Buying Glasses: Local or Online?

Published on
November 22, 2022

This blog is about buying glasses online. In today's world, getting things online is easier than ever before. It's nice to have something delivered straight to your door. But there are several factors that should be taken into consideration before ordering glasses online.


Is buying glasses online a good idea for everyone?

The short answer is no, buying online may sound appealing, but it is important to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of the decision before you do.  


Why shouldn’t you buy glasses online?

While buying glasses online sounds like a great solution, oftentimes it is not the best decision for your vision and your health. 


Why shouldn’t you buy online if you have a complicated prescription? 

If you have a more complicated prescription, such as progressive glasses or bifocals, you should not buy your glasses online. This is simply because most of those glasses require certain measurements to make sure they fit right, and to be able to tell exactly where the reading portion starts and where the distance portion starts. When you order online for those, it's harder to get them exactly right. While some patients may have good success with it, others may not. An optician can't remake the lenses for you and you have to deal with online retailers. That makes troubleshooting a little more difficult. Every company has a different return policy or redo policy, so that's something to consider.


You can’t try on frames when buying online

Additionally, trying on the frames in person is very important, since everyone's face and head shapes are different, so the frames fit differently. Several retailers now offer virtual tryouts, which are more convenient than just looking at a picture and making a decision, however that is not the same as trying it online. It is always a good idea to try on the glasses in person in order to decide if you like them or not, and you can also seek the advice of an optician or optometrist if you need it.


Getting guidance from an optician

Buying glasses is both a health and fashion decision, and oftentimes an optician’s insight into the latest styles and designs can improve both. When buying online you lose out on the expertise and personal touch that comes with having an optician guide you through the process. 

Another thing that is hard to navigate is understanding what lens coatings are right for you. Online retailers tend to push the maximum coatings, however it is important to understand what lens treatments will be important for your lifestyle. Do you really need blue light protection? What about scratch resistant coating? How about anti-reflection? Should you consider transition lenses? These are all important questions that can dramatically improve your day to day vision, they are also an investment, and a great optician can really help you navigate all those decisions. 


When is buying glasses online the right decision? 

If you have a simpler prescription and simpler visual needs than other patients, this could be a good option for you. For example if you only need glasses for distance and your prescription isn't very complicated, buying glasses online might be a good option. Online glasses can be a good option for certain patients, but you should determine what your prescription is and what your needs are before you make a decision.


Are online prescriptions safe?

Online prescriptions, or getting your eyes examined online is a very bad idea. Not only is it a bad idea for getting your prescription because the measurements taken online do not match the state of the art technology and expertise at an eye doctor's office. The tests we perform in person in order to get you the right prescription cannot be simulated online. More importantly, an online eye exam is not the same as a comprehensive eye exam done at our office in Olympia. Our experienced eye doctors at American Family Vision Clinic will check your visual acuity, binocularity, depth perception, peripheral vision, eye health and other eye conditions during a comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam is not just about getting an updated prescription and buying glasses, it is also critical for ensuring the health and comfort of your eyes and the optimal function of your vision. Patients visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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