KW Vision Centre

My Eyeglasses Purchased Online Are Not Working!


Why are my eyeglasses purchased online not working?

As most people know by now, the assumed ease and convenience of online shopping has hit the eye wear market. From sunglasses to single-vision prescription lenses to multifocal glasses, many patients are attempting to buy online. However, as so many of these customers have experienced, there is more to buying online than meets the eye. The following is a conversation pertaining to progressive lenses, also known as multifocal lenses, which we have had on more than one occasion with patients who are unhappy with their online eyewear purchase.

Patient: My glasses with progressive lenses are not working!

Optician: How old are your glasses? Did you try to take them back?

Patient: They are 2-months old. I bought them from an online retailer and have sent them back twice but they are still not working for me.

Optician: What kind of problems are you experiencing?

Patient: I get headaches while wearing them, and when I try to read with my glasses on, I have to lift my chin up which causes neck pain. My previous glasses were fine. I feel like I’m better off not wearing my glasses at all rather than wearing this pair!

Optician: Who made you previous glasses?

Patient: My optician with a prescription from my optometrist.

Optician: Why didn’t you go back to your optician for your new pair?

Patient: I found these from a website online – I saved $90.00!

Optician: Okay; may I see your see your prescription and glasses?

Patient RX:

OD: -3.75 -1.75 x 96     Add: +1.75

OS: -4.00 -0.75 x 100  Add: +1.75

Optician: Who measured your pupillary distance and the segment height?

Patient: I picked a number from the drop down menu for my pupillary distance, I think it was 62. For the other measurement you mentioned, I was not given an option and there was no mention of it.


After analyzing the patient’s glasses and taking proper measurements, the results are:


Patient RX:                                                     Pupillary Distance       Segment Height

OD -3.75 -1.75 x 96      Add: +1.75                   34mm                          19mm

OS -4.00 -0.75 x 100    Add: +1.75                  33mm                          19mm


Lens RX from Online Retailer                     Pupillary Distance       Segment Height

OD -3.75 -1.50 x 100    Add +1.75                     30mm                          15mm

OS -4.00 -0.75 x 100    Add +1.75                     30mm                          15mm



Optician: These glasses are not technically made for you. Let me explain:

  • Your right eye RX (prescription) is not within the tolerance chart. (Tolerance chart is the guideline provided by College of Opticians of Ontario to eye care professionals for accurate dispensing of eye glasses and contact lenses.)
  • One of the causes for the headaches you experience is the wrong pupillary distance. This is giving you an unwanted prism (unwanted prism can cause discomfort and visual problems including blur, headaches, nausea, and even double vision. If the pupillary distance measurement is off, the result is unwanted horizontal prism.) Not everyone has the same distance between pupils: some of us have monocular pupillary distance (different pupillary distance for each eye), while some have binocular pupillary distance (same distance for each eye). In the case of your lenses, the pupillary distance measurement is off by 7mm!
  • The segment height, where your true intermediate/reading prescription begins, is very low resulting in you having to lift your chin up in order to receive the right amount of power within your lens, which enables you to read. In order to properly measure the segment height of your glasses, the optician must adjust your eye glasses frame to suit correctly in order to obtain accurate results. You need to be present with your frame in order for this to be done properly.

eyeglasses purchase online

Segment hieght

This is a conversation we have had with several people experiencing, at times, severe problems with their online-purchased progressive lenses. From our experience, when a patient or customer purchases prescription eyewear online, many different problems occur. As evidenced above, these problems are magnified when it comes to making and purchasing multifocal or progressive lenses online. The introduction of a patient to progressive lenses is not a simple process. There are numerous aspects of the lenses to consider, many of which the patient has never thought of. This is why opticians are so important. It is not as simple as putting on a pair of distance glasses or reading glasses. Being made aware of the lens design and potential adaptation period results in a more informed, and therefore happier, patient. While there are cost savings to be found by purchasing your eye wear online, the product is not guaranteed to suit you.

At KW Vision Centre we believe in providing you with the right information about your prescription and your lenses, which aids you in making an informed decision about your eye wear purchase and results in a better glasses experience!


You have only one set of eyes, without any spares; take care of your vision.

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