copyright © Thorp & Flippin Optical, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
Let's face it, we are a generation of internet shoppers and that trend is growing by leaps and bounds every year. Almost any product imaginable is available on the internet and is just a few clicks away from being delivered right to our front door.
Shoes, clothing, medical supplies, hardware, toys, camping equipment and even our next true love are all available with a credit card and a little personal information. So should you trust your vision to the internet as well?
Some products lend themselves well to being shopped on the internet such as computers, books and home supplies. This group of products along with many others fall into a category we would call a commodity or an item as opposed to a service. One example would be a book is a good commodity item but a haircut is a service. While it is strangely enough possible to get a virtual haircut online it hardly satisfies the length of ones hair.
Commodity items are an easy fit for the internet and readily available at substantial discounts because the e-business does not have the same cost of doing business, namely overhead, as a brick and mortar store with rent, inventory, employees and the myriad of additional costs of doing business in the traditional manner. Really all one needs to conduct business via the internet is a computer, a website and pictures of the products to be sold. The computer will run twenty four hours per day without asking for a break or overtime for that matter.
So what about prescription eye wear? Is it a commodity or a service and furthermore should it be purchased online? In the strict sense of the term there is a case to be made that even though prescription eyeglasses are custom made products and very individual they could be considered a commodity. Of course, the reality is eyeglass frames must fit and be fit properly to ensure comfort and to deliver the prescription as intended for best vision. It is hard to do that with a picture of how the frame looks on your photo. Secondly, Opticians take precise measurements for many other parameters including the individual distance between the pupils, fitting heights for all types of bifocals and will sometimes compensate the prescription to accommodate for how the frame fits the individual. Again this is all but impossible to do properly without the individual in person.
Other things to consider are warranty issues if something should break or who is responsible if the Doctor needs to make a slight change to the prescription. One of the biggest issues continues to be were the glasses made correctly and to standard. A study was conducted by Pacific College of Optometry by ordering two hundred pairs of eyeglasses from ten of the most popular internet sites and they found nearly half failed at least one parameter of testing. But how would you possibly know if your glasses were made properly if you do not have the equipment to verify?
Of course you could bring them in for verification and adjustments from a local Optician but be aware there may be a charge for these services. Eyeglasses are a unique product and unlike any other product all of your needed future service is built into the original cost of the frame and lenses. The free adjustments and nose pads you are used to receiving are actually not free but have been paid for in advance.
The bottom line is you are free to purchase your next pair of glasses from the place of your choosing however if that choice is an internet eye wear provider it may not be the clear choice they would have you believe.