Eyewear Online, the Down-Low
Buying online has become almost reflexive in today’s society. And while it can be great for a lot of things, we’re looking at how purchasing eyewear online affects YOU and your world.
To simplify a complex subject, we’ve narrowed down what you need to know into 3 parts:
Ethics (who knew eyeglasses had morals!)
The number one, biggest factor when purchasing eyewear online is that educated professionals, dedicated to individualized attention, are cut out of the equation. Yes, you still must see an optometrist for an eye prescription, but what most people don’t know is that there is more to eyewear than meets the eye. *wink*
Proper fit - Getting eyewear to fit properly, and adjusted according to an individual’s eyesight, can be very challenging without the help of a professional. Individuals who require significant optical correction can find this problem exacerbated. (Here’s looking at you people with severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and bifocal lens wearers!)
Correct Measurements - There are a ton of factors in taking measurements for eyewear: the distance between your pupils, the angle of your face and the angle of the lenses, to name a few. The type of eyewear you have (specifically with eyewear like bifocals and progressives) also has to be taken into account.
The Wall Street Journal identifies two main issues in their article about the pros and cons of buying glasses online.
Digital Tools - Technology has come a long way and we are able to now make these measurements using digital tools or the old school way of real-life human beings and rulers. Online retailers tout their digital measurements as superior to in-person ones (because of human error), and we don’t disagree that digital can be better for measurements, but whether you do this online or in-person is only a small piece of the puzzle.
Above is Dr. Lawson demonstrating our digital measurement tool - one of the resources we can use to ensure your measurements are taken accurately.
Lenses - This is the one that goes deep into the science, and patents, and technology. Some are far superior to others (usually part of why you pay more.) Some lenses are unique to the individual; where a certain patent and lens composition is preferred over another. Most online eyewear purchased, comes from brands linked to one large conglomerate. And they don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart, especially when it comes down to the dollar. High-end research and patents and technology are expensive, as are the materials used to create high-end lenses. One lens, even of high quality, might not be the best suited for you - but your computer won’t be able to tell you that while shopping online.
SOCIAL/ENVIRONMENT AND ETHICAL IMPACTS
Another consideration of purchasing eyewear online is that of social and environmental practices.
Everyone has heard about the detriment of fast fashion. Those same issues affect the eyewear world as well. Mass manufacturing and passing the cost of environmental impacts on other countries allow for the purchase of cheap eyewear.
You can also consider the environmental cost of online shopping with shipping products to you, and back again when they don’t work. Back and forth, gas emissions, packing materials that end up in landfills, etc. Some online retailers offer this as a perk - offering to send you multiple pairs of eyewear to ensure you like at least one that you get, and you send the rest back. There is a cost to everything - even if you don’t see it in dollars - environmentally, this costs the world more than your time in an actual store would.
Labor practices also have to be taken into account - is the person making your eyewear being paid a living wage? Does that matter to you? Outsourcing to countries with lax child labor laws, and little restriction on how manufacturing is done, is all a part of fast fashion. Eye world fast-fashion sadly included.
Does the cost of high-quality goods (reflective in the quality of the product you buy) matter? It does to us.
A quick google search of fast fashion eyewear reveals sites of recalled sunglasses with little to no UV protection and many links to sites to purchase fast fashion eyewear.
This is not to say that there are not reputable brands of online retailers out there. But it’s harder to sift through the facts from behind a computer screen.
WHY WE’RE DIFFERENT (AND IN OUR OPINION, BETTER THAN ONLINE)
At Eyes On You our belief is that the experience you have with us helps to define and clarify the type and style of eyewear that’s right for you. Our focus on the individual experience is parallel to none.
We source our frames from independent designers who often have artisans handcraft their wares (see our Blake Kuwahara frame line!). We carry frame lines that also adhere to strict environmental standards, lessening the impact on our globe (Neubau!). And we aim to buy from local manufacturers - like our frame line State, whose entire production occurs in the United States and ensures employees are paid a living wage.
The bar is set to the highest standard for the eyewear we bring into our shop.
We employ opticians who have extensive training in not only the aesthetics of eyewear, but of the health of the eye and the knowledge to tailor lenses to an individual’s needs.
We believe so strongly in personalized service, that if you are unhappy with your online purchase of eyewear, you can bring them into our store (along with your receipt) and we will put the cost of them towards a purchase in our store. We then have an eyewear recycling program and will donate your unwanted online eyewear to people who need them.
Online might be convenient, but not when you get something that doesn’t work for you. Get it right with us. Your measurements, your perfect style, and your peace of mind. Your dollars are going towards high-quality eyewear that does it’s best to offset negative impacts on our globe and the people who live there.
Ever wonder what’s involved in an eye exam? What is the doctor doing? And what the heck are all those funny machines for? Find out HERE (we wrote a whole blog on it just for you!)