Purchasing Eyeglasses Online

It's easier to select eyewear with an optician's help, but purchasing eyeglasses online can be just as easy and save you money with just a little advanced planning.

If you plan to buy your next pair of glasses on line, there is one thing you must be sure to ask you optician when you have your exam: Make sure the optician tells you the distance between your pupils, or PD.

The center of the lens of your glasses gives you the best correction of your vision, and it is essential to place this part of the lens directly in front of your pupils.

Measuring your PD tells the maker of your glasses how to set your lenses in the frames so that you have the best possible correction of your vision.

Taking your own PD measurement is a little like cutting your own hair, and even opticians find it difficult to take this measurement in a mirror.

99% of the problems with purchasing eyeglasses online can be avoided if you make sure you have this measurement before you leave the doctor's office.

With this out of the way, the rest of your choices in the processes of purchasing eyeglasses online can be time-consuming, but should not be overwhelming. Most online retailers have vast catalogs of frames.

You should choose the frame you think looks best on you, but don't forget that you may need spring hinges. These flexible hinges joining the earpieces to the rest of the frame can give the muscles in your forehead room to flex so that your frames do not dig into the flesh over your temples and ears.

Next you need to choose your lenses. If you are very nearsighted, with a prescription for –5.00 diopters or more, you may be interested in high-index lenses.

The stronger your lenses, the thicker they need to be to bend light. The extreme thickness of some lenses creates the well known "Coke bottle effect."

Certain modern plastics, however, bend light very effectively even when used in thinner lenses. These high-index lenses are cosmetically pleasing if somewhat more expensive.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you may want a UV-protective coating on your lenses. The more your eyes are exposed to UV light, the more likely you are to develop cataracts. Protective coatings that block at least 95 per cent of UV light will protect your eyes against cataracts.

Any sunglasses you buy must have UV protection, because lack of UV protection in sunglasses makes the problem with UV light even worse. Under the shades your pupils dilate to let in more light, and if there is no UV protection, the eye is exposed to even more UV light.

You may also want polycarbonate lenses for additional protection against shattering. This is particularly important for purchasing eyeglasses online for your children.

Your next step in ordering eyeglasses online is making sure that you get a comfortable fit. You don't want frames that are so loose that you get a headache because you are not looking through the optical center of the lens, and you don't want frames that are so tight that they pinch your temples and your nose.

The best way to get your best fit is select frames in the same size as your current eyeglasses, or to use your hat size as a reference for the frame sizes listed on your site. Not every frame, however, can accommodate lenses of every strength.

Finally, you want to make sure your glasses look great on you. Some sites allow you to upload a photo of yourself and superimpose images of various frames as the next best thing to trying them on in person in the optician's shop.

Online retailers typically offer return policies that are consistent with your doctor's. If there was an issue with the optician's prescription, you will likely be offered new lenses free of charge.

If you made a drastic mistake in sizing your frames despite using the site's size guides, you may also be able to get a replacement. Just be sure to know the return policies of the site before purchasing eyeglasses online.


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