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Buying glasses direct online | How to get your prescription | Top 10 tips for healthy eyes
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Buying glasses direct online

Buying glasses online

Choosing your glasses

Many people choose their glasses at an optician or at another high-street store. The advantage of this is that you can feel how comfortable the glasses are and decide what frame design you like best (or fits best with your face). A friend is also useful to help pick glasses and give a 2nd opinion. Once you’ve decided on a couple of glasses (or just one if you’re happy with it), it is worth noting them down (price, brand, model number, size and anything else you consider essential, such as around the style). Remember, you are fully entitled to buy your glasses wherever you like, so you can use these details to locate your glasses direct online.

Once you have a good idea of the style of frame you are looking for, you can view glasses online. It is best to choose sites with bigger ranges so you find either the exact frame or similar style to what you were looking for. eyebuddy sells over 40,000 frames and has around over 15,000 frames available in-stock (indicated by ) for quick dispatch. Products that are available at the supplier (indicated by ) can take longer to arrive as eyebuddy are fully dependent upon the supplier’s stock and their availability prediction - read more on Product Availability.

eyebuddy also offers a virtual try-on for a number of the frames (indicated by ) and actually scale the frames on to your face.

An advantage of the eye Try-on is that you can try far more glasses in a shorter amount of time compared with going to a local optician. The disadvantage being that you don’t know if they will be a perfect fit or suitable. Reasons may include the curvature of your face, low hair lines etc. eyebuddy therefore offers a returns policy for all frames but takes a charge for lenses as these are tailored made to your prescription and therefore exempt from standard online returns policies.

What size glasses should I buy?

If you already own a pair of glasses (which are comfortable and fit your head), your specs size can be found marked behind the nose bridge and on the inside part of the arm. If you see something similar to 5314, this means each lens diameter is 53mm and the bridge between the lens area is 14mm. Therefore, the total width of the frame is 120mm wide (53mm+14mm+53mm). If you find a 3 figure number, the other reading (e.g., 140), usually represents your spectacle’s arm length. If you find a code of numbers, letters or a name, they will probably be the model of your glasses. If you are a first time buyer or don’t have a pair of glasses, then try the different glasses perhaps in a store and note down the size of glasses that fit you well.

Entering your prescription

This part is important only if you’re buying prescription lenses for your glasses (which most people do). Once you’ve had an eye test, you’ll be given a prescription by the optician. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what all the numbers and abbreviations mean. What’s important is that you can accurately enter all the details correctly when inputting your prescription online. The most common mistake is forgetting or confusing the "+” and "-” signs. Make sure you double check all the prescription figures you’ve entered. Two last things to be aware of is PLANO and ∞ (infinity) are both interchangeable terms and BAL is short for Balance. Don’t be confused when these terms are interchanged by different websites.

What is my Pupillary Distance (PD)?

PD is the distance of your pupils; an important piece of information for centralising your prescription lenses to the width of your face. Some opticians may give you your PD for free, but most won’t. They will either refuse to give you your PD or may charge you for it. However, PD can be measured very easily. You can simply ask a friend to measure the distance in mm between your pupils (same place of each one (e.g., left side to left side)) whilst you look into the distance (distance PD) or at a reading distance (reading PD). The average PD is 63mm for men and 60mm for women. Alternatively, eyebuddy has a patent pending Virtual Try-on system which allows you to measure you PD online using a picture of your face with a measurement reference (e.g., a rule) within about 5 minutes. For more information about measuring your PD accurately, please see this detailed PD Guide.

Help with choosing my lenses

Plastic lenses are often preferred over glass lenses because of a number of advantages. These include being lower price, lighter and thinner than glass.

  • All plastic lenses have an index between 1.5 to 1.74 (future new plastic lenses may reach 1.9 or higher).
  • Lenses with index 1.5 and 1.56 are standard basic lens thickness. Note, eyebuddy includes 1.56 lenses as standard (free) for full-rim frames or 1.6 for semi-rimless or rimless frames. This is rarely the case for other online providers who tend to adopt 1.5 lenses as standard.
  • Lenses with index 1.6 and 1.67 are thinner than 1.5 and 1.56, and are also the most popular.
  • Lenses with index 1.7 and 1.74 are the thinnest but more expensive.

Anything higher is more expensive and rarely used.
Generally speaking, the stronger a prescription, the thicker the lenses will be. Therefore, those with stronger prescriptions will greatly benefit from thin types of lenses.

The following provides a rough guide to choosing lenses that are of an appropriate thickness:

  • 1.56 Index lenses - Prescription Sphere values from +/- 0.00 to +/- 2.00
  • 1.61 Index lenses (mid-index lenses) - Prescription Sphere values up to around +/- 4.00
  • 1.67 or 1.74 Index lenses (high-index lenses) - Prescription Sphere values above +/- 4.00

eyebuddy does not offer glass lenses. Please consult a local dispensing optician for advice regarding these.

Single Vision, Bifocals and Varifocals

Singles vision lenses consist of only distance, intermediate or near vision in the lens.
Bifocal lenses consist of distance and a "D” shaped part on the lens made for near vision.
Varifocal lenses combine distance, intermediate and near vision into the lens.

PLEASE NOTE: Single vision glasses are available on eyebuddy. eyebuddy places great importance on customer satisfaction and therefore does not provide bifocal or varifocal lenses because it is impossible to provide accurate measurements for these without the users face and the frames chosen. Although some online providers may offer these, they are merely guessing important measurements leading to customer dissatisfaction. Indeed, we estimate that 9 out of 10 people will be unhappy with their fitting should they buy bifocal or varifocal lenses online.

Choosing lens coatings

Scratch resistant coating:
Protection for the lenses preventing scratches and daily wear to prolong the usability of your glasses.

Anti-reflective coating:
Reduces light being reflected from your lens so people can see your eyes, great for photographs. It reduces glare from bright lights, great for driving at night with.

Polarised coating:
Filters reflected glare from road, sand, snow or water providing ultimate glare protection for anyone who needs sunglasses. Allows you to see below the water line so perfect for fishermen.

Tints coating:
Makes lenses into sunglass lenses making it great for fashion, covering something or to reduce the brightness. eyebuddy include 100% UV Protection as standard.

Photochromic coating:
Lenses which transform into sunglasses in the presence of UV rays (or light rays sometimes). E.g. Transitions

UV coating:
This is always advisable as it blocks harmful UV rays emitted from the sun from reaching your eye.

Fitting your glasses

eyebuddy sets up your glasses to help make a good fit. However, if the fit is not comfortable, the glasses should be fitted to you. Most high-street opticians and optical goods retailers do not charge for fittings but occasionally a nominal charge may be made, but you will have already saved a significant amount by buying glasses online.

Buying glasses direct is simple, easy and cheap, but you must have your current valid prescription available and it is best to have a good idea of the type and size of the glasses you are looking for.

For further information regarding your prescription and other items within this article, please see the eyebuddy glossary.


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