Outside Frames and PDs
A Warning About the Risks and Dangers of Purchasing Prescription Eyeglasses Online.
Our Policy Concerning Eyeglasses and Frames Purchased Outside our Offices.
Our Guarantee - Your Peace of Mind
The best reason to get your eyeglasses from the Palmer Eyecare Center is the peace of mind of knowing that we've been doing this right for over 65 years. Our national and international brand name designer frame collections come with 2-year guarantees which mean that if there is a quality problem with a frame, you get a new replacement frame at no charge for two years from the date you picked them up. No online website offers that protection. As a comparison, Lenscrafters, the largest retailer of eyeglasses in the country, offers no replacement guarantee and they actually manufacture their own frames! They only offer to replace your broken glasses at half price for 12 months IF you purchased the additional cost protection plan. They will then charge you a deductible for the frame AND for the lenses! That's standing behind their products?
Why do we offer such a terrific guarantee? It's just the way we've been doing things since 1946 when Dr. George Palmer opened his first office.
Our lenses, which are the most critical part of your eyeglasses, are from the top laboratories in the country that also guarantee the precision and optical quality of the lenses. We stand behind our products unequivocally. Ask an internet site if they have a money-back guarantee if the glasses don't work correctly. You may be surprised, or shocked, by the answer, if you happen to speak that language.
The Palmer Eyecare Center offers a one-stop, turnkey solution for eyeglasses. Our doctors, our prescriptions, our products, our guarantees your peace of mind and the knowledge that you will be able to see clearly out of your eyeglasses and the comfort in knowing that we will always be there to help you should you ever need us.
The federal government agencies that regulate the importation of goods estimate that up to 50% of online pharmaceuticals are counterfeit, illegal and dangerous to the consumer. They recommend that obtaining medicines through proper channels such as local, licensed pharmacies may be the only way to insure that your doctor's prescription is being filled correctly. While eyeglasses are not medications, eyeglass frames are a highly counterfeited product and precision ophthalmic lenses manufactured under less than optimum conditions may cause the wearer to have compromised vision and eyestrain. Government officials said that products obtained locally from licensed providers who offer return privileges are much more likely to be genuine than internet purchases.
Following up on some of our patients' requests and complaints, we have been investigating and reviewing the current technologies that allow a shopper to purchase complete pairs of eyeglasses over the internet. While websites may be able to offer frames and lenses to online customers, the reality of the situation is that eyeglasses have to be accurately adjusted and precisely measured on the patient's face before the order is submitted to the fabricating laboratory to insure that the prescription power, as measured by the doctor during the eye examination, is in the exact place on the lens and that the lens is in the exact place on your face.
Our Online Eyeglass Measurement and Patient-Supplied Frame Policy
While we discourage ordering eyeglasses online, especially bifocals, progressives and high powers, we realize that some patients will still want to purchase their eyewear that way. The Palmer Eyecare Center will take the critical measurements, verify that the prescription is correct and adjust your frame for a fee of $69.
Patients who have purchased frames elsewhere or who have old eyeglass frames they wish to reuse can always have new lenses fabricated for their eyeglass frames, but our office and our labs cannot be responsible for those frames during the fabrication process. During lens insertion, some frames must be heated and/or stretched. Older frames and frames of unknown origin, sometimes counterfeit, can break during this process. Our complete policy is detailed below.
For $69, We Will Services Included Services Included For Provide for Eyeglasses When Patient Supplies Complete Eyeglasses Purchased Elsewhere: Eyeglass Frame: Bought at Our Office: OPHTHALMIC PRESCRIPTION LENSES Determine Best Ophthalmic Lens Design for Patient Use yes yes PD - Take Critical Interpupillary Distance Measurements yes yes yes Verify Prescription After Fabrication yes yes yes Take Critical Multifocal Segment Height Measurements yes yes Calculate Vertical Optical Center Measurements yes yes Specify Lens Material and Index of Refraction yes yes Select Progressive/Multifocal Design and Manufacturer yes yes Guaranteed Genuine Lens/Mfg Design w/Full Warranty yes yes Recommend Appropriate Lens Tints and Coatings yes yes Recommend Appropriate Anti-Reflection Coating Type yes yes Advise Best Photochromic Absorption Spectrum yes yes Specify Ultraviolet Absorption Spectrum Filter yes yes OPHTHALMIC EYEGLASS FRAMES Determine Your Best Ophthalmic Frame Specifications yes Selection of Frame Name, Model, Color, Manufacturer yes In-Office On-Face Custom Frame Fit and Measurements yes Guaranteed Genuine Designer Frame w/Full Warranty yes Choose Frame Eye Size to Match Facial Dimensions yes Choose Frame Bridge Size to Comfortably Fit Nose yes Choose Frame Temple Length to Fit Over Ear Just Right yes EYEGLASS LENSES and FRAME WARRANTY Our 2-Year No-Fault Lens Scratch and Defect Warranty* yes yes Our 2-Year Frame Warranty or Replacement Coverage* yes ADDITIONAL SERVICES and PRODUCTS Lifetime Frame Adjustments and Minor Repairs yes Initial Frame Adjustments - 30 Days yes yes Education and Training on Lens Features and Care yes yes Free Refills on Lens Cleaning Solution yes yes * Frame and Lenses Eyeglass Packages Carry 1-Year Warranties
The policy for online-purchased or patient-supplied frames is the same. All adjustments of patient's frames purchased elsewhere are at the patient's risk. The Palmer Eyecare Center cannot be responsible for office or lab breakage of frames not purchased at our office. Our frame suppliers will warranty any frame purchased at our office that breaks during its warranty period, but frames purchased elsewhere are not covered. Use of outside frames is completely at the patient's risk.
The "segment height" is the precise location of the reading portion of the lens in the eyeglass frame. Since eyeglass frames come in various shapes and sizes and fit individual faces differently, there is no way that we can supply an accurate segment height, a parameter that is a critical measurement for all bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses. Without having the patient wearing the actual frame, adjusted to their face, it is simply impossible to accurately determine a segment height. Every method used online is really just an educated guess.
There is an $89 full-service fee built into every pair of eyeglasses that our own patients receive. It is split between the frame and lens prices. Our patients are receiving all of the services that are required to insure that the eyeglasses are measured correctly, the materials are specified and ordered correctly, and the finished product is validated to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Our $69 basic-service fee is designed to give a patient the basic parameters needed to have a prescription filled by an outside, licensed third party. Please keep in mind that if done incorrectly or if the frame has quality problems, adjusting an ophthalmic frame can result in it breaking. We cannot be responsible for the quality (or lack of quality) of your frame. Should it break, you will have to return it to your eyeglass or frame supplier for repair or replacement. Our suggestion is to be absolutely sure that you have a money back guarantee should you need to return the eyeglasses if they don't perform to your expectations.
If your eyeglasses don't work and are returned to the eyeglass seller or website within 30 days, we will credit you the $69 that you paid to our office toward a new pair of fully warranted eyeglasses from our optical dispensary.
What Can Go Wrong?
Eyeglasses have so many variables that it is virtually impossible to guarantee that the prescription will work when ordered sight unseen from a little-known or untested website. Even under optimum conditions such as our own office, a small percentage of eyeglasses will not perform as prescribed. In those cases, we reevaluate the eyeglasses and fine tune the prescription and lens design specifications to solve the problem for that patient. Imagine the likelihood of eyeglasses not working when the frame is not correctly adjusted to your face and the measurements, usually measured with a device that can be monocularly accurate to 0.5mm (1/64 of an inch), are simply guessed at.
The stronger your prescription, whether you are farsighted, nearsighted, have astigmatism and especially if you need bifocals, the more likely the eyeglasses will not work as prescribed and your vision will be compromised. Prescriptions for the more complex bifocals and progressive lenses have even more critical tolerances than standard single vision lenses.
A recent research article into the accuracy of online eyeglasses was published in the Journal of the American Optometric Association in 2011. The results of the study were rather shocking. Almost 50% of the 200 pairs of glasses purchased online for the study "did not meet either the optical requirements of the patient's visual needs or the physical requirements for the patient's safety." This means that quality control and lens precision were compromised in a way that could compromise the wearer's vision and eye safety. These glasses would be illegal to sell in our office, but since the internet has no safeguards and the consumer has no idea what is right or wrong with the glasses, no one seems to care unless a wearer is blinded by a broken lens or a consumer realizes that the low price meant poor quality materials. And even then, there is no recourse. The pdf link to the complete research article is at the bottom of this page.
What Would I Notice if the Eyeglasses Aren't Working Correctly or if the Prescription is Filled Wrong?
First cover each eye and compare the two images. They should look the same. Next look far away and then up close. Does everything look clear? Some of the lens fabrication and frame misadjustment errors will make you feel a pulling sensation the longer you wear the eyeglasses. After a day of wearing incorrect lenses, it is not unusual to have eyestrain, a little dizziness or a headache, usually located right behind your eyes. Some readers notice that reading makes them very tired and they may lose their place often. Some computer users complain that the monitor is not in focus or that the width of the reading area is very narrow. All of these symptoms can be eliminated if the eyeglasses are made correctly, the prescription is verified by the doctor's office and the frame is precisely adjusted to fit your face. Unfortunately, because the tolerances are so critical, if the lenses are fabricated to the wrong measurements, there is no amount of frame adjusting that will fix the problem and alleviate the symptoms. While a new prescription may require a few days (not weeks) to adjust, occasionally a lab can make an error and send a lens that does not match the patient's Rx. In our office, we verify that every pair of glasses is correct before notifying the patient to pick them up. As part of the $69 fee, we will inspect the glasses from the outside vendor to insure they were made correctly. If there is an error, the buyer will have to take that up with their eyeglass seller.
What About Online Contact Lens Purchases?
Online contact lenses come in sealed boxes from the manufacturer that are virtually the same regardless of the supplier. Except for a highly publicized case of counterfeit contact lenses packaged in contaminated solution coming into the country because a large internet contact lens marketer purchased the lenses on the grey market from unauthorized distributors in Asia, online contact lens purchases are generally safe and there is little reason to be concerned that the lenses will not perform as expected. Always confirm that the prescription on the box matches the doctor's written prescription and check the expiration dates on the boxes. To protect the public, the FDA has set up strict guidelines concerning the online sale and delivery of contact lenses. There are no such guidelines or protections in place for eyeglasses at the state or federal level. In fact, the largest online eyeglass sites are located outside of the United States.
In the Media
A recent article in the New York Times describes the terrible experiences of some online purchasers with just one online eyeglass website. There is no way of knowing if any online site is reputable or not or, as in the case below, was the home of an online predator. As detailed in the following article, thousands of buyers got ripped off.
The NBC Today Show also reported on this predatory online eyeglass retailer.