Cheap Eyeglasses: The Buck Stops Here

There is no denying it - as Americans, we love to save a buck! And who could blame us? We work hard for our paychecks and most of us are as frugal as we can be with our money. But sometimes in an effort to save, we inadvertently sacrifice quality in goods and services that really matter. In nowhere is this more evident than in eye care. 

Every day, people flock to online retailers with their prescriptions hoping to get the best deal on their eyeglasses. However in the pursuit of savings, people are all too often shortchanged in quality and safety. A recent expose in the Chicago Tribune cited that researchers found glaring errors in prescriptions, a serious lack of quality control, and overall shoddiness in work and product. Many of the lenses tested did not even meet the basic standards for shatter resistance. 

According to the publication, the 10 most popular retailers for eyeglasses overlooked even the most basic aspects of online ordering. The researchers reported that out of 200 pairs ordered, they only received 154. Many of the lenses that did arrive were riddled with problems such as multifocals that were sent as single vision lenses and treatments that were administered incorrectly or just left off all together. Perhaps most disturbing was the fact that in almost a quarter of the glasses ordered, at least one of the lenses did not pass the impact testing required by the FDA. In a similar study, 1 in 4 pairs of children’s eyewear tested also failed the impact resistance testing. (A fact that, according to the Tribune, incensed the Professor of Optometry that was interviewed for the piece.) The children's glasses had issues with prescriptions as well. 

The blame for incorrect prescriptions does not fall solely on the vendors, however. Often patients supply the websites with prescriptions that are out of date or that have not been properly verified by an eye care professional. This can lead to vision that is improperly corrected resulting in headaches, blurred vision, eye fatigue, and worse. Patients then are faced with the difficult decision of ordering an additional pair of glasses, which may end up costing more than a conventionally purchased pair through a reputable vendor such as LensCrafters.  
Patient error aside, the cold hard fact remains that lenses that are more likely to crack or shatter are just plain dangerous. Even if the prescription is properly verified, the doctor has no way to ensure that the impact resistance standard is upheld for finished eyewear. With even minor impact, statistically these lenses are far more likely to break which could result in major eye injuries. And there is no denying that a properly made pair of glasses is exponentially cheaper than a trip to the ER. 

At the end of the day, it is all well and good to save some money, but make sure it does not come at a cost to your overall well-being. Healthcare in general is not an expense where you want to sacrifice quality in order to save a buck. In the case of eye care, this is especially true. Dr. Vu and staff will work diligently to ensure the most accurate prescription is combined with highest quality components for your eyes. Your eyes are a worthy investment and the right pair of glasses purchased from a reputable vendor will help you see more clearly and function most effectively. There may be cheaper alternatives to be found online...but cheap often comes with a price.

Tim Cruz