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You don’t always get what you pay for when buying eyeglasses online

(BPT) – With busy lives and tight budgets, Americans continuously try to find ways to save time and money, which is why online shopping has become so common. However, some purchases are better taken offline to help ensure a person’s health and safety, especially when it comes to your vision.

Purchasing prescription 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 end up costing you more time and money in the long run.

An AOA study published in 2011 with the Optical Laboratories Association and The Vision Council reinforces the drawbacks of online orders. The study revealed:

* 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.

Eyeglasses are an investment in a person’s health and must be custom-fit not only to be comfortable, but also to meet particular prescriptive needs. Before purchasing eyeglasses it’s worthwhile to do some homework and consider the following factors:

The fit and material of the eyeglasses

How eyeglasses fit is critically important. – If the fit is incorrect a patient can experience discomfort, such as pinching, headaches and additional vision problems. Consumers also need to consider the various lens options available, and determine what is best for their particular prescription and lifestyle. Other considerations include the different coatings and treatments available such as non-glare coatings and photochromic lenses.

The accuracy of the prescription

Just because eyeglasses “look right” on a person’s face doesn’t mean the measurements are correct. People need the help of an eye doctor to measure the pupil distance (PD) to determine where to place the center of each lens in eyeglass frames to customize the optics and prescription to each patient’s eyes.

The policies of online retailers

If prescription eyeglasses are ordered online, it’s important to be familiar with the online retailer’s policies, including returns, warrantees, shipping, pricing, insurance and maintenance.

Whether consumers shop on the Internet or use the services of an eye doctor, it’s important to be informed, so you can make the necessary selections and measurements to enhance your vision with a look that fits and provides comfort. For more information regarding the risks associated with purchasing eyeglasses online, visit www.aoa.org.

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