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Purchasing Glasses Online

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Ordering eyeglasses online may seem easy, but it is very different than ordering your average consumer item. It is important to know that optometrists are not only university trained in medical eye care, but also in the proper manufacturing, fitting, measurement, and dispensing of eyewear. When ordering online, the untrained consumer is, in essence, taking on the role of a trained optical dispenser. This includes taking critical measurements and making critical decisions with respect to frame, lens and material selection. There is an inherent risk associated with making these determinations without the proper skills and education. All consumers should be made aware that are a number of factors that go into converting an eyeglass prescription into a quality optical device that provides clear, comfortable vision. These include:
•Proper measurement of your interpupillary distance (PD) at both distance and near focal points. •Accurate measurement of the optical centres (OC) in order to avoid eyestrain and pulling.•Determination of the most appropriate type and index of lenses given your prescription as well as work and lifestyle demands.•Proper education and selection of tints and coatings for your lenses to best suit your lifestyle or work environment.•Appropriate base curve determination to control magnification, especially in cases where there is a difference between the curvatures of your eyes.•Proper selection of frame size, eye size, bridge width, temple length, shape, wrap, material, and overall fit to ensure good comfort and vision with minimal distortion and cosmetically acceptable lens thickness.
When you receive your glasses, a trained optical dispenser should ensure that they have been properly manufactured, are within acceptable tolerance, and fit your face correctly to ensure ideal vision. Poorly manufactured or poorly fitted glasses can cause eye strain, headaches, pulling, and blurred vision. A September 2011 study by a research professor at Pacific University College of Optometry in Oregon found that 44.8% of eyewear ordered online FAILED at least one parameter of optical or impact testing. In addition, 28.6% were out of optical tolerance. The study can be viewed here. As a consumer, you have a number of choices when it comes to purchasing eyewear, including online. Working with your optometrist from the initial eye exam to the final fitting will ensure you receive accurate, quality manufactured eyewear that is best suited for your eyes and your lifestyle. Contact your optometrist for more information regarding your eyewear needs.
by Dr. Wesdon McCann

Written by
Dr. Wes McCann

Dr. McCann earned his two Bachelor of Science degrees (both with honours) at Western University in London, Ontario, before going on to earn his Bachelor of Vision Science, accelerated MBA, and Doctor of Optometry degrees at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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