Glasses 4 Less Home

: value:   
view cart | proceed to checkout

Spectacle Buyers Guide

Spectacle Buyers Guide

The On-line Spectacle Buyers Guide.

A complete guide to shopping for spectacles on-line.

After reading this guide you will understand:

Part One:What information you need to start shopping on-line.
Part Two:How to choose a frame online that will fit you better.
Part Three:How to choose a frame that suits you.
Part Four:How to interpret your prescription.
Part Five:The on-line ordering process.
Part Six:Selecting appropriate lens options.


Over the last few years Internet shopping has become a way of life for many people. You can now buy and sell pretty much anything on-line these days, books, clothes, electrical goods, even your weekly food shop, and make huge savings when comparing prices to the high street. What’s more it’s convenient and environmentally friendly!
What is the true cost of buying from high street shops? Rising fuel costs, car parking, park and ride, congestion charges, traffic jams! I don’t know about you but I find a day out shopping these days is expensive and exhausting.

The Internet market for the sale of prescription spectacles has literally exploded in recent years and the number of on-line suppliers seems to grow daily. Obviously the profits of high street chains of opticians are suffering somewhat from the rapid growth in on-line spectacle and sunglasses sales. The markets are fierce and the overwhelming instinct of the high street is to fight back by any means necessary to protect themselves and their profits. Associations and professional bodies have lobbied MPs forcing changes and amendments to the law under the new Health Service reforms, to try and ban the sale of cheap prescription items including spectacles and contact lenses on-line. They have manipulated words like “clinical”, “health” and “patient's best interest” to erode away your rights and freedom of choice as a responsible adult. One thing is certain however; the future of on-line shopping is secure, sales in the UK are booming. According to the latest government statistics, Brits spent a whopping £71.1bn online last year - up 81 per cent on 2003, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Internet is not going to go away that's a fact, but how secure is the high street?


The two biggest drawbacks with buying on-line is that we can't see your face to take measurements and you only have a digital photograph to go by when choosing frames. Both these obstacles and more can be easily overcome with a little patience and guidance. To this end we have taken the time to produce this guide to help you avoid any pitfalls and to help you select frames and lens options that you will be happy with, will fit you and save you time, trouble and most importantly money.

We need the following to process your spectacle order:

1. A copy of your up-to-date prescription

Before you can order your spectacles from the Glasses4Less web site you need to obtain a written prescription for spectacles issued within the last 2 years if you are under 70 years old or within the last twelve months if you are aged 70 or over, issued by a registered medical practitioner or registered optometrist ("your optician") following a sight test by him/her. Any recommended retest date must not have elapsed.

If you already have a copy of your prescription from a previous eye test, and providing it is less than two years old and meets the above requirements, you may use that one to order from us. Alternatively, you will need to go to your local optician and have your eyes tested. Following the sight test your optician should hand you a copy of your new prescription, if he doesn't simply ask for it. Opticians, by law MUST provide you with a copy of your prescription IMMEDIATELY after your sight test. They must NOT withhold your test and make you feel that you must buy your spectacles from them. You shouldn't feel obliged or under any pressure to purchase spectacles from the optician. You are free to take your prescription wherever you want. That is the law!

(For more information about understanding you prescription - click here )

2. Your Pupil Distance measurement (P.D).

This is the distance between the centres of your pupils measured in millimeters. During your sight test ask for this measurement from your optician. Once you know your P.D measurement, remember it! It is an important measurement and needed when ordering on-line.

Opticians generally do not like giving customers their P.D measurements especially if they suspect that you are not going to buy your glasses from them. If they suspect that you are buying online they may be even less helpful. Whilst they are required in law to provide you with a copy of your prescription, they are NOT legally obliged to supply your P.D. measurement.

If you can't get your P.D measurements from your optician don't worry. There are several ways of obtaining it. In most cases our standard average measurement of 63mm will suffice, except for those with particularly high prescriptions. We can also get a feel for what your P.D should be by experience and certain order criteria such as your gender and the size of frame you have chosen etc. You can also post us a previous pair of spectacles and we can take the measurements we need from them.

It is very simple to measure your own P.D and we have provided detailed instructions on the best way to go about measuring it later in this guide. There is also a link to full instructions in the ordering section on our website.

3) Ensure that your prescription is within our stock range.

Our stock range is a maximum combined power of + or - 6.00 when you add the sphere and cylinder powers together. Please note that our maximum, stock cylinder power is 2.00.

We can supply lenses beyond our standard stock range at additional cost, however a thinner higher index lens would be a more suitable alternative. If you need help and advice with lens selection it would be better if you telephoned us directly to discuss your requirements.

Unless specially agreed with our supervising optician, Glasses4Less will only supply spectacles with lenses of a spherical power between +8.00 and -8.00 (dioptres) and a cylindrical power between +4.00 and -4.00 (dioptres).

We do not accept orders for multifocals (bifocals or varifocals) where the reading addition exceeds +3.50 or is less than +0.75 dioptres.

to TOP

Spec Buyer's Guide Part Two: How To Choose A Frame That Fits >>