Buying Glasses – Things to Know

When it comes to purchasing glasses, you have a lot of choices both online and in-store.  Here are some important questions to consider deciding what and where to buy.

The selection of frames is great and I feel I am getting the best product in lenses. The staff is knowledgeable and respectful. I enjoy each visit.

— Steve B., Aurora Location

There seem to be a lot of inexpensive frames available online and at discount retailers, is there a quality difference?

There can be major quality differences depending on the materials and manufacturing method.  Try to avoid injection-molded plastic frames which tend to be brittle.  Acetate frames built in layers and slow cured will last longer, look better be more comfortable, and retain adjustments longer.  Also, look for lighter weight metal alloys that can be hypoallergenic and highly flexible.  In general, low cost frames are more likely to break and require frequent adjustments to remain comfortable.

If I’m not that worried about fashion, should I care if I’m buying a discontinued frame?

Many of the online and brick and mortar discount outlets sell primarily discontinued frames.  Finding replacement parts can be very difficult on a discontinued frame, so if any component breaks, you will likely have to replace the whole frame.

If I know what I like, why is it important to work with a certified optician?

Working with a certified optician to select your glasses will not only help ensure that the pair you select is a good match for your face and coloring but also for your prescription and lifestyle.  Opticians are trained to help patients select the ideal frames and lenses to optimize their vision, comfort, and aesthetics.  At Vision Care Specialists our opticians average 23 years of experience.  They work closely with patients to help them get the best overall solution to fit both their needs and their budget.

Why is there such a wide range of pricing for lenses, is there really a difference?

There are many different materials used for lenses from basic polycarbonate which is cheap and lightweight, but doesn’t result in the clearest vision compared to high-index and Trivex lenses that are thinner, shatter resistant and ultra-clear.  Which lens is right for you will depend on your prescription, your budget, and personal preferences. Vision Care Specialists has a wide variety of lens options, but typically will not recommend a polycarbonate lens due to inferior performance.

Are all Progressive lenses the same?

Definitely not.  There is a new generation of digitally manufactured progressive lenses that offer superior vision up close, at mid-range and for longer distances.  These lenses are specifically designed for heavy computer use and will reduce eye strain and neck/back strain for those spending many hours a day looking at a screen.

Are all anti-reflective lenses the same?

Many people like the improved vision and reduced glare that comes from an anti-reflective lens. Look for an anti-reflective that is molecularly bonded which will last longer and be virtually imperceptible.  Lower quality anti-reflectives can breakdown over time.  Vision Care Specialists recommends Crizal lenses that are highly durable and easier to keep clean.


If I buy glasses online, where do I go to get them fitted and adjusted?

That is a good question.  Increasingly, local opticians are having to charge for fitting of glasses purchased elsewhere.  Glasses purchased online can be more difficult to fit because they often haven’t been optimally measured. Today’s lenses require more precise fitting than ever before.  Vision Care Specialists uses Spec Tech, an iPad-based measurement tool to collect precision information. 

Is there any advantage to getting my glasses and prescription from the same place?

Yes, when you get your eye exam and glasses together, that vision center is fully vested in making sure your vision has been accurately corrected.  There can be no finger pointing, and normally, if you are not seeing well with your new glasses, they will do whatever it takes to correct the problem.

Do all retailers handle insurance in the same way?

Some optical centers do not accept insurance and some accept insurance from just a limited number of plans.  Check to make sure your insurance will be honored before deciding where to buy.

My friend raves about the cheap glasses she got online, why wouldn’t I do the same?

While it’s certainly possible to find exceptions, a recent Consumer Reports survey suggested that people who had purchased their glasses online had lower overall satisfaction.  The highest reported satisfaction levels came from customers who had worked with a certified optician and purchased glasses from their local, independent vision care center.  These customers gave top satisfaction ratings to, the quality of the frames and lenses, employee knowledge, care taken to get the right fit, frame selection, and follow up service quality.

Only Vision Care Specialists uses LifeFit™—our unique approach to ensure that we provide patients the most individualized vision enhancement recommendations possible based on prescription, lifestyle, personal brand, and budget.  We are the largest independent practice in Colorado and consistently receive top ratings for our comprehensive eye exams, experienced opticians, and wide selection of high quality frames.