In a fashion retail environment I think there is no denying that online shopping is big business. I am sure pretty much everyone has done some form of online shopping whether it is buying clothes, books or even a new frying pan, it is convenient. We just click a few buttons, put in our credit card details, wait a few days (or less) and the items will be delivered to the front door.

However, online shopping for optical glasses. How do I feel about it? I actually feel a little uneasy if I am honest. Glasses are quite a specialist thing. It is not as easy as send your prescription somewhere and your new glasses will come back as you expect. This is also coming from a personal experience. Back in 2012 I actually thought I would give an online glazing service a try. They sold optical frames too but I already had my frames so I just wanted to glaze them. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

I waited 5 days and got my glasses back. I was excited to try them on, new glasses to wear, yeay! However, I put them on and wow, how disappointed was I? I actually could not see clearly, the lenses just didn’t feel right. After many days of trying to get along with them, I gave up. They gave me a headache in the end. Long story short, the measurements were wrong.

Recently, Which? did a report on this and what did they find? Not good things I have to say but I think that is to be expected. Here is the findings…

“a quarter of glasses failed the tests for the following reasons: because the actual measurements were too far off what was supplied; they didn’t conform to British Standards; or the lenses were loose and could fall out or be easily rotated. Eleven pairs of glasses drew criticism from experts for poor construction – even taking low price into account. Eight pairs had poor-quality lenses that were scratched, loose, warped or positioned badly. Two pairs had issues with nose-pad positioning and two had loose arms”.

ABDO college who train the UK dispensing opticians also responded to this report. ABDO President Clive Marchant FBDO says…

“The Which? report highlights the reasons why patients should not use online companies to purchase spectacles or lenses and that it could cost more money in the long term when things go wrong. Spectacles are first and foremost a medical device to aid patients’ visual needs and if the prescription within the lenses are not correct, or if the spectacles are not fitted correctly then they are not fit for purpose. It is important to speak to a qualified dispensing optician to find the best fitting spectacles and suitable lenses to aid your visual needs. Facial measurements and facial characteristics cannot be measured properly unless you have this done face to face”.

After reading this from ABDO and having had personal experience I feel I need to spread the word to other fellow glasses wearers. I know I talk about glasses a lot from a fashion point of view but the bottom line is, they are a medical necessity. So, why should we compromise on our health just because it is cheaper? Wearing lenses that have the wrong measurements (which I have experienced) can have long term damage too. My advice is, go to your local opticians because they are trained to do their job, to fit our glasses and to make sure we can see out of them correctly, which lets face it, is the whole point of wearing glasses.