How can high street and online spectacle supply be improved?

Dr Alison Alderson

The main objectives of the presentation are to describe the current online process of buying spectacles and compare it to the traditional supply of spectacles from the high street and to provide recommendations as to how both methods of supply may be improved.

This presentation is based on a College of Optometrists’ study which assessed the general accuracy, visual performance, and patient comfort of spectacles of online spectacles in the UK compared with those purchased from high street optometry/optician practices.

The presentation will discuss the points below:

  • The reasons consumers purchase items from internet suppliers and more specifically what encourages them to buy spectacles online.
  • A comparison of the processes of spectacle purchase and supply both online and from the high street.
  • An explanation of spectacle lens tolerances (ISO 21987:2009)
  • A comparison of the accuracy of spectacles purchased online and from the high street using data from over 300 spectacles purchased in the UK.
  • A comparison of the lens, frame and fit quality of spectacles purchased online and from the high street (How many were deemed unacceptable? How many felt unsafe? Which were preferred?)
  • A view of what online spectacle supply may look like in the future and how it has changed over the last few years.
  • Recommendations for possible improvements to high street spectacle supply.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand the importance of encouraging patients to ask questions and to take an active part in the decisions made about their prescription and to respect the choices made by patients.
  • To understand the importance of only providing or recommending optical devices if these are in the best interests of the patient
  • Understanding of the measurement and verification of optical appliances taking into account standards where applicable
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