Convenient? Yes. Cheaper? Usually. But online prescription frame shopping is still an exercise in “one frame doesn’t fit all.”
Vision is priority number one
Prescription eyeglasses, regardless of whether you decide to purchase them online or in person at a brick-and-mortar shop, are a custom-made medical device designed to enhance your vision. Of course, you want them to look good on your face, too, but the first priority of any pair of prescription frames should always be to see your best.
Do not make any assumptions just for the sake of convenience, as this could lead to a lot of headaches with your new frames—sometimes literally. The best piece of advice is to predetermine your face measurements, current prescription, and general preferences on lenses, materials, etc.
Update your prescription before heading online
Have a comprehensive eye exam once per year, as your eye doctor will determine the state of your vision and update your prescription. You can’t see properly without an accurate prescription and your vision changes gradually over time.
If you don’t find frames you want in the doctor’s office, let him or her know you’re considering purchasing new frames online and ask them about lens specifics. Do I need glass or polycarbonate lenses? Is an anti-reflective or blue light coating right for me? Does my prescription require bifocal or progressive lenses? He or she will help you answer all of these questions and take additional measurements (e.g., pupillary distance) that will make your online search more precise.
Physical fit and comfortable wear
If your frames are too large or don’t fit the bridge of your nose correctly, they might slip from the proper position. Not only is it more difficult to see when this happens, but it might lead to fatigue. What a headache. Alternatively, smaller frames cause pinching of the nose and apply pressure to the temples. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it causes undesirable red marks to form on the side of your head and nose.
Don’t overlook the weight of your lenses. Depending on your prescription, this might influence the fit of your new eyeglasses. Sturdier frames are sometimes necessary to support heavier lenses.
Using the size and measurements from your old frames is a helpful reference, but different brands and materials still may fit differently. Depending on what the site asks for, details like your hat size might help, but exact measurements with a tape measure are usually best.
Appearance and style
Finding a style you like may be the most interesting part of online frame shopping, but it’s a little trickier to determine if they’re going to look good on your face. Depending on your skin tone and face shape, specific color ranges and frame shapes might be better than others. Check out “Choosing the best eyeglass frames” for more details.
The good news is, many online vendors are getting more creative with helping you decide. Many allow you to upload a photograph of yourself and “try on” as many styles as you like.
Try Eyeconic for online frame shopping
Eyeconic is the only online, in-network retailer for VSP members, making it much easier for you to find frame options covered by your plan benefits. They will deliver your new frames to your doctor for custom fitting and even provide the option to fill bifocal and progressive lens prescriptions.
Ultimately, shopping for new prescription frames online is a fantastic way to save time and money, but if you go into it blindly, you may end up with an imperfect pair. The best approach is to arm yourself with as much information as possible through your eye doctor and optician. If you do your research ahead of time, know your preferences, and have all of your measurements on hand, then perfect vision comes much easier after clicking BUY NOW.
Use your VSP Individual Vision Plan to schedule an eye exam with your doctor. If you don’t have vision insurance, find out how VSP can help you save on your next eye exam or pair of glasses.