For many years now there has been the option for people to purchase their eye wear online. One of the many questions I get asked is why they should or should not buy their glasses online. Before I thought of opening Wink, I had actually worked for one of the big online sellers and learned why not – I actually had no clue prior to working there that it was frowned upon in the industry. The whole “online eye wear” trend was emerging as I was studying optometry in Philadelphia so I had no idea it was even happening.
For many people, the initial reason to go online is price. I completely understand. Why pay hundreds when you can pay less than $200? It comes down to what you’re buying. The one thing people have to remember is you need to compare apples to apples. When you’re purchasing a high-end lens with top of the line coatings and hand-crafted titanium frame, you can’t compare that to cheap $10 lenses with low quality $5 coatings and factory-stamped flimsy plastic frames – it’s just not the same. If you go to an optical and ask them for the same sub-standard frames, lenses, and coatings you probably won’t find the exact same thing because they don’t want to sell that product to you for a good reason – it’s rubbish. I can’t speak for every single optical but as an eye care professional, I care about what I offer my patients and will only offer what I feel is worth their money. I would not want to carry those cheap products because my moral compass tells me people deserve better. And it’s my job as the professional to provide that to my patients so they have someone to trust. Someone that’s not just there to make a sale. Someone who genuinely cares. At Wink, I want people to feel that they are in good hands and the choices they make are for themselves and no one else.
“because my moral compass tells me people deserve better”
My main issue with the online manufacturers is that the quality is not there. There were multiple times (too many to count) when I was working with the online manufacturer that patients would come back to see me saying they couldn’t see properly. Time and time again I would check the glasses and they were not made to my specifications – of course you can’t see if it’s the wrong prescription. There were even times when we would send the glasses to be re-made and they’d come back wrong again. Their labs are not adhering to the ANSI standards for manufacturing glasses nor are they checking their work to make sure the glasses are made according to the prescription. In a normal lab, the glasses are checked before being sent back to the optical for the patient to pick up. The glasses are then checked again by qualified and trained staff to ensure the lab hasn’t made a mistake. There are at least two check points to ensure the patient is receiving what they ordered. Another problem is there is only one measurement taken into account – the pupillary distance (PD). When in fact, the optical centre or segment height (for bifocals or progressives) need to also be taken into consideration – especially for higher prescriptions. When these measurements aren’t factored into the manufacturing process the chance that the glasses are made wrong is high because not everyone’s eyes will line up in the same place in the same frame.
So you can see why I wouldn’t purchase glasses online. But why I would? For the sake of having glasses to see rather than to not see at all. People with simple prescriptions that are low and are relatively easy to make can usually purchase online without any issues. The likelihood of them messing up those prescriptions is relatively low so you should be safe from faulty product.
At Wink I hope we are able to take the guesswork out of our patient’s purchase and create an environment where people feel at ease. Our mission is never to force anyone into purchasing something they aren’t comfortable with and to answer any questions people might have about the whole process to build trust within our community. We want to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your eye wear.
Wink is happy to be your local Burnaby optometry clinic where your needs come first and your purchase is based on an educated decision.