We do make more money when you buy your glasses from us than if you buy glasses online. But, more than money, we want you to be happy and have healthy eyes no matter whether you buy glasses online or in our office. In the case of contact lenses, we match the price of major online retailers because what we are delivering is basically the same (although our contacts arrive sooner, are easier to return, and don’t make you sign up for crummy e-mail spam). In the case of glasses online however, they’re not the same. To be blunt, ours are better.
Folks often assume that our glasses will be more expensive than glasses online because we have an actual office, employ real people, and contribute to the community. But, this generally isn’t the case, as we don’t have to support the manufacturing or advertising costs of the larger online websites, though we still are able to buy our eyeglasses directly from the factories with no middleman. In fact, we offer a complete lens and frame package on selected frames for folks paying at the time of service that often beats the glasses online on price, and always beats them on quality.
Yes, this package isn’t offered on our fanciest frames, and it uses conventional lenses rather than our better, freeform-digital lenses. But, we offer this cheap glasses package because we believe it is best for both our patients and our practice if patients get their glasses at the same place they get their eye exam and fitting measurements. And, sometimes folks are on a budget, and just need some glasses. We want to avoid the situation in which the prescription is from one place, the PD another, and then the glasses online. Because, when there is a problem, the most any of those places is likely to do is check that their part was correct. But that often doesn’t solve the problem because it’s how everything works together that matters.
When one of our patients has a problem with their glasses, and this is hopefully true of most eye care offices, we want to do everything we can until they are happy with their glasses. However, when the glasses were purchased elsewhere, and the quality and craftsmanship are questionable, we will still try and help out as best as we can. It’s just that we don’t know if the problem was with: imperfections in the lens materials used, lack of good fitting measurements, or any of numerous other optical problems. It takes time and expertise to figure these things out, and the eventual answer if often that the glasses need to be remade from scratch.
More importantly, because the power and optical effects change depending on how glasses are adjusted and measurements taken (think of your aunt sliding her glasses down her nose to see better), it is worth having them done in a real office. We have a fairly low markup on our glasses, and we buy most of our frames directly from the factories (which by the way is why we’ve had to promise many of the makers that we won’t sell their glasses online as many of our frame prices are less than retail prices, even online). Yes, it is possible to find cheaper glasses online, but our eyeglass prices reflect the quality of the materials used, the care in the design, and the skill of the optician fitting you. Cheaper glasses online will also reflect those same things, just in the other direction.
If you do decide to buy glasses online. We’ll be happy to adjust them for you so they fit your face correctly. Really, this should be done during the initial fitting process so measurements for the lenses can be taken correctly. But, at the least, we can improve how the frame feels on your face after you receive them, even if we can’t change the lenses at this point. Again, this post-manufacture frame adjustment is included for free when you buy glasses at our office. We charge $15-$35 for it if the glasses are from elsewhere, though some of the places you can buy glasses online will reimburse you for this service if you send them a receipt (something that may be worth checking on their website before you buy glasses online).