Seven Reasons to NOT Buy Glasses Online- Part 1

I read a blog post recently – “How to save money like by thinking like a millennial” (credit here) with interesting tips like opening a checking account that refunds all your ATM withdrawal fees, signing up for Amazon Prime and downloading the browser extension coupon finder Honey.  Then I reached – “Stop getting ripped off on glasses by getting Warby Parkers.”

Hmm…

Companies over the eyewear industry cut cost and quality for high margins. This has created distrust of the eyeglasses prescription dispensing by brick and mortar optical retailers.

But when you see a cost difference of $39 for online glasses to over $200 from a store- you at least wonder why.  I’d like to say the differences and convince you that even for $39… online glasses are not worth it.

Seven Reasons to NOT Buy Online Glasses

1. Standards do not apply

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed 14 standards. These describe the acceptable degree of error in a pair of eyeglasses, to the written prescription by the doctor.  Here’s an example:

If your prescription is -2.50 in your right eye, the acceptable range of power for the lens is -2.13 to -2.63 (±0.13).

What do these numbers mean?  With every click of the phoropter when the doctor is measuring your prescription and asking “Which is better, 1 or 2?” there is a change of 0.25 diopter.

A summary of the standard for making lenses can be found here.  The standards are developed by a team of doctors and manufacturers to show what is acceptable to the patient’s visual needs.

When a prescription is outside of this standard, you won’t see as clearly.  Imagine using a pair of binoculars to see something in the distance- turning the dial until you see the image clearly.  Then you move the dial even slightly one direction or another.  That’s how wearing a prescription that’s not close enough can feel.  Less than perfect vision is already a disadvantage. And, it also has potential effects such as eyestrain, headaches or double vision.

For children, wearing the wrong prescription can have even worse consequences. Due to their visual system developing, the wrong prescription could cause one eye to work harder than the other. This could throw off the eye’s ability to work together and a muscle imbalance could lead to amblyopia (lazy eye).

At our office, we use a lensometer to double check every pair of glasses that is ordered to the doctor’s prescription. We reject any lenses that are outside of tolerance.  Do online retailers do this?  According to a study performed by the American Optometric Association (see here) where 154 online glasses were ordered and analyzed, 29% of these had an incorrect prescription.

One out of every 3.5 pairs of glasses that ships out from an online retailer will not have an accurate prescription.

Every pair of glasses that is dispensed by our opticians will have a prescription within the tolerances laid out by the ANSI standards.

2. Duty to Warn

Optometrists have a professional and legal “duty to warn” patients about the proper use and safety issues associated with ophthalmic products (aka glasses and contacts).

So, it is important to have an optical professional- an optometrist or licensed optician to provide educated recommendations for lens materials and lens options. Therefore, this will protect one of our most valuable assets- our eyes.

Thankfully there are also manufacturing standards in place to address the integrity of glasses lenses. How do glasses purchased from an online retailer match up to the safety standard?  Not well.  Because, in the same study by the American Optometric Association referenced above, 23% of online glasses failed impact resistance testing.

Almost 1 in 4 online glasses do not pass ANSI safety standards for impact resistance.

Definition of failure of the impact resistance test?  Cracks through the entire lens thickness into two or more pieces.

3. Those licensed dispensing opticians?  Armed with knowledge and experience.

An average conversation about lens styles, lens materials and lens options at our office is at least ten minutes long.  An optician should ask lifestyle questions about how you use your eyes and what your visual needs are. Then, will make recommendations on which lens will be best for you.  Explaining the benefits of different lens materials in relation to your prescription helps you make a good decision between Trivex and Hi-Index plastic.  A conversation about how you care for your glasses will help the optician recommend the best anti-reflective (non-glare) coating.

Becoming a licensed dispensing optician is a three year apprenticeship program in Washington state.  After a written and practical exam, an apprentice becomes a licensed optician.

Licensed opticians bring experience and knowledge to help each patient make educated decisions on their individual eyewear needs.

Even Siri doesn’t have the answer to which progressive lens will work best all week at the computer or Saturday at the golf course.

In the next blog post, we will continue with an additional 4 reasons. Finally there is only one good reason to buy online glasses as stated above. You will save money on the initial purchase.

I hope you take our reasons to not buy online glasses into consideration before making a decision to purchase them.  Furthermore, the purpose of glasses is to help you see. They shouldn’t cause harm to your vision or put your eyes at risk in the process.  Please carefully weigh your options and let us know if you have any questions!

Thank you and have a great day!

Let’s talk about the glare out there…

Rain – SUN – RAIN – SUN

The weather today could NOT make up it’s mind!  When I dropped my kids off, it was pouring- my 3 year old cried, “We need a boat Mom!” as we ran into her preschool.  When I picked them up four hours later- the sun was out, sky was blue, a perfect PNW afternoon.  But… the road was still wet… so I was temporarily blinded by the concentrated sun rays hitting the puddles going right into my eyes until… I put my polarized sunglasses on.  Sweet relief.

polarized lenses to minimize sun glareI’ve recently come across some really great explanations of how polarized lenses work to reduce glare – and I hope to shed some light (pun intended) on how these work- so you can hopefully gain a new appreciation of this great technology!

The glare of the sun on flat wet surfaces- such as roads, the surface of the ocean, snow reflects from that horizontal plane- concentrating all that light into a blinding reflection.  Polarized lenses have a polarized filter oriented vertically to block light coming in horizontally.  Besides removing the intensified and scattered horizontal light, the vertically aligned light polarize lenses allow to pass is preferable to the visual system- creating a significantly more comfortable view.  Non polarized sunglasses indiscriminately filter all light- horizontal and vertical.  They reduce glare but don’t eliminate it.
By filtering all components olight- a less sharp image is the result.  The selective light filtering of a polarized lens actually creates a sharper picture!

Summary of the benefits of polarized lenses:
  • Eliminates glare
  • Improves visual comfort
  • Improves contrast and clarity
  • Reduces eyestrain
  • Reduces reflections

Not all polarized lenses on the market are created equal. The quality of the filter used and how the lenses are manufactured determines the glare reduction. Drug store “polarized” sunglasses may only cut out 10% of light, where premium polarized lenses such as Xperio lenses by Essilor cut out 99% of reflected light.

polarized lenses to minimize sun glare

Next time you’re driving on a gorgeous day when the storm has lifted and the sun is shining down on large puddles of morning rain and reflecting right into your eyes- consider an investment in a quality pair of polarized sunglasses.  They will greatly improve your driving experience!

Back to School!

The First Exam of the Year Should be an Eye Exam!

children's eye exams for back to schoolAs you’re preparing for the upcoming school year, it’s important to make sure a comprehensive eye examination is on the family’s to-do list.  Kid’s vision can change dramatically from one year to the next and 80% of learning is experienced through vision.  Therefore, a thorough eye exam is a necessary step to making sure your child is ready for the school year!

The Affordable Health Care Act designates Kid’s Vision as one of the ten essential health benefits.  What does that mean to you?

Qualified health plans must include benefits for an annual comprehensive eye exam and vision materials (glasses or contact lenses) for members 18 years old and younger.

Please give us a call today with your insurance information and we can check on the details of your plan!

We want to help you get ready for back to school!

During the month of September…

  • Come visit Dr. McEathron or Dr. Hoekstra for your annual eye exam
  • Order one complete set of glasses or an annual supply of contacts (may be covered by insurance- call us and we can check!)
  • PICK YOUR SAVINGS!  Either:
    • The lenses for your back-up glasses will be discounted 50%
    • OR…
    • Receive complementary Transitions® lenses! ($100 value)children's eye exams for back to school

2016 Sunglasses- Part 2: Polarized Lenses Package

Hello Sunshine!

We purposefully choose not to do many “package deals” because we believe your eyes and therefore glasses lenses needs are as unique as you. And, we enjoy discussing the thousands of options available with you to customize a great pair of glasses.  However — this summer we’ve partnered with our lab to create an amazing polarized sunglasses lenses package. It combines the best features available in prescription sunglasses. It is also at a great price and still offers some customization options!

Why polarized sunglasses?polarized, lenses, binyon vision center, sunglasses, optical, optometrist

The sun’s rays reflect light in every direction. When this light hits a flat surface (roads, water surface, windshield of oncoming car), the reflected light shines back at your eyes and is concentrated- causing glare.  Glare reduces your depth perception, distorts your vision and color perception. Glare can even temporarily blind you!

Polarized sunglasses are designed to absorb horizontal light waves which neutralizes glare. This allows you see to objects more clearly without the shine.  Tinted lenses reduce the amount of light that travels through the lens, but does not have this benefit.  All polarized lenses provide 100% protection against harmful UV-B rays that prematurely age your eyes and the skin around your eyes.

Not convinced?  Let us show you a demo!  Especially in Bellingham when the sun shipolarized, lenses, binyon vision center, sunglasses, optical, optometristnes after a rainstorm and we are surrounded by beautiful bodies of water to play on- polarized lenses are life changing.

Polarized Lenses Package – the details

Included in our polarized prescription sunglasses lenses package are top of the line polarized freeform lenses (either single vision or progressive lens designs). These have premium backside anti-reflective coating.  Lenses come standard with polycarbonate material, an impact resistant material that is lightweight and durable. polarized, lenses, binyon vision center, sunglasses, optical, optometrist All lenses have an eighteen-month warranty including two remakes for any reason.  Your satisfaction is our top priority.  Optional upgrades include mid-index and hi-index plastic, full personalized freeform lenses or mirror coatings (multiple colors available).  The package savings are over $150 and are still eligible for our multiple pair discount! We have a great selection of sunglasses frames and lenses! Please stop in to talk to our obticians and discuss the polarized lenses package!

polarized, lenses, binyon vision center, sunglasses, optical, optometrist

2016 Sunglasses- Part 1 : Style Report

Here we are in July- the beginning of summer in the Pacific Northwest and we are READY at Binyon Vision Center!  We know you’re asking yourself…

What’s #trending in the 2016 sunglasses style?

Here are some of the latest trends for the 2016 sunglasses style:

  • Clear Frames – classy cool, and more subtle if you’re not into bright colors- paired best with dark grey lenses or colorful mirrored lenses.
  • Round Frames – the retro mainstay is back in a big way echoing the vibes of the 60’s/70’s scene but fresh and one of this season’s must haves.
  • Mirrored Lenses – as seen… everywhere!  Silver flash, gold flash, blue, green, red, pink – hiding your eyes behind a playful shiny lens. These are perfect for someone looking to have fun in the sun!
  • Chunky Frames – do you like high impact?  Oversized suns get a fresh update with thick, bold lines and layers of color.
  • Cateye Frames – a continued shining star in the sunglasses world include new features for 2016 – embellishments, mirrored lenses and ultra exaggerated shape.

 

Check out these hot looks from our current inventory

bellingham optometrist, sunglasses, glasses, optician, sunwearSalvatore Ferragamo SF757S (top), Tura 050 (bottom)

lafont, bellingham optometrist, sunglasses, glasses, optician, sunwear

Lafont Paris Scala

bellingham optometrist, sunglasses, glasses, optician, sunwear

Face à Face: Top to bottom- Movie, Spicy and Coste

trendy summer sunglasses

Top to bottom: Seraphin, Calvin Klein, Maui Jim

trendy summer sunglasses

All mirrored suns by INVU®