Prescription glasses are one of those purchases many of us prefer to make in store – often in the optician’s office right after we’ve updated our prescription. But online shopping for glasses and sunglasses has improved so much in recent years that many people are heading to the internet to find the best deals on the trendiest designer prescription glasses. Online shops usually have the lowest prices because they can buy stock in bulk and don’t have to pay for a premium spot on the high street to get customers. But it can be very tricky to buy glasses online, as there are so many different things to consider and there are terms and additional options that newcomers may not understand. So, in preparation for writing this article, I’ve asked for some advice from Red Hot Sunglasses – one of the UK’s top online eyewear companies. RHS sent over some tips and I’ve tried to incorporate a few of them into this article. So, read on for five tips to buying prescription glasses online…
Tip 1: Choose the right frames for your prescription
Choosing frames online gives you a lot of choice, usually getting the top designer frames at heavily discounted prices. This is definitely a bonus, but you also have to be sure that the frames are practical and serve your purposes.
One thing to watch out for is that larger frames will require much thinner, more expensive lenses. So this isn’t a problem if you have a bigger budget, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
If your prescription is over +5.00, then be very careful when selecting a rimless frame, as it may be in danger of cracking. The shape of some frames goes better with some prescription lenses, so make sure to ask your optometrist about your particular prescription and if there are any frame shapes or sizes you should avoid. You can always get as much advice from your optometrist and then use their advice when you shop online.
Tip 2: Understand the various types of lenses
Obviously, there are different kinds of lenses for different prescriptions and optical problems. There are also special lenses to solve specific day-to-day problems.
Enhanced reading glasses, are designed to work at two different reading distances, such reading your book up close, or text on a computer screen a little further away. Varifocal lenses combine even bigger distances together in one lens, so one part of the lens may help you read up close, and another part may help you see things a medium distance away. Single-vision lenses only have one prescription in the lens.
Think about how you wear your glasses, what you need them for, and if you require a slightly more specialised lens.
Tip 3: Choose the right lens material
Glass has the best refractive properties, so it is perhaps the best choice for a prescription lens. But it is also prone to cracking or shattering in a way that other lenses are not. So if you expect to put your glasses through the wars, then it’s perhaps a good idea to choose a material other than glass. The top alternatives are plastic, polycarbonate, and Trivex. All of these materials can be engineered so that they are high index – which just means that they are thinner and serve as a glasses lens. Plastic, polycarbonate, and Trivex are all tougher and lighter than glass. If you’re choosing very thin lenses or rimless lenses, then Trivex is pretty much essential.
Tip 4: Choose a suitable coating or treatment for your lenses
It’s pretty standard for lenses to come with a scratch-resistant coating. But don’t assume this either. Make sure that you read the fine print on the product description when shopping online; all trustworthy online retailers will have detailed product descriptions. And if you don’t understand a product description, don’t be afraid to call up or email the seller to ask about it.
Another coating is oleophobic, which makes your lenses anti-smudge. Oleophobic coating is particularly useful if your lenses have an anti-reflective coating, as this can make any smudges on your lenses especially noticeable.
It’s also a great idea to opt for a UV coating that blocks out harmful UV rays. The best coatings will filter out a lot of UV radiation without having to darken the lenses. However, some materials already filter out UV rays, such as polycarbonate and Trivex.
You can also opt for a multi-coat that has a combination of effects, such as UV protection, anti-reflective, oleophobic, anti-scratch and water resistant.
Tip 5: Make a fully-informed decision before you buy
The biggest piece of advice is for you to make a fully-informed, research-led decision before you buy your prescription glasses online. Whilst all of the best online retailers offer money-back returns on their glasses and sunglasses, none of these policies apply to prescription lenses. This is because the lenses have to be prepared especially for you, as per your order. So make sure you’ve weighed up all of the points mentioned in this article before you get to the online checkout. Shopping online for prescription glasses can save you massive amounts of money, but only if you are smart about it. For more advice, check out Which’s opticians section on their website; they consult experts and provide a lot of very useful information.