The primary aim of this project, undertaken by the University of Bradford, was to determine the general accuracy, visual performance, and patient comfort of spectacles bought online compared to the current standard of spectacles purchased from high street optometry / optician practices.
Historically, prescription spectacles have been purchased via high street optometric or optician practices, generally under the supervision of a qualified optometrist or dispensing optician. With the huge increase in use of the internet, spectacles are now being increasingly sold online. A Which? report in 2012 provided an evaluation of 36 pairs of spectacles from 14 popular UK websites and failed 15 (42%) as being outside British and International Standards. Another 10 (27%) were classed as ‘borderline’.1 Research which evaluated the optical quality of spectacles bought online in the United States, assessed 154 pairs of spectacles and reported similar problems to those found in the smaller UK Which? tests, with 44.8% of spectacles failing at least one parameter of optical analysis or impact testing.2
1. The real cost of cheap glasses. Which? 2012: 26-8.
2. Citek K, Torgersen DL, Endres JD & Rosenberg RR. Safety and compliance of prescription spectacles ordered by the public via the Internet. Optometry 2011; 82: 549-555.