Pros and Cons of Buying Reading Glasses in Person VS Online
Are you wondering whether it really matters where you buy your reading glasses? Are there really differences in the lenses and frames? Is there a benefit in buying online versus in a grocery or dollar store? As with many things in life, the answer is yes and no.
There are a number of things to consider when it comes to what reading glasses we buy, and where we buy them from. For example:
- Buying glasses from a grocery store like Walmart versus a specialty retailer such as Visualites
- How well are they able to help us with our presbyopia and read clearly?
- How comfortable are they?
- What is the quality and durability of the frame?
- What sort of selection do we have to choose from?
- Are we getting a fair price?
- And of course, do we really like the way they look on us?
When we consider these questions, some differences in the shopping experience and in the quality of product you purchase quickly appear.
The first thing we should discuss when buying reading glasses are the lenses as this is the driving force in your purchase. Lenses for reading glasses can be made from a variety of materials and with a variety of processes. In the simplest of terms, you want to make sure you are getting “optical quality lenses” as these will be free from blemishes and distortions, giving you not only the clearest vision possible, but the healthiest environment for your eyes. Optical quality lenses = crisper optics = better vision health.
Another important thing to look for in reading glasses is if they have an “anti-reflective coating“. No reflections on your lenses means more light is reaching your eyes which improves your vision. In fact, without anti-reflective coating, the glasses can become almost unusable in some lighting conditions.
Then there are the components that make up the frame, or in the rimless design, the temple arms and nose bridge. Some materials are cheaper for manufacturers to make their glasses with but you as the consumer do not end up with the same quality product. The vast majority of the less expensive reading glasses you see out there will be made with acetate. Acetate is dried before being used for glasses and therefore, after a long time of absorption of water in the air, the frame is easily deformed. This is why you see glasses made with acetate deform so easily. Additionally, the material becomes brittle over time, which is why these sometimes seem to break under even the slightest pressure. This material is sensitive to heat as well; leave a pair of these cheap reading glasses in your car on a hot day and you may come back to find them warped.
Higher quality and more durable frames are made with material like the TR-90 that we use at Visualites. Glasses with TR-90 frames do not decay with age and will last for years.
In terms of quality does it matter where you buy your glasses, whether online or at a grocery store? The answer: not exactly. You can find reading glasses with all these features at a pharmacy but not at the dollar store. (frankly, dollar store reading glasses are junk). Same goes for online. You can find very cheap reading glasses at Amazon but they will not have optical quality lenses and will probably fall apart in a relatively short time. So how do you know if you are getting quality glasses with optical quality lenses, anti-reflective coating, and high-quality frames? Typically the label will list these features but won’t say address it if they do not. If the price seems too good to be true, there’s usually a reason for it.
What makes one pair of reading glasses more comfortable than another pair? The feedback we hear most often concerns the weight, the fit, and the frame material reading glasses are made from. We discussed acetate earlier; in addition to its other disadvantages this material does not have any give. This means that frames made with acetate apply more pressure than reading glass frames with a more giving material, making them much less comfortable. Glass lenses will be heavier than polycarbonate and you will feel these sitting on the bridge of your nose. Full frames have much more material overall than rimless glasses. Look for the actual weight of the glasses on the package at a store or in the information on the web page online. If the weight is not provided, this is probably for a reason.
Comfort is one of the main reasons we use TR-90 at Visualites. In addition to being durable, it also has a lot of give, allowing your glasses to adjust to not only the size of your head, but even accommodate offset ears (which most people have).
When shopping for reading glasses, one advantage a store may have is the ability to try them on. However, if the glasses are packaged in a clamshell container, you normally do not get the opportunity to test them out.
The key is to be armed with the right information (which is what this post is all about). Make sure that they are lightweight and a comfortable material. You can get comfortable glasses from Target or online if you know what to look for before you buy.
Most box stores, drug stores, or dollar stores will usually purchase their reading glasses from one eyewear manufacturer, which usually means only one general style. Many reading glasses websites, like ours, follow the same principle. You can visit countless websites from the comfort of your own home while you probably only have one box store near you, and will you really drive around town to check all your options? When it comes to finding the style you are looking for it is not so much that one outlet, a physical store, or a website is better, just that you will be able to find what you are looking for much faster online.
Once you find a pair of quality reading glasses in a style you are looking for you have to see if the rack at the store has the color and the power for you. For example, in our top 5 models of reading glasses, we have almost 500 color/power combinations at Visualites. You simply will not find a selection like that at any store. Even with the optical shops who carry our high-quality reading glasses cannot carry our full range of models, colors and powers. Often they order the exact color, model, and power option for the customer who sees them on display.
When buying reading glasses your priority should be your eyes and vision health. When you order reading glasses, make sure you are getting a quality pair. After that it is just a matter of finding a pair that fits the image that you want to portray to the world in a pair of readers that are comfortable to wear. Once you have all that, get the right power and right color and you are all set. Much of this is about knowledge of what you are buying and we hope this post has been helpful to the end.
If you have a question we haven’t answered, or simply want to give us some feedback, be sure to leave us a comment.
For more information regarding our quality eyewear, contact us at Visualites.
Matt is a blogger, musician, and digital marketing specialist. He is based in Nashville, TN.