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Study: Internet Eyewear Vendors are Subpar

A recent study showed that nearly half of all glasses (44.8 percent) ordered through the Internet had incorrect prescriptions or did not meet the physical parameters to provide sufficient protection to the wearer.  Due to the increasing trend of consumers consulting and directly ordering prescription eyewear from Web sites, the study, lead by Karl Citek, OD, PhD., from Pacific University College of Optometry and published in the September issue of Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association, assessed whether prescription eyewear ordered from online vendors and delivered directly to the consumer were compliant with the optical tolerance and impact resistance requirements for eyewear dispensed in the United States.

Over a two-month period, 10 individuals from across the United States, including the researchers, ordered two pairs of glasses from each of 10 of the most visited online optical vendors, for a total of 200 pairs of glasses. Purchasers chose frame styles from the low- and midrange options offered by each vendor, avoiding brand and designer products, and selected a variety of frame materials, lens styles, and prescriptions.  Of the 200 pairs of glasses ordered, 154 were received and analyzed for sphere power, cylinder power and axis, add power, separation of distance optical centers, and center thickness. Of those analyzed, 33 (21.4%) were not provided correctly.

“In this study, all participating individuals were knowledgeable about eyewear but some had difficulty placing online orders correctly, such that the spectacles ordered were not what was intended per the study design. In addition, some vendors provided the incorrect type of spectacles, even though the order apparently was placed correctly,” the authors wrote.  Several pairs were received as single vision instead of bifocals, or had lens treatments added or omitted. Of the 154 pairs received, 44 pairs (28.6%) contained at least one lens that was not within the parameters of the prescription. Nearly 23 percent of the lenses failed impact testing, based on center thickness and lens treatment. Of the children’s glasses tested, 29 percent failed impact testing.

“The results of this study show that regardless of cost, spectacle eyewear ordered without the benefit of a dispensing process can come with significant risk of error in providing the correct type of lenses needed or ordered, the optical parameters that are within acceptable tolerances, and the physical parameters that provide sufficient protection to the wearer,” the authors wrote.

ADG&A suggests that clients consider giving a copy of this study to patients who ask for a copy of their prescription. 

Source: Ophthalmology Times


1 Response to “Study: Internet Eyewear Vendors are Subpar”


  1. May 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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About Arthur De Gennaro


My friends call me Art. Welcome to my blog. In this space you’ll find information and comments on the ophthalmology world, the optical industry, the hearing industry and medical practice management. My intent is to provide information you can use to improve your business and your own performance. Please visit often and feel free to join the discussions by leaving comments.

You can learn more about me and my consulting company, Arthur De Gennaro & Associates, LLC by visiting my web site www.adegennaro.com

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