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  • Writer's pictureBright Eyes Family Vision

Buying Online or Coming to the Office: What Should Eye Do?

Alan came in for his annual exam just wanting to update his contact lens prescription. He had tried to order lenses online but his doctor had denied the refill since it had been over a year since his last visit. So he grudgingly took off time on his lunch break and made his way over to his local optometrist.

“Doc, I don’t feel like my vision has changed. I’ve been in the same contacts for years and have never had an issue. I don’t understand why I have to keep coming back each year.”

“Well, Alan, you do see 20/20 with your contacts in. But I appreciate you coming in today and checking out our new iWellness screening. It actually shows that you have a retinal detachment and if you’d waited another couple days, you could have gone blind in that eye!”

Normal Right Eye

Retinal Detachment in Left Eye

Although the name in the above story has been changed, this happened to an actual patient that Dr. Williams saw this year. Some blinding eye conditions can present without any symptoms! If this patient had been able to get his prescription filled online, it might have been too late to detect and treat his retinal detachment. These types of eye conditions, along with many other eye diseases, need to be treated before they affect vision.

With all of the online retailers selling eyewear these days, it is easy to turn to websites for a quick experience. It may seem like less effort to do an online test and get new contacts or glasses shipped to you. However, there are many things you miss out on when forgoing the in-store visit that ultimately cause the online method to fall short.

First, you miss out on a comprehensive eye health check. Your eye exam not only determines your glasses or contact lens prescription, it can also uncover early stages of eye problems that do not have any symptoms. Many times, eye doctors even find systemic diseases that haven’t been diagnosed yet, like high blood pressure or diabetes. Just like with most things, early detection and treatment is key for long-term health and vision.

Online eye exams focus only on creating a glasses prescription, usually based on your previous one. When you come to the office, the doctor checks your distance and near vision, in addition to how well your eyes are focusing. Younger people often over focus their eyes due to all the screen time, so an online exam could result in over-correction of nearsightedness. Many time these prescriptions causes headaches and eyestrain since the right strength and type of lens was not prescribed.

When buying glasses online, you also lack the hands-on experience with our optician. They are trained to provide you with personalized service - including things such as repairing glasses, fitting you for a new pair, and helping with lens selection. Opticians also provide education that will apply to you and your pair of glasses or contacts, so you can be sure you are taking care of them with the proper safety and technique.

Shopping in-store ensures that you walk out with a product that you like and that is right for you. You can make sure the glasses are a good fit - that they sit right on your face, aren’t too tight or too loose, and look the way you are hoping. Crucial measurements for visual comfort are also taken by a skilled optician after you pick out your glasses.

If you buy from a website, the glasses may not look or fit the way you were expecting when you looked at the pictures online. Even product reviews will not necessarily guarantee the right product for you personally.

By coming into the office, you build a useful relationship with our staff. Continually coming in to Bright Eyes also allows us to become familiar with your eye health and history, so we can provide the best recommendations for you! The convenience of buying online may be tempting, but ultimately the best option for your eye health is to visit a doctor in person.



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