays for shipping returns?
  • Pricing: Are protective eyeglass cases and cleaning cloths included, or are they "extras" added to the cost? Insurance: Some websites do not accept vision insurance. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), check to see what's required to accept this as payment.
  • Maintenance: Some websites provide a contact for this and may offer online tips for minor adjustments, but it might mean shipping your glasses away and being without them until the service is completed and they are returned.

For more in-depth detail about factors to consider before purchasing eyeglasses online, click here to read a brochure offered by the AOA. 

As the leaders of primary eye care in the United States, doctors of optometry are crucial in helping patients achieve optimum eye health and vision, and are the best resource to offer the highest quality eyeglasses. To learn more about eye care and find an eye doctor near you, visit www.aoa.org

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):

The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit www.aoa.org.




Dr. Shaffin Gulamhusein or “Shaff” as he’s known to his patients has been practicing optometry in London, Ontario since 2001. He graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology from the University of Toronto in 1996 and received his Doctor of Optometry from The New England College of Optometry, Boston Massachusetts in 2000. As part of his extensive clinical training, he spent time at Aran Eye Associates Ophthalmology Group in Miami, Florida and The Brooke Army Medical Centre in San Antonio, Texas. He is board certified in both Canada and the United States of America to practice Optometry. He holds licenses in both Ontario and New York State where he fine-tuned his clinical skills for one year before returning back home.

Dr. Shaff has comprehensive knowledge and training in ocular disease detection and management and he is fully trained in prescribing therapeutics for eye conditions and diseases. He spent some time working at The Laser Center in London, Ontario and is able and qualified to perform consultation and pre- and post-operative care for patients with refractive laser eye surgery. He has also completed specialty training in Low Vision, Contact Lenses, and Pediatrics in his tenure.

Dr. Shaff’s passion is providing eye care to the underprivileged in areas all over the world. He has been to countries such as India, Thailand, Philippines, Tanzania, El Salvador, Mexico, and most recently Peru, to help the less fortunate.

In his continuing efforts to provide his patients with the most dedicated service and highest standard in eye care, Dr. Shaff wanted to move his location to the Eye Care Studio, with Dr. Jason Morris to provide full scope optometry. The visual needs and wellness of his patients has always been Dr. Shaff’s top priority. He is committed to honoring the trust you've placed in him and in our clinical facility.
 

Welcome to Studio Eye Care
John Lennox !

John's BIO

I am excited to be part of the Studio Eye Care family!

In 1993, I started work in an optical lab.  I enjoyed the technology and precision of making prescription eyeglass lenses.  That early experience sparked my interest in becoming an optician and I have continued to add to that practical, hands-on knowledge.

New digital technology lenses allow for increasing customizable experience for patients.  We have an unhurried environment here at Studio Eye Care and this allows me to focus on the right lens design for the each, individual patient's needs.

Most people think that I'm new at the office, but have been with Dr. Morris for five years filling in Tuesday evenings. Prior to joining Studio Eye Care full time, I worked for several London Optometry practices, independent optician stores and chain optician stores.

My interests include: renovations, running, reading, time with family and friends, and lately driving a motorcycle!

I look forward to meet you!

Georgian College Honors Optician Program 1996
Brock University BA 1991
Registered Ontario College of Opticians
Member of Ontario Association of Opticians
Member of Canadian Association of Opticians

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"What is included in an eye exam?" and "Why do costs for exams vary?" are common questions...

There is a core set of regulated assessments that represent a complete eye exam however every office will have different people, instrumentation, processes and facilities to make the experience unique.
Optometry offices independently set a base fee for assessment and then will recommend additional tests based on patient needs.
Example:  John is 52 years old, wears contact lenses for hockey and is at risk to develop glaucoma because of family history and exam findings.  His base eye exam covers his eyeglass prescription and basic health assessment but not his contact lens assessment/prescription or secondary glaucoma evaluation.  

One of the differences at Vision Source London is "At our office, almost all testing is done with the Optometrist.  I rarely delegate assessments as I like to keep the learning and conversation going throughout the entire assessment.  I strongly believe that this enhances our patients' understanding, comfort and eye care experience through increasing time with the doctor"

Please call (519-681-3670) or use the chat box (bottom right on screen) to schedule a Vision Source Experience.

Vision Source also offers Private Eye Care

Dr Jason Morris

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