Optometric Management Tip # 359   -   Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A Patient Handout for Internet Eyeglasses

Last week's tip focused on developing your office policies for requests to assist patients with ordering eyeglasses over the Internet. While e-commerce is certainly not new and it has had an impact on nearly every business and profession, ordering eyeglasses online is still relatively new.

This tip will provide a prototype patient handout to be used as a guide in developing your own handout. I foresee giving this educational sheet only to patients who say they have an interest in shopping online for glasses. By educating patients about optical services in advance of an online purchase, you may be able to prevent a misunderstanding.

Internet Eyeglasses

You have a right to your eyeglass prescription and, as a patient at Gailmard Eye Center (GEC), you will always be provided with a copy. We hope you'll want to buy your eyeglasses from our office and we believe we offer the best value available when you consider service, quality and price. If you decide to shop elsewhere for glasses, we certainly understand and we will be pleased to provide your eye examinations and eye health care.

Local opticians and optical shops generally do a good job of filling our prescriptions, but we have some concern with the use of eyeglass vendors over the Internet. Fitting eyeglasses properly involves precise measurements, unbiased advice based on your needs and skillful adjustments of the frame and lenses. Since Internet vendors do not actually meet with you in person they can't provide those services. We provide all the optical services at no additional cost for patients who buy eyeglasses at GEC, but we can't provide them for glasses purchased elsewhere.

To avoid confusion and disappointment with glasses purchased elsewhere, here is a list of services we provide and those we do not. Please check with the eyeglass vendor to determine return and refund policies in the event problems occur.

We provide only two services for eyeglasses purchased outside of our office:

  • PD or pupillary distance a measurement of the distance between your eyes taken with a pupilometer, not a ruler. This will be given with your eyeglass prescription upon request.
  • Prescription verification we will verify the basic lens parameters in new glasses to see if it matches your prescription. We will also recheck the refraction test to confirm the prescription is correct if necessary. This will be done at no charge within 30 days of a new eyeglass prescription. We will not troubleshoot optical measurements taken by others. Visual problems may result if a correct prescription is made with inaccurate optical measurements. Correction or changes in the glasses will be up to you and the eyeglass seller.

The following services or measurements are not available if you purchase glasses elsewhere. These measurements should be provided by the person selling the glasses.

  • Seg height
  • Vertical optical center
  • Eye size
  • Bridge size
  • Temple length
  • Frame model and color
  • Lens material and index
  • Multifocal design and brand
  • Optional lens features such as tints, coatings, etc.
  • Eyeglass dispensing adjustment
  • Education and training on lens and frame features and care
  • Ongoing adjustments
  • Minor repairs

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management