/ Health, Shopping

Buying glasses online – are we blinded by bargains?

Optician conducting an eye examination

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.

Optical illusion

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?

Useful links

Which? members can read our glasses investigation (PDF)

Comments

I have read the related report in the current Which? magazine. It mentions that poor glasses could be a safety issue when driving or using stairs.

Online suppliers of glasses are taking on the role of dispensing opticians, but how can they hope to perform a satisfactory job without contact with their clients?

D Turner says:
29 May 2012

A few years ago my wife & I both had new prescription glasses from Cyprus whist on holiday for a week. A smart shop in Paphos with stylish & apparently knowledgeable people serving us. Prices about 3/4 what we would pay in UK at Boots or Specsavers. At first we were pleased with our purchase but soon realised they had messed up our prescriptions – reversed the left & right eye corrections for my wife for example.

We like like Cyprus but don’t trust their opticians!

melissamcintosh says:
21 February 2014

I use an online company on a regular basis as I have a high prescription and im always misplacing my glasses, I supply all the information that is required of me, so the company can make up my prescription accordingly. Eyewearglasses.co.uk are the best and though company I have used including high street companies.They actually care and ask all the right question, defiantly a thumbs up from me!!!

andy says:
29 May 2012

I’m biased as I own an opticians, A pair of spectacles is a complicated piece of engineering designed to bend and focus light on a specific point on the retina..does the measuring up for that sound like a DIY job?
And are we surprised that some of these products didn’t meet British standards? not at all, most of the companies making them don’t have to adhere to professional guidelines as they aren’t professionals. not being a registered professional means the governing legislative bodies can’t touch them. you can’t strike someone off a register if their not on it.
Luckily the majority of the British public still understand that a complicated optical device made for less than a haircut is likely to be….well lets just say buyer beware.

D Martin says:
24 July 2014

You said it yourself, you are biased. Majority of people who make and fit your lenses into frames are not ‘registered professionals’ so if somebody can input their information correctly everything will run smoothly.
Realistically, your only real argument would be that these people who order glasses online don’t have the personal touch of having a ‘registered professional’ fit the frame, although, with many ‘do it yourself’ tips appearing everywhere even that excuse is fading.

[This comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Tom Butrns says:
25 November 2014

Tend to agree with writers view but last word, last paragraph inappropriate and offensive

ian mcleish says:
28 November 2014

No- disagree. I am a registered optometrist, struggling to pay a mortgage. Having my own business has opened my eyes to the fact that I (personally) cannot mark up things higher than the shop next door which sells jeans and sweaters. Poor me you may think, but remember that the clothing shop does not need to spend 40 minutes measuring you for a sale- you try those jeans on yourself. It is a very unfortunate fact that opticians do not make money testing eyes, we are perhaps the only “profession” which must supplement income from our primary job (testing eyes and referring those with disease) by sales of spectacles.

Everyone thinks Opticians are loaded and ripping everyone off, but I personally think I provide an excellent eye examination, for which I may sometimes be paid by the government (in Ireland) €22.51. Now 8hrs, 40 minutes per test equals 12 tests per day- 250 to 300 euros. Without rent, rates, staff costs, heating, telephone and all the other expenses (equipment is not cheap), that perhaps could be a reasonable wage, but in comparison, GPs in Ireland charge approximately €50, perhaps for 6 to 7 minutes of their time.

I honestly think that the only way forward is the “stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap” model favoured by “Britains favourite optician”. I know that “Ireland’s favourite optician” (same one), on average takes 12 minutes to do an eye test- 4 per hour, plus one walk-in. It can’t be done properly in that timespan (IMHO).

People who buy online will have to eventually realise that their subsidised eye examinations cannot last forever, and the price must accordingly increase- I personally wish it would- I really think the american model, where fees are much higher but spectacles may be cheaper (many optometrists just issue a prescription, and do not sell glasses), is a fairer model- those who buy online and those who do not require spectacles would no longer be subsidised (by sales) by those who do need glasses and do not buy online.

the one thing you can’t do due to the laws of physics is measure your own pd in front of a mirror, I’m not going to explain why, however it just proves you don’t have as clue about the subject. There’s not really any need to swear either. However I’m guessing it’s the last resort of a challenged intellect. I could explain but you would have to put down your copy of the Beano for 2 hours to get it.

Phil Batham says:
1 June 2012

I see it from both side here, being an Optician myself and with years of high street experience decided to set up a website offering reglaze services only, not the sellig of frames at all. We can and will only reglaze glasses with the correct prescription, p.d’s and fitting heights. We buy from the same suppliers as the high street and are governed by the same legistlation. It’s such a shame that the setting up of a online optical website can be done with little or no knowledge of the product or the potential pitfalls for both the customer and the business itself. What we do is just as professional as it was when I operated on the high street. So we must be careful of assuming that all online optical retailers are uncareing and unprofessional, as we as a business take great steps to offer the exact opposite!

JUDITH WANLISS-ORLEBAR says:
23 April 2014

I would like to have my old glasses reglazed but Boots refused to give me my P.D. unless I ordered a new pair of glasses from them.
I have since been to Specsavers who said that I did not need new glasses at the moment.
They would charge me £39 for reglazing.
Dolland & Aitchison once quoted me £120 for reglazing!
I’ll go back to Specsavers, I think.

Phillip says:
4 June 2012

I’m an optician, I have worked in the online sector as well as the offline sector in senior management positions for many years. The problem with this report is it doesn’t feel impartial.
It suggests that you are unlikely to get a refund if something is wrong online and implies that you will get a refund of you visit a high street optician. In my experience the high street optician (especially chains) will do absolutely anything to avoid giving you a refund. The law is very clear that if you are supplied something incorrectly then it has to be corrected or refunded (online or bricks & mortar) by the retailer. For bespoke distance sales (e.g. online, phone & mail-order of prescription glasses) you generally do not have the legal right return them if you have changed your mind or ordered incorrectly and I do not believe this to be any different to the law around high street sales. In my experience all the big online retailers are very upfront about their policies around this and most offer a full ‘no quibble’ policy where you can return for any reason within a couple of weeks.
There is plenty more that I could talk about here but online sales are here to stay and the sooner the industry accepts this the better. The industry has spent the last 10 years complaining about online while sticking its head in the sand. Better regulation isn’t the answer, the answer is for the high street to compete (not just on price) and remember, online retailers MUST send their customers to a high street optician for a sight test before they can supply them. If a high street optician has an engaged customer in their store for a sight test, more fool them if they cannot sell them a pair of glasses.

Ian McLeish says:
5 June 2012

I’m an optometrist, and would love to be able to reduce the prices of my spectacles, but the only way this could be done would be to increase the fees charged for contact lens fittings, check-ups and eye examinations. How can opticians increase their fees to cover their costs ( REPEAT COVER THEIR COSTS!!!!, as the article stated) while the government continues to pay well below the market rate for their services? I live in Ireland, yes things are bad over here, but I receive €22.51 to conduct a government funded eye test. How can I charge a private patient 50 or more for the same service? And should opticians have two prices on the spectacles- one for the patient who received a government funded eye test done at a huge loss, and the other price for those who paid a fair amount for the test?
It is government penny pinching that inflates the price of spectacles- we have to recoup our costs somehow- every business exists to make a profit after all, and private clients subsidise government clients, but worse, spectacle wearers subsidise non spectacle wearers- and that hardly seems fair at all, now does it.
Yes, online is cheaper, as are unqualified specs shops, which do not have to cross subsidise the costs of eye examinations. Unfortunately this meddling in the fees for a test have taken optometry out of being a profession- what other profession has to try to sell something to pay for it’s primary function? None.
The American system, where eye examinations are much more expensive (but often covered at least partially by health insurance) is a far better, fairer way for all, but unless the government is willing to increase its fees to a reasonable level, the only way this could be achieved would be to cease doing state funded work. Unfortunately, no optometrist could afford to do this (unless they are Harley Street based or something similar).

I would be happier to pay a fair cost for a test, which might decrease the risk of being sold new spectacles I do not need because there is little or no difference in the prescription. With many qualifying for free eye tests, I can see that this is not a practical solution. Optometrists should be pushing the government for a fair system, and I apologise if this is already happening.

I have been surprised to find out how good specsavers are. Recently, my wife purchaed two new pais of bifocal reading glasses (2 for 1 offer). She thought the second pair might be useful if she misplaced the first), But on receiving the glasses, one pair of frames did not suit her too well, she mentioned this whilst having her glasses adjusted and Specsavers staff agreed with her that the frame did not suit her face and insisted that she chose another frame at no cost. My wife argued that as this was the free pair that was wrong she shouldn’t do this, but the staff insisted and 10 days later her new glasses arrived at no charge. She chose the frame, Specsavers (Ross-on-Wye) went over and above what one expected from them. Of course we will use them again.

gillian says:
8 June 2012

My opticians in Barton-le-clay never try to sell you glasses if there is no change in the prescription.
They would rather have you trust them to do what is best for you than just to make money.

Phillip says:
8 June 2012

Raising the price of NHS sight testing or charging more for eye-care isn’t a panacea for opticians. What opticians need to do is stop waiting for customers to come to them and start marketing their businesses. Use email, social networking, local events (networking, promotions, partnerships with other businesses), newspaper/local press advertising and radio advertising for example. In my experience, most opticians do nothing to market their business except send a reminder letter after 2 years. Independent opticians need to get more new customers into their business and forget about online competing with then, it’s Specsavers, Boots, Vision Express, Asda and Tesco that affect them because those businesses spend time & money on marketing.

Online eyewear accounts for at most 2% of all glasses sold in the UK it is still too small for any single UK optician to notice it’s effect. Also, as I mentioned before, online customers MUST come to an optician for a sight test first. An optician will have every single online customer sitting in their chair first so it’s actually easier for a customer to choose glasses (that they can try on, in person), get tailored advice (from a professional, in person) and have a physical point of contact & trust. Opticians have a really good chance of selling their sight test customers a pair of glasses and price isn’t everything.

Regarding sight test fees. An optometrist earns about £250 a day and a busy practice should be able to carry out 18 to 24 sight tests in a day (8 hours of work divided by up to 3 tests an hour). That works out to £10.50 to £13.80 payroll per test plus a small amount of overhead for making and processing appointments. Yes there is some significant capital cost for equipment (maybe £30,000) but if you amortise that across 2 years (working 5 days a week) that’s less than £60 per day of cost (it’s till small if you double that cost). The cost of premises, power, phones, etc is a sunk cost, you would still need it even if you didn’t test sight. If an optician charges £20 or more for a test, I’d hazard they are at least break even. If an optician isn’t testing close to 18 people a day then they they aren’t marketing their business.

Yusef says:
10 June 2012

The cost to the Business of a sight examination is fairly cast in stone depending on each practice, this is as a result of very complicated individual agreements with the Inland Revenue, that each practice must go through. The reason for this is to justify a Proportional VAT agreement. The Revenue fight a tough battle but the agreed cost of a sight exam to a business will range from around £48 for a provincial low rent site and can rise to over £128 for our central city premium rent site. the higher value will also be for a slightly longer test. I manage a small group of 4 practices and if I could have all consulting rooms testing 18 people a day 5 days a week I would be a happy man. And we market heavily, we just dont do free tests like the guys up the road.

Katie says:
7 August 2012

Philip, you are incorrect in almost every statement that you make!

As an Optometrist myself who predominately runs a hospital department, but also works in independent practice, I would love to be earning £250 a day!

Yes an unethical practice may be able to perform 18-24 sight tests a day but Optometrists such as myself perform far less than this as I like to spend time with my patients and conduct all the tests required. (which cannot be done testing that many patients). It has been proven that if you test too many people the dispensing rate and spend per visit reduces due to patients feeling they were on a conveyor belt and not having the time they require to discuss options fully.

The independent practice in which work is busy and doesn’t need to advertise. Why? because our patients have continuity of care, and face no selling tactics, they recommend their friends and family by word of mouth. If you heavily market and advertise special offers etc you only attract fickle patients, purely driven by price, who will likely have no practice loyalty and will go to whichever practice is the cheapest for their test each year.

In your innaccurate calculations you fail to account for the Dispensing Opticians wages, support staff, the correct cost of equipment etc. Many, informed studies have shown that when you take into account all the factors (which you have failed to do) including wages, equipment, rent, rates etc. Then the average practice costs around £50-£60 per hour to run.

The NHS sight test fee for years and years has nowhere near covered the cost of providing a sight test but the blame must also go to the multiples with their “Free sight test” or “£10 sight test offers” which is devaluing the profession. Also if Optometrists showed a bit of solidarity, took a stand and refused to work for the immoral, commercially driven practices, then the profession would be in a much better position!

Lex says:
9 June 2012

Isn’t it odd when all the comments come from the opticians and not the consumers? Opticians are the only medical profession allowed to sell their services and the related equipment. Doctors don’t sell drugs. I agree we should pay properly for their professional services (eye tests, prescriptions). I do not agree that the market for contact lenses and spectacles should be run by a “closed shop”. So split the sale of product from the provision of services – and provide mechanisms which make cooperation between the two mandatory. So come on, you optometrists, start behaving like a profession and not like greedy shop-keepers, and I’ll start to give you the respect you might otherwise properly deserve.

As an additional comment, I would add that my prescription has not changed for 15 years. I am obliged by the thieves at the GOC to get a test for my lenses every year. So would I be tempted to buy so called illegally – and incidentally save myself a great deal of time and money? Of course I would. And clear all commercial interests from the boards and committees at the GOC (e.g. Boots Opticians, Specsavers etc) if it is to have any authority.

Ian McLeish says:
18 June 2012

I reckon if you look at the composition of the GOC, you will see that there is little or no influence from opticians on them. In your situation (15yrs unchanged prescription) it might seem unfair that we live in a nanny state where you are forced to have a test. This is the LAW, and opticians have to abide by it, whether they agree or not. However, just last week a report published shows that when the Scottish government introduced free eye examinations for all 6 years ago, it saved 440million per year, by detecting eye disease earlier. So maybe that eye test isn’t so much of a rip off after all?

Phillip says:
18 June 2012

I strongly disagree with Ian about the GOC having little or no influence from opticians. They have improved dramatically over the last few years but qualified opticians and the big chains (Specsavers & Boots for example) have an incredibly strong voice (and employees) on that committee.
Regarding having an eye test every couple of years even though the prescription has changed, don’t just do this because it’s the law, do it because it could save your sight, many ocular diseases don’t show symptoms until it’s almost too late.

Andy says:
10 June 2012

Anyone can sell anything related to Optical goods in the UK. they just have to do it correctly and legally. Internet retailers don’t want to do it legally as it’s expensive to get good trained staff, so instead the deflect the arguement and moan and winge about how the mean GOC are and how the Opticians aren’t playing fair.
If you want cheap glasses then Tesco do a pair for £10 and they do it legally.
Professionals in the UK have to abide to an act of Parliament called the Opticians act. If a professional gets the PD’s wrong or sells contact lenses without a valid prescription they stand every chance of being struck off or fined heavily. This is for the best interests of the health of the patient. This is law and the internet retailers are in the majority of cases breaking the law (see recent Which report on illegal contact lens sales) The GOC are not ‘thieves’ they just implement an act of parliament.
If we want change’s to law then we need to petition for change, I have a few things I would add to the list myself but while I’m constained by the law I will operate within the confines of the law that’s just who I and most of the country behave.
Right, it’s now a glorious Sunday so I’m off for a bike ride, and if I get caught doing more that 70 then I’m not going to be daft enough to write to Which saying how terrible it is that the ‘thieves’ at the police force want to fine me just because I broke a law.

Lex says:
10 June 2012

Andy, I suspect you are an optometrist and such have an undeclared interest. I don’t think you are a bad person – and I respect your profession. But my comments stand:

a. Opticians are commercially driven and have too great a conflict of interest between commercial and professional work.
b. The GOC is overly represented by the same (big business) commercial interests and cannot be expected to represent the interest of consumers.

I would love to see you all rewarded properly for your professional training. In the mean time, I refuse to be insulted by your aggressive oligolopical practices. I don’t use “illegal” sites btw (by which I presume you mean cheap) – but I have no reason not to do so, provided they provide exactly the same lenses that my opticians fit.

Enjoy your bicycle ride!

andy says:
10 June 2012

Thanks Lex, your right I’m not a bad person,but i do mean illegal as in breaching the law not cheap. It’s a fairly fundamental difference. And no I’m not an Optometrist though I have declared my interest in prior comments if you read back to May 29th.
Debate on these issues is important and knowing the perspective of the person contributing is always incredibly usefull. I’m guessing that your connected with an online retail organisation as your clearly very knowledgable about the industry and clearly not an optometrist. It would be usefull to the readers of these posts to understand your so far hidden personal perspective.

And whats an oligolopical practice. I’ve wiki’d it and im still not sure if I’ve been insulted!

Lex says:
10 June 2012

🙂 I’m afraid I’m just a consumer, with the most expensive lens specification on earth. Freq Xcel Toric XR. But a knowledgeable one – thanks to Which!

andy says:
10 June 2012

Lex, If your in Freq Xcel Toric XR you have a very complicated prescription and I would suggest a modicum of respect for the greedy shopkeepers is due. I’m interested in how much you feel would be a fair charge for a fitting of that particular lens. £40 £60 £100 £120 ?
When it comes to glasses on line the knowledge imparted by Which that you quote says that there is at least a 30% chance that internet retailers are incapable of getting it right. Sorry but doesn’t that make our case?

Lex says:
11 June 2012

I would happily pay £50 for a fitting (possibly more). I also think that’s a reasonable price for a check-up. But I do object to an annual check-up requirement – I would say I’m a pretty good judge of whether my eyes need a change.

Back to the legality piece and your comments on Acts of Parliament. Bad laws encourage illegal behaviour – and that’s what you see with people cutting corners.

Agree on glasses that online presents challenge – but understand from other forums this relates to absence of inter-ocular distance on prescription. I cannot see how anyone could get a contact lens prescription wrong (online or offline).

I would love to know the difference in margins between glasses (high barriers to market entry) and contact lenses (commodity). I would suspect glasses much higher.

And yes, I am an economist by trade. And I also retract my comments on GOC above! Never post on a Sunday morning.

andy says:
11 June 2012

On the subject of glasses i am unswerving in my opinion that it’s bonkers to be able to order them online, every online retailer tells you its a couple of measurements you can do at home. Why then is there a year long course called Dispensing optics if you could learn it all in half an hour. The reason is that its a complicated subject being dumbed down by good marketeers. And yes there is a good margin in the product, but we don’t sell that many and we have very high professional staffing costs.
Wait till they get going on the dentists as amalgum only costs £3.
‘Being ripped off by your dentist? save hundreds of pounds with the self drill and fill kit only £24.

Back on contact lenses;
I charge £40 for a contact lens assesment and I see my patients every 6 months, the prescription element of the contact lens ( the part you are talking about) is a minor part of the procedure. What we are particularily interested in is the delicate surface layers of corneal cells, these are in contact with a foreign body (a contact lens) for ? hours a day. when it goes wrong with contact lenses it can go horribly wrong which is why we insist on regular check ups a quality contact lenses.
We willingly see our dentist every 6 months for a check up, but if it all goes wrong you can still have false teeth fitted.

Bad laws? I don’t think their bad, they could do with some updating to reflect the fact that the world has moved on in 20 years but in general their fit for purpose.
It’s important that everyone understands that the laws do not prevent the sale of products on line, you are free to purchase your contact lenses wherever you want. The lenses from a legal online retailer will still be cheaper but not as cheap as they currently .
The publics health is a primary concern and as an economist you will understand that once the illegal element is removed the market can settle down to a true level.

Oh, yes one and one other thing…illegal operartors selling in product from outside the UK…dont think for a second that counterfeit products aren’t available as they are and it’s growing problem.

One of the things that upsets the economics of the eye test is the segmentation of professional activities that is at the heart of the high street multiple eyewear retailers. When I first went to an optician he did the eye test, prescribed the lenses, helped me select the frames, did the admin, checked the specs received from the lab, fitted them and did the adjustments, polished them, and sent me away happy. In between customers he probably did a bit of book-keeping and housekeeping, cleaned his equipment, and changed the flowers in the waiting room. Nowadays, from personal observation, it seems that when the optometrist is not doing eye tests he or she is doing nothing else. A gaggle of optical assistants cluck around the shop so that a full-service two-visit examine, prescribe, frame and dispense process involves half a dozen people. I don’t happen to think £250 per engaged day [say £60,000 a year] is unreasonable for a fully-qualified consultant optometrist. Obviously the on-line spectacle shops are feeding off the high street prescriptions that are subsidised by the sale of glasses. Perhaps the NHS should pay more for an eye test but that would only distort the economics even further in favour of the on-line merchants as the cost of a non-NHS exam would have to rise to match the NHS-funded level. I should be interested to know whether there is indeed a composite rate of VAT at 10% on opticians’ services recognising that they are part clinical and part commercial.

andy says:
11 June 2012

Yeh that does sound like my day, however when the optometrist isn’t testing eyes he or she is probably studying for compulsory education and training points which are a prerequisite of keeping up your professional qualification. something illegal online retailers don’t have to bother with.
Glasses aren’t subsidising anything, glasses are a frame, 2 pieces of plastic or glass and most importantly ..a great big chunk of knowledge. When you buy your frames you are as my grandad, a master craftsman used to say, paying for the knowing not the doing. It may only take me a few minutes to fit the glasses but that few minutes took years of learning. It only takes a space shuttle commander 8 minutes to get into orbit but i bet they have to do a bit of training first.

Someone had to study, sit exams and being a professional they want to be renumerated for all their hard work, they also have to continually maintain their qualification. Maybe the public don’t realise how many professionals there are in a practice, it’s not only the optometrist with a professional quallification.
Take away the knowing and you get guessing and incompetence…and that’s why online illegal retailers get it wrong so often as proved by Which.

And yes there is a proprtional VAT element of which the requirements are freely available from the Inland Revenue.
.

gavin says:
14 June 2012

I have recently set up a dispensing only practice after having worked in the optics industrty for 17 years . I had become slightly disillusioned with selling glasses and contact lenses to people who probably couldn’t afford the inflated prices thay pay at the opticians.Since opening I have to put up with variyng degrees of unprofessionalism from some of the testing opticians in the area and also from former colleagues. I understand peoples concerns on ensuring that their glasses are made up correctly but even high street opticians can make mistakes .I think that in todays climate it is good that people have a choice to spend as little or much on their glasses as they can afford.

Andy says:
15 June 2012

Gavin , Unprofessional conduct is regulated by the GOC, If a high street optician makes a mistake then they can be sanctioned by the regulatory body. If you have an issue with a qualified professional then talk to the GOC. If you hold a professional qualification DO? and are therefore regulated by the GOC then they have the same rights in return.
As for inflated prices, well as I,ve said before, if you remove professionalism from the equation it will of course be cheaper, This Which report has proved that it also means poor quality.
I agree that choice is good, but only as long as the public understands that when they go outside of a professional enviroment they are buying from an unregulated industry.

Buyer beware

Are you a qualified registered Dispensing optician, if by any chance you’re not do you let your customers know this?

I don’t believe that it is necessary to have new frames each time you buy glasses and neither do I believe that the public is getting enough information on coatings for lenses. It used to be easy to keep an older pair of specs as a spare pair for emergencies but the poor coatings now make this impossible. A pair of glasses can cost several hundreds pounds – surely we should be able to find a choice that will also last well without always having to deal with them with kid gloves?

Andy says:
16 June 2012

Sorry if I seem the only one answering the questions here…must be that the online retailers don’t know this information….another score for professionals.
Coatings have only got better over the years, granted glass used to last but then it was incredibly heavy and when it shatters its really dangerous..thats probably the old coating that most people remember.
For coatings on modern plastic lenses take a look at Essilor Crizal forte UV, awsome clarity and also has a warrantee against scratching, best part is it also stops 100% UV helping prevent Cararacts and Macular degeneration. First ever optical product to get a SPF rating… and no I don’t work for them.

I have bought the last three pairs of glasses online for almost half the price tht Boots were going to charge me. Once these were my first glasses after a cataract operation and the glasses did not seem to work. I had to go for another examination and get a fresh prescription. The online retailer gave me new lenses for two pairs at no extra cost. So I can only say I have been treated very fairly indeed.

Andy says:
16 June 2012

Though you were treated fairly I must point out that no qualified person would have made the schoolboy error of making a pair of post cataract glasses without telling you you needed a new test first.

Lex says:
18 June 2012

I’m always puzzled by this life-saving claim of eye tests. We have no requirement to see our GP every year – and that would save infinitely more lives than an annual trip to the opticians. I go to the Doctor’s when I’m ill – I go to the opticians when I can’t see.

Please put your worthy efforts in context.

Andy says:
19 June 2012

We and many other Opticians refer on a weekly basis patient showing sympoms of ocular disease, these could all lead to loss of sight. We also diagnose other early indicators of life threatening illnesses.
In no particular order , diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, retinal tears, Glaucoma and even brain tumours.

As always I’m happy to educate, and i hope this is context enough.

Lex, would you wait to have a stroke or a heart attack before you would go to get your blood pressure tested? Most people do understand the importance of blood pressure and cholesterol checks. Many people do go to the GP without feeling sick.
Most common eye problem is probably Glaucoma, which by the time you realise you have a problem, you could have lost most of your vision, irreparably. Your choice.

My elderly FIL tells us to get our eyes tested regularly. I understand his problem of glaucoma should have been spotted earlier. As you become older the offers of treatment decrease and it is more difficult to travel around. Everyone should plan on living to 100 and take care of their health with this in mind and don’t allow yourself to be “dropped off” a treatment list. It is harder to learn new things ie new and changing technology the older you get.