AOP responds to Mirror consumer advice to buy online

Our advice to patients buying prescription eyewear

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is responding to the Mirror article Opticians rip-off exposed: Glasses can be bought for a fraction of the cost online as we believe the advice is unhelpful to patients buying prescription eyewear.

Consumers should be made aware that getting the right pair of glasses, with a prescription that suits the user, and that fits well and is comfortable, is often more complicated than it seems. While there may be a cost saving associated with buying online, it can cause problems for patients later.

Optometrist and Professional Advisor at the AOP, Henry Leonard, explains why:

“Many patients understandably view their prescription as being either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but there are many factors involved in the prescribing and dispensing of tailored visual correction wear. The lenses and the fit of the glasses work together towards a good or bad result.

“Glasses are bespoke items, tailored to individuals’ needs, and not all frames or lens types are suitable for all people so it’s important that a patient gets a professional service which optimises their vision and lifestyle.  When buying glasses, the things to consider are – purpose, vision correction, quality, fit, comfort and eye health. It is very often better, as well as easier, to have glasses dispensed where the sight test is conducted.”

In a survey of more than 1000 UK Optometrists1, almost 90% concluded that patients are more likely to experience problems if they buy their lenses somewhere other than where their sight test was conducted. More than 8 in 10 stated they had seen patients with such problems in the last year.

Over half of optometrist surveyed also reported seeing patients who had issues when they had bought glasses or contact lenses online – such as poor aftercare guidance or ill-fitting products.


For more information, please contact Serena Box, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2063.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. As a founding member of the Optical Confederation we work with others to improve eye health for the public good. For more information, visit


  1. Findings from the AOP Voice of Optometry insight panel, the survey was conducted by independent research company, Alpha Research between March – May 2017