Buying glasses online – are we blinded by bargains?
In recent years, many have turned to purchasing glasses online to save money. For £10 who wouldn’t be tempted? But is this move short-sighted when it comes to our eye health?
When buying glasses, is there such a thing as a bargain, or do you get what you pay for? Prescription glasses are available online from as little as a tenner so it’s tempting to bag a bargain and avoid the regular check-up with your optician.
Which? members have told us that they’ve had positive experiences buying glasses online. We were happy to hear this but keen to discover if purchasing spectacles online was as accurate as seeing an optometrist in person.
In a recent Which? Investigation, our researchers purchased 36 pairs of glasses online. We sent the glasses off to an expert optometrist to be analysed.
The results were worrying. Ten out of 36 pairs used lenses that did not meet the British standard. We also discovered varifocals made, by some online companies, without vital measurements needed to ensure safety.
Our researcher who was shopping for a more simple prescription (under +/-5) fared better, with eight of her nine pairs passed by our two expert optometrists.
Spotlight on special offers
Many high-street opticians offer special offers galore in the spectacle department. Some basic specs are available for £15 (although be sure to check the small print as this is unlikely to include lens coatings) so what is tempting us to move from the high street to online?
It costs opticians at least £30 to £40 to carry out an eye test. With the NHS in England paying opticians £20.70 per eye test, it’s a loss leader for many. Should opticians be offering knock-down prices on our glasses to tempt us through the doors or should we be paying the true value of the product and service?
We’re used to hitting the internet to buy what we need and we’re savvy shoppers – increasingly looking to get the best deal. Do you buy your glasses or contact lenses online and have you ever worried about the accuracy of what arrives in the post?
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