There is a growing and thriving market in the eye care industry for prescription glasses sold at highly discounted prices. You may see and hear marketing for those companies on television and the radio, or colorful flyers with coupons mixed in your mail. Even from reading this article online, you might see banner ads for discount glasses popping up on your web browser for next week. After seeing all of that advertising, is it worth taking a copy of your prescription and buying glasses at a price that seems too good to be true?

Glasses are very precise instruments that are valued at different degrees by different people. Having your prescription glasses made by your eye doctor’s office ensures a level of quality, accountability, and customization that may make it worth keeping all your eye care needs with your doctor.

The primary reason patients have their eyes examined at an independent eye doctor’s office is the quality of care that they receive. Patients value a good doctor that they trust, along with a superior level of care to make sure their prescription is perfect. When the prescription is taken elsewhere, the quality of the eye exam may not be translated to the quality of the glasses; a prescription is only as good as the glasses they are made into. From keeping all aspects of eye care in one office, there is a level of accountability and perfection that is hard to match. Many times, there are customizations that can be made to the glasses that can be approved or ordered by the doctor depending on the application of the eyewear.

Patients commonly report that the cost of glasses at their doctor’s office is too expensive and use this as a reason to take their prescription elsewhere. This can be easily dispelled for any patients that are using vision insurance to make a purchase for eyewear. Almost all vision insurance plans have fixed costs, allowances, and copays that can pay for their frames and lenses. These out of pocket expenses will be the same at any in-network provider of their insurance plan. Therefore, it makes the most sense to have the fabrication of glasses completed by the opticians who are employed by the practice.

Other reasons to value glasses that are produced by your eye doctor’s office the quality of lenses used and how they are produced. Most of the high-quality lenses and lens treatments are only available at independent doctor’s offices. Lenses with non-glare treatments such as Eyezen, Varilux X-Design, and Crizal are merely imitated, not replicated, by chain stores and online retailers. High-quality glasses are produced when measurements and the fitting of prescription are completed by a qualified optician. At an independent eye doctor’s office, it is guaranteed that a team of qualified and well-trained opticians will provide the patient with glasses that fit comfortably and have an accurate prescription.

It is important to know that there is a quality problem with some online retailers who allow patients to take their own measurements and have prescription glasses shipped to their home. These glasses often arrive in need of major adjustments to allow proper vision and comfort. Sometimes, the lenses are not made accurately to match the doctor’s prescription.

A recent study from the American Optometric Association (AOA) with the National Vision Council concluded:

  • Of 200 glasses ordered online, only 154 pairs were received
  • 8% had incorrect prescriptions
  • 29% of adult lenses failed safety testing
  • 25% of children’s lenses failed safety testing

These numbers contribute to the convenience and quality of your eye doctor crafting your glasses. Glasses are needed to correct vision when contact lenses cannot be used. With a good pair of glasses is made by your eye doctor, there is less room for error. While some may find that saving money is a bigger priority than seeing well, high-quality glasses last much longer than the sweetness of a great deal.