Buying Reading Glasses Online

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

Of course, if all you need is correction for your near vision so you can read, you could try glasses at a drugstore—but don't. You need regular eye exams to make sure your eyes are staying healthy, and since your optometrist or optician will give you a prescription anyway, why not get exactly the correction you need?

Buying glasses for optimum vision correction. There is just one thing you need in addition to your lens prescription for buying the more expensive reading glasses online (with lenses ground to order rather than lenses taken from inventory), and you may have to ask for it to be sure. Make sure you know the distance between your pupils, or PD.

The center of the lens of your reading glasses gives you the best correction. It is absolutely essential to place this part of the lens directly in front of your pupils.

Measuring your PD tells the vendor your use for buying reading glasses online and how to set your lenses in the frames. The lenses must be placed to that distance between the centers of correction of your lenses and the same as your PD.

If you are buying reading glasses online for $20 or less, you may not have the option of entering your PD. Getting really good correction is hit or miss, but for the price, you may be happy with minor distortion in the correction of your vision.

Choosing frames when buying reading glasses online. With this out of the way, the rest of your choices in the processes of purchasing reading eyeglasses online can be time-consuming, but should not be overwhelming.

Most online retailers have vast catalogs of frames. You may even want to buy designer frames by Armani, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Hugo Boss, Valentino, or others.

Choose the frame you think looks best on you, but don't forget that you may need to order spring hinges. These flexible hinges join the earpieces to the rest of the frame in a way that gives muscles in your forehead room to flex. This keeps the earpieces from digging into your temples.

Choosing lenses when buying reading glasses online. Next you need to choose your lenses. If you do your reading on the patio or by the pool, 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.

You may also want polycarbonate lenses for additional protection against shattering. This is particularly important if you use your eyeglasses in a setting with a lot of activity, such as in a school classroom or as a foreman at a construction site.

A comfortable fit. 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.

Looking good. 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.

Again, if you are spending $20 or less purchasing reading glasses online, you won't have this option—but you can always get another pair.

Other options. Some other options in buying reading glasses online?

  • Consider folding readers. These glasses fold to the thickness of a credit card and fit easily in a purse or wallet.
  • Consider half-frames, or Ben Franklin glasses. Holding just the bottom half of the lens in a frame without a top, you have unobstructed (and uncorrected) vision over the small area needed for reading.
  • Need protection from glare? Consider polarized reading sunglasses.
  • Check out return policies before you buy reading glasses online. 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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