Getting the best view when buying glasses online


You have options far beyond the eye doctor's office when it comes to prescription eyewear.

Many people are shopping for eyewear virtually, experts in optometry say the convenience of shopping online can’t be beaten but if you’re not careful, it could be a problem.

Whether you favor rimless, pops of vibrant color, round, rectangular or even cat eye, prescription eyewear is more than a matter of style. Eyewear is a comprehensive and complex medical device.

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Dr. Gregory Nixon of OSU College of Optometry said the most important component of your prescription is not only the numbers but also the lens.

“Even though all kinds of lenses look like pieces of plastic there's also some sophisticated intricacies into the design of the lens that determine the overall optical quality,” he said.

Quality that optometric specialists say is best found under their guidance. A growing number of people are opting for virtual eyewear shops.

Zenni Optical is one of several top-scoring online retailers with the Better Business Bureau.

A spokesperson for the retailer said Zenni has sold 25 million pairs of glasses in its 16-year history. Zenni touts that consumers can get eyewear at near 'cost' with an entry level price starting at seven dollars.

“You would be hard-pressed to spend over $200 at Zenni if you had the strongest prescription,” said Sean Pate of Zenni Optical. “Even if you chose our most expensive set of frames and packed every high-end option we offer on the site just because we discount those features to almost 90 percent of retail.”

For its part, Zenni offers customers an online tutorial and a virtual try-on tool. Professional eyewear experts say it is critical to enter information from your prescription correctly to avoid mistakes.