In focus: Net loss for web buyers

A landmark College of Optometrists-commissioned study comparing online spectacles with those bought on the high street has found patients prefer the personal touch. Simon Jones looks at the findings

For more than a decade, online spectacle retailing has been a thorn in the side of opticians all over the world. Attracted to the cheap prices offered by the internet retailers, many patients were easily persuaded to take their purchasing online.

Some opticians have adapted to the digital landscape, emphasising more of their clinical and dispensing expertise or offering the sort of high-end frames that cannot be found online. Others sadly fell by the wayside.

There has been a sneering cynicism from traditional optics towards spectacles purchased online. Doubts over the accuracy of the glazing and the quality of the frames have long been the talk of practitioners on online forums, along with the resentment of being asked to adjust spectacles purchased online and the reluctance to give PD measurements to their patients who will go away and purchase frames on the internet.

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